Katie Liu

Katie Liu(2003)


Duke University, Class of 2008: B.S. in Biology, B.S. in
Psychology, Concentration in Neuroscience

Employer/Job Title

University of Washington, Medical Scientist Training Program
(MD/PhD in progress)


2 second-author publications from undergraduate research:
Identification of chemical inhibitors to human tissue transglutaminase by screening existing drug libraries. Lai TS, Liu Y, Tucker T,
Daniel KR, Sane DC, Toone E, Burke JR, Strittmatter WJ, Greenberg CS. Chemistry & biology. 2008 Sep 22;15(9):969-78.
Identification of two GTP-independent alternatively spliced forms of tissue transglutaminase in human leukocytes, vascular smooth
muscle, and endothelial cells. Lai TS, Liu Y, Li W, Greenberg CS. The FASEB journal : official publication of the Federation of
American Societies for Experimental Biology. 2007 Dec;21(14):4131-43.


PGSS taught me… RESEARCH. The biology team project was my first experience with research in my life. I had grown up in Latrobe and never had opportunities to work in labs or explore research like students attending high schools in larger cities. My PGSS research was a stepping stone — I was chosen for a competitive research fellowship in college at Duke University because it was related to what I had done at PGSS. I stayed with the same lab for all four years, and ended up with two publications in respected journals, which helped me get into my top choice medical school just last year. PGSS taught me… GENERAL RELATIVITY. The professors at Carnegie Mellon University were phenomenal. They had a magical way of breaking down something as complicated as general relativity to high school juniors in a way that made complete sense. I am a die-hard biologist at heart, but learning about other disciplines from such inspirational faculty members has really shaped my way of thinking about science through the years; I’ve learned that you don’t make great discoveries by zooming in on your area of interest, but rather by understanding the workings of the universe as a whole. PGSS taught me… FRIENDSHIP. In Latrobe, I never found classmates who shared the same interests and curiosity. At PGSS, I was amazed to find myself surrounded by others as driven as I was. It was also incredible how diverse everyone was. We bonded over our similarities as well as our differences, and grew SO close in such a short time; I remember so many people, myself included, crying like there was no tomorrow the day we all had to leave. Many of those friendships are still a huge part of my life right now, and I am so thankful for that. PGSS taught me… TEAMWORK. PGSS challenged every single one of us. We each entered with one or two subjects of expertise, and left with a deep appreciation for science and multidisciplinary learning. During our time there, we relied on each other and taught each other, filled in each other’s gaps. I realize that it would have been impossible to learn as much as I did if I had set about trying to do it all on my own. PGSS taught me… PASSION.For the first time in my life, I was truly engaged in thinking. For the first time, I LOVED learning. For the first time, I felt challenged and pushed my own limits. I never knew what potential I had until the last day when I looked back on all that I had learned. The experience has helped me discover what I am truly passionate about in life and how to wholeheartedly devote myself to it. I am now a first year MD/PhD student at the University of Washington. It is the top-ranked MD/PhD dual degree program according to the National Institutes of Health, and is renowned for both its medical school and research. PGSS helped me grow in so many different ways; I am not sure if I would be here right now without that experience.