Chang Liu is an Assistant Professor of Biomedical Engineering at UC Irvine, and a faculty member in the UC Irvine Center for Complex Biological Systems. Liu was born in 1982 in Shanghai, China and grew up in Tucson, AZ. Starting at a young age, Liu pursued a career as a concert pianist, but shifted his primary interest to chemistry when he was a sophomore at Harvard, where he conducted undergraduate research with Professor Stuart Schreiber. After graduating summa cum laude from Harvard in 2005 with a bachelor’s degree in chemistry, Liu joined the laboratory of Professor Peter Schultz at the Scripps Research Institute. There, he expanded the genetic code of bacteria for the co-translational incorporation of otherwise post-translational modifications and provided the first demonstrations that expanded genetic codes can be selectively advantageous in the evolution of novel protein function. Liu earned his Ph.D. in chemistry in exactly four years, and in late 2009, he became a Miller Fellow at UC Berkeley. Working with Professor Adam Arkin, Liu conducted research in the new field of synthetic biology and developed methods for the predictable creation of complex regulatory systems. In late 2012, Liu moved to UC Irvine as an Assistant Professor in the Biomedical Engineering Department and the Center for Complex Biological Systems.
Professor Liu’s research is in the fields of synthetic biology, chemical biology, and directed evolution. He is particularly interested in using synthetic biology to engineer systems for directed evolution wherein the parameters of evolution can be precisely manipulated. These systems can then be widely applied for the engineering, discovery, and understanding of novel biological function.