Yilan Liu

Yilan Liu
Assistant Professor
Location: E6 4018
Phone: 519-888-4567 x40641


Biography Summary
Yilan Liu joined the Department of Chemical Engineering as an Assistant Professor at the University of Waterloo in 2023. In Yilan’s lab for synthetic biology and sustainable development (LSS), we harness synthetic biology to deliver products and services that contribute to sustainable development. We currently focus on developing functional probiotics to supply an affordable and preventive health solutions, and engineering bacteria to convert mixed solid waste into useful products.
Yilan got her MASc at Chinese Academy of Sciences, where she earned Master of Natural Science, under the supervision of Ying Wang. She pursued her PhD in Biochemical Engineering at Chinese Academy of Sciences under the supervision of Professor Jianmin Xing and Professor Qinhong Wang. She conducted post-doctoral training at University of Nebraska-Lincoln under Professor Wei Niu, and at University of Toronto under Professor Radhakrishnan Mahadevan. Between 2021 and 2022, she conducted Research Associate at University of Toronto under Professor Radhakrishnan Mahadevan.

Research Interests
Synthetic biology for sustainable development
Functional probiotics for affordable and preventive health solutions
Genetic tools exploring
Bio-upcycling of mixed waste for sustainable development
Dynamic regulation of bioprocess
Biodegradation and Bioremediation


  • Education
  • 2015, Doctorate, Chemical Engineering, Chinese Academy of Sciences
  • 2011, Master of Natural Science, Chinese Academy of Science
  • 2007, Bachelor of Engineering, Hebei University of Science and Technology


  • CHE 102 - Chemistry for Engineers
    • Taught in 2023

* Only courses taught in the past 5 years are displayed.

Selected/Recent Publications

  • Selected Publications1. Liu Y*, Chen J*, Raj K, Baerg L, Nathan N, Philpott DJ, Mahadevan R. Program secretion of bacterial membrane vesicles and its applications in bacterial communication and IBD disease. ACS synthetic biology, 2023.
  • 2. Chen J*, Liu Y.* Diep P, Mahadevan R. Harnessing synthetic biology for sustainable biomining with Fe/S-oxidizing microbes. Frontiers in Bioengineering and Biotechnology, 2022, 1551.
  • 3. Liu Y, Khusnutdinova A, Chen J, Crisante D, Batyrova K, Raj K, Feigis M, Shirzadi E, Wang X, Dorakhan R, Wang X, Stogios PJ, Yakunin AF, Sargent EH, Mahadevan R. Systems engineering of Escherichia coli for n-butane production. Metabolic Engineering 2022, 74, 98-107.
  • 4. Chen J*, Liu Y*, Diep P, Mahadevan R. Genetically engineering extremely acidophilic Acidithiobacillus for biomining: progress and perspectives. Journal of Hazardous Materials, 2022, 129456.
  • 5. Liu Y, Benitez MG, Chen J, Harrison E, Khusnutdinova AN, Mahadevan R, Opportunities and challenges for microbial synthesis of fatty acid-derived chemicals (FACs). Frontiers in Bioengineering and Biotechnology, 9: 4 2021.
  • 6. Chen J*, Liu Y*, Diep P, Mahadevan R. Genomic analysis of a newly isolated Acidithiobacillus ferridurans JAGS strain reveals its adaptation to acid mine drainage. Minerals 11.1 (2021): 74
  • 7. Liu Y, Chen J, Crisante D, Jaramillo Lopez JM, Mahadevan R. Dynamic Cell Programming with Quorum Sensing-Controlled CRISPRi Circuit. ACS Synthetic Biology 2020.
  • 8. Liu Y, Chen J, Khusnutdinova A, Correia K, Diep P, Batyrova KA, Nemr K, Flick R, Stogios PJ, Yakunin AF, Mahadevan R. A novel C-terminal protein degron identified in bacterial aldehyde decarbonylases using directed enzyme evolution. Biotechnology for Biofuels 2020.
  • 9. Liu Y, Yang M, Chen J, Yan D, Cheng W, Wang Y, Thygesen A, Chen R, Xing J, Wang Q. PCR-based seamless genome editing with high efficiency and fidelity in Escherichia coli. PLOS one 2016, 11(3).
  • 10. Liu Y, Chen T, Yang M, Wang C, Huo W, Yan D, Chen J, Zhou J, Xing J. Analysis of mixtures of fatty acids and fatty alcohols in fermentation broth. Journal of Chromatography A 2014, 1323:66-72.

Graduate studies