Chang Liu is an Assistant Professor of Biomedical Engineering and Chemistry at UC Irvine, and a faculty member in the 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 field of synthetic biology and developed methods for the predictable creation of complex regulatory systems. In January 2013, Liu started his lab at UC Irvine.
Professor Liu’s research is in the fields of synthetic biology, chemical biology, and directed evolution. He is particularly interested in engineering specialized genetic systems for rapid evolution and creating synthetic organisms that use new building blocks for their informational and functional macromolecules. These systems can then be widely applied for the engineering, discovery, and understanding of novel biological function.