Liang, Wenbin


Dr. Wenbin Liang is a Scientist and Director of the Cardiovascular Electrophysiology Laboratory at University of Ottawa Heart Institute. He is also an Assistant Professor at the Department of Cellular and Molecular Medicine, in the Faculty of Medicine, at the University of Ottawa.


Dr. Liang completed his medical training in the Fourth Military Medical University (Xi’an, China) and received a PhD degree in Physiology from the University of Toronto (Advisor: Dr. Peter Backx). He also received training in Dr. Rui Wang’s lab at the University of Saskatchewan. Before joining UOHI, he was trained as a postdoctoral fellow in the lab of Dr. Eduardo Marbàn (Director of Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute, in Los Angeles), focusing on gene- and cell-based therapies of heart rhythm disorders.

Dr. Liang held several prestigious awards during his training, including the CIHR Postdoctoral Fellowship, the US Heart Rhythm Society Postdoctoral Fellowship (ranked #1 in the Committee), and the Heart and Stroke Foundation Doctoral Research Award.

His current research program has been awarded a CIHR Project Grant, a Canada Foundation for Innovation John R. Evans Leaders Fund infrastructure grant, a Heart and Stroke Foundation Grant-in-Aid, and an Ontario Ministry of Research, Innovation and Science’s Early Research Award. He was also awarded the prestigious Gordon K. Moe Young Investigator Award by the American Heart Association’s Upstate New York Cardiac Electrophysiology Society. Dr. Liang is currently a Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada New Investigator and McDonald Scholar (highest ranked in the NI competition).

Research & Clinical Interests 

Dr. Liang’s research is focused on mechanistic studies of arrhythmogenic heart disease, with the hope of developing novel therapies for cardiac arrhythmias. Techniques used include somatic gene transfer, stem cells, cellular electrophysiology, organ culture, and whole-animal studies, as well as cellular and molecular biology techniques.


Selected publications:

  1.  Liang W, Lu A, Davis DR. Induced Pluripotent Stem Cell-Based Treatment of Acquired Heart Block: The Battle for Tomorrow Has Begun! Circulation:  Arrhythmia and Electrophysiology. 2017 May;10(5):e005331. doi: 10.1161/CIRCEP.117.005331.
  2.  Hamel V, Cheng K, Liao S, Lu A, Zheng Y, Chen Y, Xie Y, Liang W. De Novo Human Cardiac Myocytes for Medical Research: Promises and Challenges. Stem Cells International. 2017;2017:4528941. doi: 10.1155/2017/4528941.
  3. Wolf AJ, Reyes CN, Liang W, Becker C, Shimada K, Wheeler ML, Cho HC, Popescu NI, Coggeshall KM, Arditi M, Underhill DM. Hexokinase Is an Innate Immune Receptor for the Detection of Bacterial Peptidoglycan. Cell. 2016 Jul 28;166(3):624-36. [Featured article on the cover]
  4. Liang W, Cho HC and Marbán E. Wnt signaling suppresses voltage-gated sodium channel expression in postnatal rat cardiomyocytesJournal of Physiology, 2015;593:1147-1157
  5. *Ionta V, *Liang W, Kim EH, Rafie R, Giacomello A, Marbán E, Cho HC. Shox2 overexpression favors differentiation of embryonic stem cells into cardiac pacemaker cells, improving biological pacing abilityStem Cell Reports, 2015;4:129-142. *equal contribution
  6. Xie Y, Ibrahim A, Cheng K, Wu Z, Liang W, Malliaras K, Sun B, Liu W, Shen D, Cho HC, Li T, Lu L, Lu G and Marbán E. Importance of cell-cell contact in the therapeutic benefits of cardiosphere-derived cells in cardiac repairStem Cells, 2014;32:2397-2406
  7. *Liang W, *Huang L, Zhao D, He JZ, Sharma P, Gramolini AO, Ward ME, Cho HC and #Backx PH. Swelling-activated Cl- currents and intracellular CLC-3 are involved in proliferation of human pulmonary artery smooth muscle cellsJournal of Hypertension, 2014;32:318-330. *equal contribution
  8. *Kapoor N, *Liang W, Marbán E and Cho HC. Direct conversion of quiescent cardiomyocytes to pacemaker cells by expression of Tbx18. Nature Biotechnology, 2013;31:54-62. *equal contribution. [cited by 141; Journal Impact Factor: 41.5]
  9. *Jadhav A, *Liang W, Bastin G, Kroetsch J, Balsevich J, Heximer S, Backx PH and Gopalakrishnan V. L-tryptophan ethyl ester dilates small mesenteric arteries by inhibition of voltage-operated calcium channels in smooth muscleBritish Journal of Pharmacology, 2012; 166: 232-242. *equal contribution
  10. Liang W, Oudit GY, Patel MM, Shah AM, Woodgett JR, Tsushima RG, Ward ME and Backx PH. Role of PI3Kα, PKC and L-type Ca2+ channels in mediating the complex actions of angiotensin II on mouse cardiac contractility. Hypertension, 2010;56:422-429.  Editorial in Hypertension, 2010;56:349-350.
  11. Liang W, Ray JB, He JZ, *Backx PH and Ward ME. Regulation of proliferation and membrane potential by chloride currents in rat pulmonary artery smooth muscle cells. Hypertension, 2009;54:286-293.  *corresponding author.
  12. Tang G, Wu L, Liang W and Wang R. Direct stimulation of KATP channels by endogenous and exogenous hydrogen sulphide in vascular smooth muscle cellsMolecular Pharmacology, 2005;68:1757-1764. [cited by 255]

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