Juewen Liu’s research uses DNA and lipids as functional polymers and catalysts at the nano-scale.
Liu has found DNA molecules can be altered to serve as highly selective biosensors and reaction catalysts. Applications include detecting heavy metals instantly in water samples and targeted drug delivery. He is also interested in interfacing lipids with nanoparticles to create hybrid nanomaterials.
- Nanotechnology - the development and study of materials and devices on the nanoscale (1/millionth of one millimetre)
- Targeted drug delivery hybrid nanomaterials (nanomedicine)
- Fundamental science behind DNA and lipids as functional polymers with the ability to self-assemble and interact with metals
- Bioinorganic and bioanalytical chemistry
Professor Liu's research group applies the fundamental principles of chemistry, physics, and biology to produce nanoscale materials, devices, and systems to understand basic sciences, advance technology, and impact medicine.
In particular, they are interested in using DNA and lipids as functional polymers and building blocks to interface with metal nanoparticles, nanoclusters, carbon-based materials and hydrogels. Liu and his group employ a wide range of synthetic, analytical, physical and biochemical techniques.
They are currently interested in the following research topics:
- Bio-inspired assembly, biointerface chemistry and nanotechnology
- Targeted drug delivery and nanomedicine
- Bioinorganic / Bioanalytical chemistry
Professor Liu has taught the following undergraduate courses through the Nanotechnology Engineering program, offered jointly by the Department of Chemistry:
- NE 352: Surfaces and Interfaces (Fall 2009-2015)
- NE 469: Biosensors (Winter 2010-2015)
Professor Liu's most recent publications include
- Biwu Liu, Yu Zhao, Yu Jia and Juewen Liu*, "Heating Drives DNA to Hydrophobic Regions While Freezing to Hydrophilic Regions of Graphene Oxide for Highly Robust Biosensors", Journal of the American Chemical Society, 142, 14702–14709 (2020)
- Po-Jung Jimmy Huang, Jeffy Yang, Kellie Chong, Qianyi Ma, Miao Li, Fang Zhang, Woohyun J. Moon, Guomei Zhang and Juewen Liu*, "Good’s buffers have various affinities on gold nanoparticles regulating fluorescent and colorimetric DNA sensing", Chemical Science, 11, 6795-6804 (2020)
- Po-Jung Jimmy Huang, Donatien de Rochambeau, Hanadi Sleiman and Juewen Liu*, "Target Self-enhanced Selectivity in Metal-specific DNAzymes", Angewandte Chemie International Edition, 59, 3573-3577 (2020)
- Biwu Liu and Juewen Liu*, "Interface Driven Hybrid Materials based on DNA-Functionalized Gold Nanoparticles", Matter, 1, 825-847 (2019)
- Lingzi Ma, Sanjana Kartik, Biwu Liu and Juewen Liu*, "From general base to general acid catalysis in a sodium-specific DNAzyme by a guanine-to-adenine mutation", Nucleic Acids Research, 47, 8154–8162 (2019)
- Jinyi Zhang, Shihong Wu, Xiaomei Lu, Peng Wu* and Juewen Liu*, "Manganese as a Catalytic Mediator for Photo-oxidation and Breaking the pH Limitation of Nanozymes", Nano Letters, 19, 3214-3220 (2019)
- Biwu Liu, Tianyi Wu, Zhicheng Huang, Yibo Liu, and Juewen Liu*, "Freezing-directed Stretching and Alignment of DNA Oligonucleotides", Angewandte Chemie International Edition, 58, 2109-2113 (2019)
- Yi Lu and Juewen Liu, “Nucleic acid based fluorescent sensor for copper detection”, US patent No. 8,409,800, issued on April 2, 2013.
- Yi Lu and Juewen Liu, “Nucleic acid based fluorescent sensor for mercury detection”, US patent No. 8,367,416, issued on February 5, 2013.
- Yi Lu and Juewen Liu, “Aptamer- and nucleic acid enzyme-based systems for simultaneous detection of multiple analytes”, US patent No. 8,058,415, issued on November 15, 2011.
- Yi Lu and Juewen Liu, “Fluorescence based biosensor”, US patent No. 8,043,802, issued on October 15, 2011.
- Yi Lu and Juewen Liu, “Fluorescence based biosensor”, US patent No. 7,906,320, issued on March 15, 2011.
- Yi Lu and Juewen Liu, “Aptamer-based colorimetric sensor systems”, US patent No. 7,892,734, issued on February 22, 2011.
- Debapriya Mazumdar, Juewen Liu, Yi Lu, “Lateral flow devices”, US patent No. 7,799,554, issued on September 21, 2010.
- Yi Lu and Juewen Liu, “Nucleic acid biosensors”, US patent No. 7,612,185, issued on November 3, 2009.
- Yi Lu and Juewen Liu, “Simple catalytic DNA biosensors for ions based on color changes”, US patent No. 7,534,560, issued on May 19, 2009.
- Yi Lu and Juewen Liu, “Biosensors based on directed assembly of particles”, US Patent No. 7,485,419, issued on February 03, 2009.
- Yi Lu and Juewen Liu “New fluorescence based biosensor”, US Patent No. 6,890,719, issued on May 10, 2005.
- Juewen Liu, University of Waterloo Page 10 11/19/2013
Juewen Liu and Po-Jung Jimmy Huang, “Sensing Parts-per-Trillion Cd2+, Hg2+ and Pb2+ Collectively and Individually Using Phosphorothioate DNAzymes”, US Provisional patent filed on April 28, 2014 (serial # 61/996,034).
Juewen Liu and Biwu Liu, “DNA-Functionalized Oxide Nanoparticles for Highly Sensitive Detection and Removal of Environmental Contaminants”, US Provisional patent filed on April 16, 2014 (serial # 61/995,628).
Juewen Liu, C. Jeffrey Brinker, and Carlee Ashley, “Porous nanoparticle supported lipid bilayer nanostructures”, US provisional patent application filed on January 5, 2009.
Yi Lu, Juewen Liu and Daryl P. Wernette, “Nanomaterial Error Correction” US provisional patent application filed on 6/9/2005, Serial No. 60/688,961.
Yi Lu and Juewen Liu, “Nucleic Acid Enzyme Light-Up Sensor Utilizing Invasive DNA” US regular patent application filed on 11/3/2004, Serial No. 10/980,856.
Yi Lu and Juewen Liu, “Nucleic Acid Enzyme Ligation Sensor” US regular patent application filed on 1/21/2005, Serial No. 11/041,003.
Awards and Distinctions
- 2020 Member of The College of New Scholars, Artists and Scientists, Royal Society of Canada (RSC)
- 2018 W.A.E. McBryde Medal from Canadian Society for Chemistry (CSC)
- 2017 University Research Chair
- 2015 Surface Science of DNA Adsorption onto Citrate-Capped Gold Nanoparticles; Xu Zhang, Mark R. Servos, and Juewen Liu; DOI: 10.1021/la205036p. Voted by Langmuir as one of the most influential papers of the 2000's.
- 2015 Outstanding Performance Award
- 2014 Canadian Society for Chemistry Fred Beamish Award
- 2011 Ontario Early Researcher Award
- 2004 T. S. Piper Award (for the best thesis in inorganic chemistry), University of Illinois
- 2003 Ullyot Fellowship, University of Illinois
- 2002 Department of Chemistry Fellowship, University of Illinois
- 2002 Biosensors & Bioelectronics Award Runner-up
University of Waterloo Affiliations
Professional Associations and Service
- Canadian Society for Chemistry
The following news stories have featured Professor Liu's research:
January 15, 2014 Dr. Juewen Liu recognized for innovative research
February 28, 2013 Researcher Juewen Liu uses nano-materials to clean water
2005 PhD Department of Chemistry, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, IL, USA
2000 BSc Chemistry, University of Science and Technology of China