Assistant Professor Volker G094R
(205) 934-5928

Research and Teaching Interests: Obesity, Diabetes, Cardiovascular disease, Liver cancer

Office Hours: By appointment


  • B.A., Gansu Agriculture University, Lanzhou, China
  • M.S., Shihezi University, Shihezi, China
  • Ph.D., Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences and Peking Union Medical College (CAMS & PUMC), Tsinghua University, Beijing, China

Dr. Aijun Qiao received his Ph.D. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences and Peking Union Medical College (CAMS & PUMC), Tsinghua University in China. He received his postdoctoral training from Feinberg Cardiovascular Research Institute, School of Medicine, Northwestern University at Chicago and Cancer Center of Augusta University at Augusta, respectively. After postdoctoral training, he joined Dr. Qin's laboratory in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) as Assistant Professor in June 2017.

Qiao has broad research experiences, including primary hepatocytes, white and brown fat culture, obese and diabetic mouse model generation, and mouse liver cancer models. He is a reviewer for several peer-review journals, such as Plos One, American Journal of Cardiovascular Disease, Hormone and Metabolic Research, Medicine, The Journal of Visualized Experiments, and others. Currently, his research mainly focuses on studying the molecular mechanism involving in the progress of metabolic syndromes, such as Obesity, Type 2 diabetes (T2D), Non-alcohol fatty liver disease (NAFLD), Dyslipidemia, Insulin resistance and cardiovascular disease, and developing novel therapeutic targets for those diseases.

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  • Research Interests

    Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the leading cause of death and remains a major cause of health disparities worldwide. Recent study suggest that Obesity, Type 2 diabetes (T2D), Non-alcohol fatty liver disease (NAFLD), Dyslipidemia, and Insulin resistance, all of which are components of the metabolic syndrome, could exacerbate the future CVD burden and cause CVD-related death. Thus, my research is to determine mechanisms by which those metabolic syndrome increase risk for CVD and the resulting pathophysiological consequences. I will use traditional approaches including biochemistry, molecular biology, cellular biology and physiology in combination with transgenic or knockout mouse models and new metabolic technologies, such as metabolomics, lipidomics, proteomics, seahorse study, et al.

    My current research will mainly focus on following aspects:

    1. Study on the metabolic signaling networks between heart, vascular system, liver, adipose and muscle.
    2. Identify novel therapeutic targets for T2D through regulation of gluconeogenesis, glucose uptake, and glycolysis.
    3. Identify novel factors for anti-obesity by regulation of adipocyte differentiation, brown fat, or "beige" cell thermogenesis.
    4. Develop effective therapeutic targets for NAFLD through regulation of lipid synthesis, lipolysis, fatty acid oxidation, autophagy, ER stress, et al.
  • Select Publications
    • Aijun Qiao*, Xiongjie Jin*, Junfeng Pang, Demetrius Moskophidis, and Nahid F. Mivech. "The transcriptional regulator of the chaperone response HSF1 controls hepatic bioenergetics and protein homeostasis," The Journal of Cell Biology 2017, 216(3):723-741. (*Co-First Author; article selected by the Journal of Cell Biology as a spotlight paper and highlighted by another paper in the same issue)
    • Aijun Qiao, Arineh Khechaduri, R. Kannan Mutharasan, Rongxue Wu, Varun Nagpal and Hossein Ardehali, "MicroRNA-210 Decreases Heme Levels by Targeting Ferrochelatase in Cardiomyocyte," J Am Heart Assoc 2013, 2(2):e000121.
    • Aijun Qiao, Jichao Liang, Yaojun Ke, Chenghong Li, Ying Cui, Lian Shen, Huabing Zhang, Anfang Cui, Xiaojun Liu, Changzheng Liu, Yong Chen, Yi Zhu, Youfei Guan, Fude Fang, Yongsheng Chang, "Mouse PNPLA3 Influences Systemic Lipid and Glucose Homeostasis," Hepatology 2011, Aug; 54(2):509-21.
    • Xiaojun Liu﹡, Aijun Qiao﹡, Yaojun Ke, Xingxing Kong, Jichao Liang, Rui Wang, XiaoqingOuyang, Jin Zuo, Yongsheng Chang, Fude Fang, "FoxO1 Represses LXRα-Mediated Transcriptional Activity of SREBP-1c Promoter in HepG2 Cells," FEBS Lett 2010, 20(584):4330-4334. (﹡Co-First Author)
    • Jichao Liang﹡, Changzheng Liu﹡, Aijun Qiao, Ying Cui, Huabing Zhang, Anfang Cui, Shutian Zhang, Yanli Yang, Xinhua Xiao, Yong Chen, Fude Fang, Yongsheng Chang, "MicroRNA-29a-c decrease fasting blood glucose levels by negatively regulating hepatic gluconeogenesis," J Hepatol 2013, 58(3):535-42. (﹡Co-First Author)
  • Academic Distinctions and Professional Societies
    • Reviewer for journals: Plos One, Hormone and Metabolic Research, Medicine, American Journal of Cardiovascular Disease, The Journal of Visualized Experiments, and others
    • Member, American Association for the Advancement of Science, 2014-Present
    • Member, American Heart Association, 2012-present
    • Member, Biophysical Society, 2010-Present