Baohua Liu

faculty_img Academic Title: Assistant Professor

Campus: Mississauga

CSB Appointment: Full

Primary Undergraduate Department:

Graduate Programs:
Cell & Systems Biology

Titles and Honors:
Academic or Administrative Appointments:

Ph.D. University of Southern California 2010
M.Sc. Nankai University, China 2002
B.Sc. Nankai University, China 1999


Mailing Address
Department of Biology
University of Toronto, Mississauga
3359 Mississauga Road, DV3049
Mississauga, ON L5L 1C6


Contact Information
Office phone: 905-828-3998
Office: ESC 3072
Lab: ESC 3078
Lab phone: 905-828-3751


Research Areas
Systems Biology
Animal Biology
Cell Biology



Proper vision requires the orchestration of the ocular motor behavior and visual information processing. Ocular movements help stabilize retinal images, track objects, and maintain fixation on them, which is essential for the visual system to make sense of the external world; in turn, information processed by the visual system guides the motor system to generate appropriate ocular motor actions. This orchestration of sensory and motor processes requires an exquisite interaction between sensory and motor systems. However, our understanding of the circuit mechanisms underlying this fundamental function remains limited. Recently we demonstrated that the visual cortex, a sensory processing area, can adaptively modulate innate ocular behavior optokinetic reflex which stabilizes retinal images. We also revealed the importance of the corticofugal projections to the brainstem in such adaptive cortical modulation of optokinetic reflex. We will use this model system to understand the synaptic, cellular, and circuit mechanisms by which the visual cortex contributes to innate ocular behaviors. What visual information do corticofugal projections carry? What brainstem neuronal populations do they innervate and influence? What computational roles do they play? What plastic processes happen among them leading to behavioral adaptation? By addressing these questions, we will provide the crucial insight into the role of the sensory cortices in orchestrating innate behaviors.
We are also interested in studying the impact of proper or malfunctional ocular behaviors on visual information processing: how the movements of the two eyes affect the integration of binocular inputs? how misaligned binocular inputs are dealt with by the visual system?







Cortico-fugal output from visual cortex promotes plasticity of innate motor behaviour. Liu BH, Huberman AD, Scanziani M. Nature. 2016 Oct 20;538(7625):383-387. doi: 10.1038/nature19818. Epub 2016 Oct 12.



Synaptic Basis for Differential Orientation Selectivity between Complex and Simple Cells in Mouse Visual Cortex. Li YT, Liu BH, Chou XL, Zhang LI, Tao HW. J Neurosci. 2015 Aug 5;35(31):11081-93. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.5246-14.2015.
Strengthening of Direction Selectivity by Broadly Tuned and Spatiotemporally Slightly Offset Inhibition in Mouse Visual Cortex. Li YT, Liu BH, Chou XL, Zhang LI, Tao HW. Cereb Cortex. 2015 Sep;25(9):2466-77. doi: 10.1093/cercor/bhu049. Epub 2014 Mar 20.



Linear transformation of thalamocortical input by intracortical excitation. Li YT, Ibrahim LA, Liu BH, Zhang LI, Tao HW. Nat Neurosci. 2013 Sep;16(9):1324-30. doi: 10.1038/nn.3494. Epub 2013 Aug 11.



Broad inhibition sharpens orientation selectivity by expanding input dynamic range in mouse simple cells. Liu BH, Li YT, Ma WP, Pan CJ, Zhang LI, Tao HW. Neuron. 2011 Aug 11;71(3):542-54. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2011.06.017.
Functional elimination of excitatory feedforward inputs underlies developmental refinement of visual receptive fields in zebrafish. Zhang M, Liu Y, Wang SZ, Zhong W, Liu BH, Tao HW. J Neurosci. 2011 Apr 6;31(14):5460-9. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.6220-10.2011.



Visual representations by cortical somatostatin inhibitory neurons–selective but with weak and delayed responses. Ma WP1, Liu BH, Li YT, Huang ZJ, Zhang LI, Tao HW. J Neurosci. 2010 Oct 27;30(43):14371-9. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.3248-10.2010.
Preceding inhibition silences layer 6 neurons in auditory cortex. Zhou Y, Liu BH, Wu GK, Kim YJ, Xiao Z, Tao HW, Zhang LI. Neuron. 2010 Mar 11;65(5):706-17. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2010.02.021.
Fine-tuning of pre-balanced excitation and inhibition during auditory cortical development. Sun YJ, Wu GK, Liu BH, Li P, Zhou M, Xiao Z, Tao HW, Zhang LI. Nature. 2010 Jun 17;465(7300):927-31. doi: 10.1038/nature09079.
Intervening inhibition underlies simple-cell receptive field structure in visual cortex. Liu BH, Li P, Sun YJ, Li YT, Zhang LI, Tao HW. Nat Neurosci. 2010 Jan;13(1):89-96. doi: 10.1038/nn.2443. Epub 2009 Nov 29.



A genetic strategy for stochastic gene activation with regulated sparseness (STARS). Wang SZ1, Liu BH, Tao HW, Xia K, Zhang LI. PLoS One. 2009;4(1):e4200. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0004200. Epub 2009 Jan 15.
Visual receptive field structure of cortical inhibitory neurons revealed by two-photon imaging guided recording. Liu BH, Li P, Li YT, Sun YJ, Yanagawa Y, Obata K, Zhang LI, Tao HW. J Neurosci. 2009 Aug 26;29(34):10520-32. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.1915-09.2009.



Lateral sharpening of cortical frequency tuning by approximately balanced inhibition. Wu GK, Arbuckle R, Liu BH, Tao HW, Zhang LI. Neuron. 2008 Apr 10;58(1):132-43. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2008.01.035.



Defining cortical frequency tuning with recurrent excitatory circuitry. Liu BH, Wu GK, Arbuckle R, Tao HW, Zhang LI. Nat Neurosci. 2007 Dec;10(12):1594-600. Epub 2007 Nov 11.



Effects of Emodin on increase in [Ca2+]i and TNF-aproduction in rat peritoneal macrophages. Wang H, Dong Z Y, Yu, Y, Liu, B H, Yang, W X. Acta Biophysica Sinica 2002; 18:345-349
Characteristics and mechanism of enzyme secretion and increase in [Ca2+]i in Saikosaponin(I) stimulated rat pancreatic acinar cells. Yu Y, Yang WX, Wang H, Zhang WZ, Liu BH, Dong ZY. World J Gastroenterol. 2002 Jun;8(3):524-7.
Effects of U73122 and Trifluoperazine on amylase secretion stimulated by Saikosaponin (I) in rat pancreatic. Acini. Zhang W Z, Yu, Y, Liu B H, Li X D, Fan M J, Wang H, Yang W X. Acta Biophysica Scientiarum Naturalium Universitatis Nankaiensis 2002; 37:222-228



GTPys modulation of Saikosaponin (I) stimulated amylase secretion in isolated pancreatic acini. Wang H, Yu, Y, Zhang W Z, Dong Z Y, Liu B H, Yang W X. Acta Biophysica Sinica 2001; 17:627-631
Calibrating coefficients of sensitivity in STM. Deng C W, Liu B H, Wu X. College Physics 19: No 11.