Liu Receives Research Acclaim
Liu, who has a joint appointment in chemistry, was one of just eight 2015 Beckman Young Investigators spanning physics, chemistry, biology, bioengineering and electrical engineering selected nationwide. Each awardee receives $750,000 over four years in support of his/her research.
The Beckman Young Investigator program provides research support to the most promising early-stage young faculty members in the chemical and life sciences, specifically those fostering new methods, instruments and materials that will open up new avenues of scientific research.
The 2015 DuPont Young Professors comprise nine researchers on four continents; each receives $50,000 during the next two years to support research that advances basic science addressing global challenges in food, energy and protection.
The research interests of the 2015 class of DuPont Young Professors represent key components of the company’s science and engineering interests, and the program helps strengthen academic research and collaboration.
Liu works to engineer synthetic genetic systems that go beyond the capabilities of natural systems. These “orthogonal” genetic systems can accelerate the speed of evolution and reinterpret genetic code, for example. The work can advance the discovery and production of cancer drugs and useful enzymes; it also can allow cells to be turned into “polymer synthesis factories,” for evolving new antibiotics and other materials. “At the more fundamental level, our excitement over orthogonal genetic systems is that they may provide the platform for synthesizing life from the ground up,” said Liu.
"I am thrilled to receive both of these honors,” he added. “It is recognition of the creativity and dedication of my research group and welcome (and well-funded) support to help turn our ambitious ideas into reality. I am humbled to be a part of both programs, which have supported many of my favorite scientists."