Dexi Liu, the Panoz Professor of Pharmacy and head of the department of pharmaceutical and biomedical sciences, encourages his students to develop a thirst for innovation and creativity in problem-solving.
Where did you earn degrees and what are your current responsibilities at UGA?
I earned my Bachelor of Science degree in biochemistry and microbiology from the Lanzhou University in the People’s Republic of China. I then received my Ph.D. in biochemistry from the University of Tennessee–Knoxville. I am currently the Panoz Professor of Pharmacy and head of the department of pharmaceutical and biomedical sciences in the College of Pharmacy. In addition to conducting research and managing the department, I also mentor graduate students and lecture in various courses.
When did you come to UGA and what brought you here?
I came to UGA in July 2011 to join the department of pharmaceutical and biomedical sciences as the department head.
What are your favorite courses and why?
My favorite courses are biochemistry and physiology. These courses provide a breadth of knowledge to students about how a body functions as a whole and the underlying mechanisms at the molecular level.
What interests you about your field?
My field is in gene therapy and protein drug discovery. I am interested in this field because it develops treatments to certain diseases that traditional drugs cannot treat or are ineffective against.
What are some highlights of your career at UGA?
We established an animal model and discovered gene/proteins that can effectively prevent and treat obesity and obesity-associated metabolic diseases.
How does your research or scholarship inspire your teaching, and vice versa?
The research tends to solve existent problems and generates new knowledge, which inspires my desire to share the new discoveries with students. At the same time, teaching students the new information invites more questions and ideas from students that in turn inspire additional research.
What do you hope students gain from their classroom experience with you?
I hope that students can gain a thirst for innovation and creativity in problem-solving from my courses. I want students to learn to think for themselves in research, a trait that will surely help them succeed in their own careers. I also want them to learn to question things.
Describe your ideal student.
My ideal students are those who are thoughtful and imaginative with determination to succeed.
Favorite place to be/thing to do on campus is…
My favorite thing to do on campus is to walk and take in the scenery. There are some especially beautiful areas of campus near my office.
Beyond the UGA campus, I like to…
Visit the mountains, lake or beach. I find them calming and fun. There are many beautiful areas within a short drive from Athens. I especially enjoy hiking or boating with my family.
Favorite book/movie (and why)?
“Gravity” – I like the movie because it provides a realistic view and feel about what it is like in space. It offers the opportunity for people to understand how things work in the absence of gravity. The suspense, action and high quality of the soundtrack give you a true and emotional thrill when watching it.
Proudest moment at UGA?
When Allison Schmitt, a UGA student, won three gold medals in swimming at the 2012 Olympics.
Originally published 12/7/14