Chang C. Liu

Chang C. Liu
Associate Professor of Biomedical Engineering, Chemistry, and Molecular Biology & Biochemistry
Director, Center for Synthetic Biology
University of California, Irvine

Miller Postdoctoral Fellow (2009-2012), UC Berkeley
Ph.D. in Chemistry (2009), Scripps Research Institute
B.A. in Chemistry (2005), Harvard

2020 NIH Director’s Transformative Research Award
2020 Faculty Excellence in Research Early Career Award, UC Irvine Samueli School of Engineering
2019 Moore Inventor Fellow
2019 Robert W. Vaughan Lectureship, California Institute of Technology
2019 ACS Synthetic Biology Young Innovator Award
2018 Kavli Fellow
2016 Sloan Research Fellow
2015 NIH New Innovator Award
2015 Beckman Young Investigator Award
2015 Dupont Young Professor Award
2009 Miller Research Fellowship
2005 Hertz Foundation Fellowship
2005 NSF Graduate Fellowship

Chang Liu is an Associate Professor of Biomedical Engineering, Chemistry, and Molecular Biology and Biochemistry at UC Irvine. 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 and Phi Beta Kappa 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 PhD in chemistry in 2009, after which 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 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. For example, his group is known for their construction of an orthogonal DNA replication (OrthoRep) system capable of driving the rapid, scalable, and deep evolution of desired genes in vivo. These systems can be widely applied for the engineering, discovery, and understanding of biological function.