Yan LIU


I am an assistant professor in the Department of History at the State University of New York, Buffalo. As a scholar of Chinese history and the history of medicine, I specialize in the medical culture of medieval China with particular interests in pharmacology, religious healing, alchemy, the history of senses and emotions, and the circulation of medical knowledge in the global context.

I hold a Ph.D. in History of Science at Harvard University and a Ph.D. in Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology at the University of Michigan. Before joining Buffalo, I was an Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow at the Jackman Humanities Institute at the University of Toronto (2015-16).

My first book, Healing with Poisons: Potent Medicines in Medieval China, has been recently published by the University of Washington Press. The book offers a cultural history of poisons as healing agents in the formative age of Chinese pharmacology (200–800), highlighting the shifting boundary between medicines and poisons as shaped by technical, political, and cultural conditions.