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Change Agent: Paul Liu

Change Agents

/CHānj/ /‘ājənt/

One who acts as a catalyst for change.

Change Agents are everyday people who do small things that have significant impact. They are cultivators who plant seeds in our lives (knowingly or unknowingly). Their presence nurtures and molds us every day, giving shape to the environment in which we work. They are fueled by their own passion to contribute, and thus, incite passion in others. They are the risk takers; the visionaries who see possibilities when others see obstacles. They are catalysts that make the Game Changing moments of an organization possible.




  • make or become different
  • to alter the terms or transform entirely
  • arrive at a fresh phase; become new


  • a new or refreshingly different experience




  • a person who acts on behalf of another
  • one who takes an active role or produces a specified effect
  • a doer of an action
Do you know a change agent?
Paul Liu

What is your name and professional job title?

Paul Liu, Senior Investigator, and Deputy Scientific Director, National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI).

Where were you born?

Beijing, China.

What is your professional background?

I did medical school and residency training in China, received my Ph.D. from the University of Texas in Houston, and did postdoctoral training at the University of Michigan.

I’ve been at the National Institutes of Health since 1993, initially as a Senior Staff Fellow, then tenure-track Investigator, and finally Senior Investigator in 2001.

What led you to become a Scientist?

During my residency training in China, I saw many patients that I could not help. Including a professor in hematology who developed leukemia. We tried our best to help her, but she died from the disease. I felt that I needed to do research to understand diseases better and develop better treatments.

How have you helped to achieve or inspire scientific success at the NIH?

I always try my best with everything I do. I always keep up with latest technological developments. I always try to innovate. I also work together with other scientists and provide a supportive environment for my colleagues.

What does being a member of the Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) community mean to you here at NIH?

I am proud to be a member of the AAPI community and I appreciate the comradeship with other members of the community.

What inspires you?

The drive to understand the secrets of nature, how human body functions and how disease develops. I try to maintain this curiosity and make new discoveries.

What advice would you give to your younger self?

Be bold and ambitious. Push the envelope.

What does success mean to you and any last words?

The fun part of scientific research is that there is always more to discover. It is a life-long quest.

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