Prof. Dr. Kai Liu (tenured)

Location: Biomedicine Hall D-207

Tel: 010-62791893


short cv: Kai Liu received his PhD degree from the University of Groningen in The Netherlands in 2015. Then he pursued his postdoctoral studies at the University of Groningen in The Netherlands and Harvard University in the USA, respectively. In 2017 he was appointed as a principal investigator at Changchun Institute of Applied Chemistry of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and focused on engineered biomaterials and high-tech applications. In 2020, he moved to the Department of Chemistry of Tsinghua University in Beijing, and was promoted as a tenured professor and heads a laboratory performing research at the interface of biotechnology, biosynthetic materials, and information technology. He has published more than 100 papers in high-ranked journals, including PNAS, JACS, Angew. Chem., Adv. Mater., Nat. Commun., Sci. Adv., and his 18 patents are issued. He is acting as a chief scientist for a national key grant. In 2021 he was awarded the National Science Fund for Distinguished Young Scholars. Besides, he is serving as peer-review editor or editorial board for several journals, including CAE flag journal Engineering and ACS Applied Bio Materials.

Awards and honors

National Science Fund for Distinguished Young Scholars

Chief Scientist for National Key Grant

Editorial board for ACS Applied Bio Materials.

Chinese Academy of Engineering flagjournal Engineering Young expert/guest editor

Jilin Province Youth Science and Technology Award

Netherlands organization for scientific research (NWO)-Rubicon award

National Young Talents Program

Cum Laude Ph.D diploma

Chinese Government Award for Outstanding Self-financed Students Abroad

Research areas and interests

We are focusing on biological synthesis and the production of scale-up functional biomaterials. Synthesized DNA and structural proteins are designed as building blocks, ultrastrong biomaterials for high-tech applications are explored. We are also performing research on the interface of biotechnology (BT) and information technology (IT).


Recent publications

1.Z. Meng, Q. Liu, Y. Zhang, J. Sun, C. Yang, H. Li, M. Loznik, R. Göstl, D. Chen, F. Wang*, N. A. Clark, H. Zhang, A. Herrmann*, K. Liu*, Highly stiff and stretchable DNA liquid crystalline organogels with super plasticity, ultrafast self-healing and magnetic response behaviors, Adv. Mater. 2021, 33, 2106208.

2.J. Sun, L. Xiao, B. Li, K. Zhao, Z. Wang, Y. Zhou, C. Ma, J. Li, H. Zhang, A. Herrmann*, K. Liu*, Genetically engineered polypeptide adhesive coacervates for surgical applications, Angew. Chem. Int. Ed., 2021, 60, 23687.

3.L. Xiao, Z. Wang, Y. Sun, B. Li, B. Wu, C. Ma, V. S. Petrovskii, X. Gu, D. Chen, I. I. Potemkin, A. Herrmann, H. Zhang, K. Liu*, An artificial phase‐transitional underwater bioglue with robust and switchable adhesion performance, Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2021, 60, 12082.

4.C. Ma, B. Li, J. Zhang, Y. Sun, J. Li, H. Zhou, J. Shen, R. Gu, J. Qian, C. Fan, H. Zhang, K. Liu*, Significantly improving the bioefficacy for rheumatoid arthritis with supramolecular nanoformulations, Adv. Mater. 2021, 33, 2100098.

5.S. Wang, B. Li, H. Zhang, J. Chen, X. Sun, J. Xu, T. Ren, Y. Zhang, C. Ma*, W. Guo*, K. Liu*, Improving Bioavailaibity of Hydrophobic Prodrugs through Supramolecular Nanocarriers based on Recombinant Proteins for Osteosarcoma Treatment, Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2021, 60, 11252.

6.C. Ma, J. Sun, B. Li, Y. Feng, Y. Sun, L. Xiang, B. Wu, L. Xiao, B. Liu, V. S. Petrovskii, B. Liu, J. Zhang, Z. Wang, H. Li, L. Zhang, J. Li, F. Wang, R. Gostl, I. I. Potemkin, D. Chen, H. Zeng, H. Zhang, D. Weitz, K. Liu*, A. Herrmann*, Ultra-strong bio-glue from genetically engineered polypeptides, Nat. Commun. 2021, 12, 3613.

7.J. Sun, C. Ma, S. Maity, F. Wang, Y. Zhou, G. Portale, R. Göstl, W. H. Roos, H. Zhang, K. Liu*, A. Herrmann*, Reversibly photo-modulating mechanical stiffness and toughness of bioengineered protein fibers, Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2021, 60, 3222.

8.J. Sun, C. Ma, B. Li, F. Wang, K. Liu*, H. Zhang, Proteinaceous fibers with outstanding mechanical properties manipulated by supramolecular interactions, CCS Chem. 2020, 2, 1669.

9.C. Ma, B. Li, B. Shao, B. Wu, D. Chen, J. Su*, H. Zhang, K. Liu*, Anisotropic protein organofibers encoded with extraordinary mechanical behaviors for cellular mechanobiology applications, Angew. Chem., Int. Ed. 2020, 59, 21481.

10.C. Ma, J. Dong, M. Viviani, I. Tulini, N. Pontillo, S. Maity, Y. Zhou, W. H. Roos, K. Liu*, A. Herrmann*, G. Portale*, Denovo rational design of a freestanding, supercharged polypeptide, proton conducting membrane, Sci. Adv. 2020, 6, eabc0810.

11.J. Li#, Y. Sun#, Y. Liang#, J. Ma*, B. Li, C. Ma, R. Tanzi, H. Zhang, K. Liu*, C. Zhang*, Extracellular elastin molecule modulates Alzheimer’s Aβ dynamics in vitro and in vivo by affecting microglial activities, CCS Chem. 2020, 2, 1830.

12.B. Shao, S. Wan, C. Yang, J. Shen, Y. Li, H. You, D. Chen*, C. Fan, K. Liu*, H. Zhang*, Engineered Anisotropic Fluids of Rare Earth Nanomaterials, Angew. Chem., Int. Ed. 2020, 59, 18213.

13.Y. Zhang, L. Kong, F. Wang, B. Li, C. Ma, D. Chen*, K. Liu*, C. Fan, H. Zhang, Information stored in nanoscale: encoding data in a single DNA strand with Base64, Nano Today 2020, 33, 100871.

14.Y. Li, J. Li, J. Sun, H. He, B. Li, C. Ma, K. Liu*, H. Zhang, Bio-inspired and Mechanically Strong Fibers Based on Engineered Non-Spider Chimeric Proteins, Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2020, 59, 8148.

15.J. Li, B. Li, J. Sun, C. Ma, S. Wan, Y. Li, R. Göstl, A. Herrmann, K. Liu*, H. Zhang, Engineered Near-Infrared Fluorescent Protein Assemblies for Robust Bioimaging and Therapeutic Applications, Adv. Mater. 2020, 32, 2000964.

16.H. He, C. Yang, F. Wang*, Z. Wei, J. Shen, D. Chen, C. Fan, H. Zhang, K. Liu*, Mechanically strong globular protein-based fibers via microfluidic spinning technique, Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2020, 59, 4344.

17.Z. Sun, C. Yang, F. Wang, B. Wu, B. Shao, Z. Li, D. Chen*, Z. Yang*, K. Liu*, Biocompatible and pH‐Responsive Colloidal Surfactants with Tunable Shape for Controlled Interfacial Curvature, Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2020, 59, 9365.

18.C. Ma, J. Su, B. Li, A. Herrmann, H. Zhang, K. Liu*, Solvent-free plasticity and programmable mechanical behaviors of engineered proteins, Adv. Mater. 2020, 32, 1907697.

19.J. Sun, J. Su, C. Ma, R. Göstl, A. Herrmann, K. Liu*, H. Zhang,Fabrication and mechanical properties of engineered protein-based adhesives and fibers, Adv. Mater. 2020, 32, 1906360.

20.C.Ma, J. Su, Y. Sun, Y. Feng, N. Shen, B. Li, Y. Liang, X. Yang, H. Wu, H. Zhang, A. Herrmann*, R. E. Tanzi, K. Liu*, C. Zhang*, Significant upregulation of Alzheimer’s β-amyloids in vivo induced by extracellular elastin polypeptides, Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2019, 58, 18703.

21.H. He, K. Zhao, L. Xiao, Y. Zhang, Y. Cheng, S. Chen, L. Zhang*, X. Zhou*, K. Liu*, H. Zhang, Detection and chiral recognition of α-hydroxyl acid through proton and CEST NMR using Yb macrocyclic complex, Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2019, 58, 18286.

22.L. Zhang, C. Ma, J. Sun, B. Shao, D. Chen, G. Portale, K. Liu*, A. Herrmann*, Genetically engineered supercharged polypeptide fluids: fast and persistent self-ordering induced by a touch, Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2018. 57, 6878.