“I am both thrilled and profoundly honored to receive recognition for my research, which I believe has had a positive impact on the lives of children and families. Being nominated by my peers to join a distinguished group of global nurse scientists is humbling and exciting,” said Liu. “This recognition holds special significance for me at this point in my career because it also honors my mentors, mentees, and collaborators who have all supported me so much throughout this journey. I am incredibly grateful to both them and my colleagues in Penn Nursing for this remarkable recognition.”
Liu is an internationally recognized scholar. Her interdisciplinary research program is concerned with understanding how early health risk and protective factors influence emotional and behavioral development in children and adolescents, and how brain mechanisms account for these links. Factors include prenatal factors, environmental exposures, nutrition, and sleep. She has received funding from the National Institute of Health (NIH) since she started her research career 20 years ago. Her research has important policy implications. For example, her findings of lead exposure on children’s behavior were highlighted in the NIH’s “Research Matters” and adds more evidence that there is no safe lead level, a finding which has contributed to environmental regulation.
Liu is currently leading teams on several projects, both in the US and internationally. As Director of the NIH-funded China Jintan Child Health Project, she is following more than 1,000 children in Jintan, from pre-school into adolescence in order to understand the influence of environmental lead exposure, poor nutrition, and negative psychosocial influences on their behavioral outcomes. Liu also led the follow-up study of the Philadelphia’s Healthy Brain and Behavior Study, which in 2010, studied 450 community children in order to examine early biological, environmental, and social influences on adolescents’ behavior development and health outcomes. Her current research, funded by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, investigates the effect of omega-3 fatty acid supplemental on child behavior problems.