Chunyu Liu

Chunyu Liu, PhD

Associate Professor, Biostatistics - Boston University School of Public Health


Chunyu Liu was trained as a statistical geneticist and has just moved from the Framingham Heart Study (FHS), NHLBI, to Boston University, assuming a position of a research associate professor. She has participated in numerous projects evaluating risk factors for cardiovascular disease (CVD). These collaborations have yielded >60 peer-reviewed manuscripts on diverse topics related to CVD, including deciphering genes related to blood pressure/hypertension, heart disease and identification of epigenetic factors for blood pressure, lipids, and body mass index. In addition, for eight years, Chunyu has taught statistical methods in epidemiology at Boston University School of Public Health.
Her research spans several areas. After she joined the Population Sciences Branch and FHS, she focused on mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) genetics and CVD. During her tenure at the FHS, she was mentored by Dr. Daniel Levy, who encouraged Chunyu to develop the expertise in mtDNA genetics. Due to her expertise in analyzing mtDNA variants, she was the lead statistician of the mtDNA working group of the Cohorts for Heart and Aging Research in Genetic Epidemiology (CHARGE), through which a manuscript has recently submitted to Nature Genetics. Mitochondrial genetics is complex because a single human cell contains many mtDNA copies bearing age-related somatic mutations mixed with inherited mtDNA alleles, a phenomenon called heteroplasmy. Heteroplasmic mutations can only be optimally detected by deep sequencing. Studying mtDNA copy number alone with a spectrum of mtDNA mutations in relation to age-related CMD traits in large samples has now become possible thanks to whole genome sequencing (WGS) through NHLBI’s TOPMed project. At present, Chunyu has been leading the effort to develop methods to analyze mtDNA sequence variations through the Trans-Omics for Precision Medicine (TOPMed) Mitochondrial DNA working group, the world’s largest study of mitochondrial genetics. Another of Chunyu's research areas has been focused on epigenetics and CVD. She was the lead statistician of the CHARGE DNA methylation alcohol working group during 2014-2017. In addition, she has been the lead statistician to conduct epigenomewide DNA association studies with many CVD risk factors in FHS, which has yielded multiple publications in higher tier journals.

Other Positions

  • Investigator - Framingham Heart Study
  • Member, Evans Center for Interdisciplinary Biomedical Research - Boston University


  • Boston University, PhD Field of Study: Biostatistics
  • University of Maine, PhD Field of Study: Biochemistry
  • Boston University, MA Field of Study: Biostatistics

Classes Taught

  • SPHBS800
  • SPHBS852


  • Published on 12/27/2022

    Pathiravasan CH, Zhang Y, Wang X, Trinquart L, Benjamin EJ, Borrelli B, McManus DD, Kheterpal V, Lin H, Spartano NL, Schramm E, Liu C, Murabito JM. Factors associated with long-term use of digital devices in the electronic Framingham Heart Study. NPJ Digit Med. 2022 Dec 27; 5(1):195. PMID: 36572707.

    Read At: PubMed
  • Published on 12/15/2022

    Li J, Liu C, Ang TFA, Au R. BMI decline patterns and relation to dementia risk across four decades of follow-up in the Framingham Study. Alzheimers Dement. 2022 Dec 15. PMID: 36519667.

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  • Published on 12/7/2022

    Saunders GRB, Wang X, Chen F, Jang SK, Liu M, Wang C, Gao S, Jiang Y, Khunsriraksakul C, Otto JM, Addison C, Akiyama M, Albert CM, Aliev F, Alonso A, Arnett DK, Ashley-Koch AE, Ashrani AA, Barnes KC, Barr RG, Bartz TM, Becker DM, Bielak LF, Benjamin EJ, Bis JC, Bjornsdottir G, Blangero J, Bleecker ER, Boardman JD, Boerwinkle E, Boomsma DI, Boorgula MP, Bowden DW, Brody JA, Cade BE, Chasman DI, Chavan S, Chen YI, Chen Z, Cheng I, Cho MH, Choquet H, Cole JW, Cornelis MC, Cucca F, Curran JE, de Andrade M, Dick DM, Docherty AR, Duggirala R, Eaton CB, Ehringer MA, Esko T, Faul JD, Silva LF, Fiorillo E, Fornage M, Freedman BI, Gabrielsen ME, Garrett ME, Gharib SA, Gieger C, Gillespie N, Glahn DC, Gordon SD, Gu CC, Gu D, Gudbjartsson DF, Guo X, Haessler J, Hall ME, Haller T, Harris KM, He J, Herd P, Hewitt JK, Hickie I, Hidalgo B, Hokanson JE, Hopfer C, Hottenga J, Hou L, Huang H, Hung YJ, Hunter DJ, Hveem K, Hwang SJ, Hwu CM, Iacono W, Irvin MR, Jee YH, Johnson EO, Joo YY, Jorgenson E, Justice AE, Kamatani Y, Kaplan RC, Kaprio J, Kardia SLR, Keller MC, Kelly TN, Kooperberg C, Korhonen T, Kraft P, Krauter K, Kuusisto J, Laakso M, Lasky-Su J, Lee WJ, Lee JJ, Levy D, Li L, Li K, Li Y, Lin K, Lind PA, Liu C, Lloyd-Jones DM, Lutz SM, Ma J, Mägi R, Manichaikul A, Martin NG, Mathur R, Matoba N, McArdle PF, McGue M, McQueen MB, Medland SE, Metspalu A, Meyers DA, Millwood IY, Mitchell BD, Mohlke KL, Moll M, Montasser ME, Morrison AC, Mulas A, Nielsen JB, North KE, Oelsner EC, Okada Y, Orrù V, Palmer ND, Palviainen T, Pandit A, Park SL, Peters U, Peters A, Peyser PA, Polderman TJC, Rafaels N, Redline S, Reed RM, Reiner AP, Rice JP, Rich SS, Richmond NE, Roan C, Rotter JI, Rueschman MN, Runarsdottir V, Saccone NL, Schwartz DA, Shadyab AH, Shi J, Shringarpure SS, Sicinski K, Skogholt AH, Smith JA, Smith NL, Sotoodehnia N, Stallings MC, Stefansson H, Stefansson K, Stitzel JA, Sun X, Syed M, Tal-Singer R, Taylor AE, Taylor KD, Telen MJ, Thai KK, Tiwari H, Turman C, Tyrfingsson T, Wall TL, Walters RG, Weir DR, Weiss ST, White WB, Whitfield JB, Wiggins KL, Willemsen G, Willer CJ, Winsvold BS, Xu H, Yanek LR, Yin J, Young KL, Young KA, Yu B, Zhao W, Zhou W, Zöllner S, Zuccolo L, Batini C, Bergen AW, Bierut LJ, David SP, Gagliano Taliun SA, Hancock DB, Jiang B, Munafò MR, Thorgeirsson TE, Liu DJ, Vrieze S. Genetic diversity fuels gene discovery for tobacco and alcohol use. Nature. 2022 Dec; 612(7941):720-724. PMID: 36477530.

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  • Published on 11/23/2022

    Liu C, Joehanes R, Ma J, Wang Y, Sun X, Keshawarz A, Sooda M, Huan T, Hwang SJ, Bui H, Tejada B, Munson PJ, Demirkale CY, Heard-Costa NL, Pitsillides AN, Peloso GM, Feolo M, Sharopova N, Vasan RS, Levy D. Whole genome DNA and RNA sequencing of whole blood elucidates the genetic architecture of gene expression underlying a wide range of diseases. Sci Rep. 2022 Nov 23; 12(1):20167. PMID: 36424512.

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  • Published on 11/15/2022

    Ma J, Joehanes R, Liu C, Keshawarz A, Hwang SJ, Bui H, Tejada B, Sooda M, Munson PJ, Demirkale CY, Courchesne P, Heard-Costa NL, Pitsillides AN, Feolo M, Sharopova N, Vasan RS, Huan T, Levy D. Elucidating the genetic architecture of DNA methylation to identify promising molecular mechanisms of disease. Sci Rep. 2022 Nov 15; 12(1):19564. PMID: 36380121.

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  • Published on 11/3/2022

    Liu C, Li Y, Nwosu A, Ang TFA, Liu Y, Devine S, Au R, Doraiswamy PM. Sex-specific biomarkers in Alzheimer's disease progression: Framingham Heart Study. Alzheimers Dement (Amst). 2022; 14(1):e12369. PMID: 36348973.

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  • Published on 10/26/2022

    Nannini DR, Zheng Y, Joyce BT, Gao T, Liu L, Jacobs DR, Schreiner P, Liu C, Horvath S, Lu AT, Yaffe K, Sidney S, Greenland P, Lloyd-Jones DM, Hou L. Marijuana use and DNA methylation-based biological age in young adults. Clin Epigenetics. 2022 10 26; 14(1):134. PMID: 36289503.

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  • Published on 9/20/2022

    Ma J, Huang A, Yan K, Li Y, Sun X, Joehanes R, Huan T, Levy D, Liu C. Blood transcriptomic biomarkers of alcohol consumption and cardiovascular disease risk factors: the Framingham Heart Study. Hum Mol Genet. 2022 Sep 20. PMID: 36130209.

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  • Published on 9/12/2022

    Uddin MDM, Nguyen NQH, Yu B, Brody JA, Pampana A, Nakao T, Fornage M, Bressler J, Sotoodehnia N, Weinstock JS, Honigberg MC, Nachun D, Bhattacharya R, Griffin GK, Chander V, Gibbs RA, Rotter JI, Liu C, Baccarelli AA, Chasman DI, Whitsel EA, Kiel DP, Murabito JM, Boerwinkle E, Ebert BL, Jaiswal S, Floyd JS, Bick AG, Ballantyne CM, Psaty BM, Natarajan P, Conneely KN. Clonal hematopoiesis of indeterminate potential, DNA methylation, and risk for coronary artery disease. Nat Commun. 2022 09 12; 13(1):5350. PMID: 36097025.

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  • Published on 9/1/2022

    Zheng Y, Lunetta KL, Liu C, Katrinli S, Smith AK, Miller MW, Logue MW. An evaluation of the genome-wide false positive rates of common methods for identifying differentially methylated regions using illumina methylation arrays. Epigenetics. 2022 Dec; 17(13):2241-2258. PMID: 36047742.

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