Sha Liu Lab

Research focus

Sleep is a fundamental and evolutionarily conserved behavior, and the only major behavior for which the function remains unknown.  The goal of our lab is to understand the synaptic and circuit mechanisms underlying sleep and its function in the brain. To address these questions, we employ multi-disciplinary approaches, including Drosophila genetics, quantitative behavior analysis, electrophysiology, functional imaging, as well as neural circuit mapping and manipulation.

Current areas of interest include the roles of sleep in synaptic and network plasticity, and the molecular and cellular mechanisms underlying these sleep-dependent processes.  In addition, our lab is also interested in developing novel tools for precisely dissecting the neuronal and glial components of the fly brain. These tools will facilitate our own research in sleep, but we also intend for them to be more generally useful to the neuroscience community.​ 


Branch-specific plasticity of a bifunctional dopamine circuit encodes protein hungerLiu Q Tabuchi M Liu Sha Kodama L Horiuchi W Daniels J Chiu L Baldoni D Wu M. K.SCIENCE, 356, 534-539, 2017
Sleep Drive Is Encoded by Neural Plastic Changes in a Dedicated CircuitLiu S. Liu Q Tabuchi M Wu M. K.CELL, 165, 1347-1360, 2016
Improved and expanded Q-system reagents for genetic manipulationsRiabinina O Luginbuhl D Marr E Liu S. Wu M. K. Luo L Potter CNATURE METHODS, 12, 219-22, 5 p following 222, 2015
Sleep interacts with abeta to modulate intrinsic neuronal excitabilityTabuchi M Lone S. R Liu S. Liu Q Zhang J Spira A. P Wu M. K.CURRENT BIOLOGY, 25, 702-12, 2015
WIDE AWAKE mediates the circadian timing of sleep onsetLiu S. Lamaze A Liu Q Tabuchi M Yang Y Fowler M Bharadwaj R Zhang J Bedont J Blackshaw S Lloyd T. E. Montell C Sehgal A Koh K. P Wu M. K.NEURON, 82, 151-66, 2014

Job openings

Sha Liu

Sha Liu

Research area(s)

Model organism(s)


​PhD: Inst. of Hydrobiology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, PRChina, 2010
Postdoc: Johns Hopkins Univ., Baltimore, USA,  2010-'17
VIB Group leader as of September 2017​

Contact Info

VIB-KU Leuven Center for Brain & Disease ResearchO&N 4, 6e verdCampus GasthuisbergHerestraat 49, bus 602 3000 LEUVENRoute description