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Eric Chien-Wei Liao, MD, PhD
Eric Chien-Wei Liao, MD, PhD
Director, Center for Craniofacial Innovation

Dr. Liao is a pediatric plastic surgeon-scientist and the founding director of the Center for Craniofacial Innovation at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. His research leverages convergent advances in fetal care, human genetics, and developmental biology to initiate first-in-child trials and treatments.

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Bio

Dr. Eric Liao is the founding Director of the Center for Craniofacial Innovation at the CHOP. Dr. Liao is a pediatric plastic surgeon-scientist who leverages convergent advances in fetal care, human genetics and developmental biology to initiate first-in-child trials and treatments. As a surgeon, Dr. Liao cares for patients born with orofacial clefts and complex craniofacial conditions. Dr. Liao also leads the Department of Surgery as the vice chair of Academic Affairs, where he is dedicated to nurturing trainees and faculty toward impactful academic careers.

Prior to joining CHOP, Dr. Liao was a professor of Surgery at Harvard Medical School, lead the Mass General Department of Surgery as vice chair of Research, and lead Shriners Children’s Boston as chief of staff.

Dr. Liao pioneered the zebrafish model to investigate the developmental basis of craniofacial anomalies, elucidated the role of transcription factor IRF6 and the downstream regulatory pathway operating in the embryonic epithelium to regulate craniofacial development and orofacial cleft pathogenesis. He also contributed to determining the genetic basis of arhinia (SMCHD1), oblique facial cleft (SPECC1L), frontonasal dysplasia (ALX1), and other complex congenital craniofacial problems. Dr. Liao works to address critical knowledge gaps in human genetics to determine pathogenicity of gene variants, by using the zebrafish model as a high throughput functional assay. Through this work, Dr. Liao has been leading teams in longstanding NIH and Shriners funded research programs.

Dr. Liao is a graduate of Stanford University (BS, MS), Harvard Medical School / M.I.T. (MD, PhD), and trained in plastic surgery at Massachusetts General Hospital. He is board certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery.

Dr. Liao's clinical and academic achievements have earned numerous prestigious awards, including American Surgical Association Research Fellowship, March of Dimes Basil O'Connor Scholar Award, and the Presidential Endowed Chair at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

Education and Training

BS and MS, Stanford University (Developmental Biology)

MD, Harvard Medical School/ Massachusetts Institute of Technology

PhD, Harvard University (Genetics)

Internship, Massachusetts General Hospital (General Surgery)

Residency, Massachusetts General Hospital (General Surgery)

Residency, Harvard Medical School (Plastic Surgery, Combined Plastic Surgery Residency Program - Chief Resident)

Titles and Academic Titles

Director, Center for Craniofacial Innovation

Vice Chair of Surgery, Academic Affairs

Presidential Scholar Endowed Chair, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia

Professor of Surgery, Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania

Professional Memberships

American Medical Association, 2002-

American Society of Plastic Surgery, 2002-
  Research Education Awards Committee, Co-Chair, 2018-

American College of Surgeons, 2007-

Plastic Surgery Research Council, 2008-
  Grant Review Workshop, Chair, 2019-

American Burn Association, 2009-

Association of Academic Surgeons, 2010-

International Society for Stem Cell Research, 2012-

Plastic Surgery Foundation, 2014-
  Mentorship Committee, 2016-

  Research Education Awards Committee, Co-Chair, 2018-

American Association of Plastic Surgeons, 2015-
  Academic Leadership and Mentorship Committee, 2016-

Society of University Surgeons, 2015-
  Scholarship Committee, 2016-

Surgical Biology Club, 2016-

Professional Awards

Presidential Scholar Endowed Chair, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, 2022

Patricia K. Donahue Surgeon-Scientist Program Incubator Award, Massachusetts General Hospital, 2021

Best Paper Award, Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery Journal, 2019

MGH Research Scholar Award, Massachusetts General Hospital, 2018

Excellence in Mentoring Award Nominee, Harvard Medical School, 2015

Founders Award for Research, New England Society of Plastic Surgery, 2014

Excellence in Mentoring Award Nominee, Harvard Medical School, 2013

The One Hundred Honoree (for patient care), Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center, 2011

Research Scholar, American Surgical Association Foundation, 2009

Junior Faculty Award for Research, Department of Surgery, Massachusetts General Hospital, 2008

Publication Highlights