Juewen Liu (He/Him)

Juewen Liu
Location: QNC 5604
Phone: 519-888-4567 x38919


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:

1. Aptamers, catalytic DNA, biointerface chemistry and nanotechnology
2. Targeted drug delivery and nanomedicine
3. Bioinorganic / Bioanalytical chemistry

Research Interests

  • Nanotechnology - the development and study of materials and devices on the nanoscale (1\/millionth of one millimetre)
  • Aptamer selection and characterization
  • Fundamental science behind DNA and lipids as functional polymers with the ability to self-assemble and interact with metals
  • Bioinorganic and bioanalytical chemistry
  • Contamination & Remediation: Water, Soil, Air
  • Drug Discovery, Design and Delivery
  • Bionanotechnology and Biosensors
  • Soft Matter
  • Devices and Analytical Methods
  • Nanomaterials
  • Legacies of Agriculture Pollutants

Scholarly Research


  • 2005 Ph.D., Chemistry, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, USA
  • 2000 B.Sc., Chemistry, University of Science and Technology of China, China


  • 2023 Highly Cited Researchers™ list, Clarivate Analytics
  • 2022 Highly Cited Researchers™ list, Clarivate Analytics
  • 2019 Member of The College of New Scholars, Artists and Scientists, Royal Society of Canada (RSC)
  • 2018 W.A.E. McBryde Medal, Canadian Society for Chemistry (CSC)
  • 2017 University Research Chair, University of Waterloo
  • 2015 Outstanding Performance Award, Faculty of Science, University of Waterloo
  • 2015 Voted most influential paper of the 2000s, Langmuir (2015 Surface Science of DNA Adsorption onto Citrate-Capped Gold Nanoparticles; Xu Zhang, Mark R. Servos, and Juewen Liu; DOI: 10.1021/la205036p.)
  • 2014 Fred Beamish Award, Canadian Society for Chemistry (CSC)
  • 2011 Ontario Early Researcher Award, Province of Ontario
  • 2004 T. S. Piper Award (for the best thesis in inorganic chemistry), University of Illinois
  • 2003 Ullyot Fellowship, University of Illinois

Professional Associations

  • Canadian Society for Chemistry

Affiliations and Volunteer Work

  • Member, Waterloo Institute for Nanotechnology (WIN)
  • Member, The Water Institute
  • Member, Centre for Bioengineering and Biotechnology (CBB)


  • MNS 431 - Special Topics in Nano-Biomaterials
    • Taught in 2019, 2020, 2021, 2022, 2023, 2024
  • NE 461 - Micro and Nano-instrumentation
    • Taught in 2019, 2021

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

Selected/Recent Publications

  • Gu L., Zheng J., Zhang Y., Wang D., and Liu J., Selection and Characterization of DNA Aptamers for Cytidine and Uridine, ChemBioChem, China, 2024.
  • Lin Y., Chen X., Li Y., Ye Y., Yang L., Liao L., Deng Y., Liu J., Zhang J., and Zheng C., Scandium-mediated photosensitization oxidation: A new strategy for fast and neutral pH colorimetric detection of cocaine by coup, Sensors and Actuators B: Chemical, Volume 127, China, 2023.
  • Huang P.-J.J., and Liu J., Simultaneous Detection of L-Lactate and D-Glucose Using DNA Aptamers in Human Blood Serum**, Angewandte Chemie - International Edition, Volume 62, Canada, 2023.
  • Zhang P., Zandieh M., Ding Y., Wu L., Wang X., Liu J., and Li Z., A Label-Free, Mix-and-Detect ssDNA-Binding Assay Based on Cationic Conjugated Polymers, Biosensors, Volume 13, Canada, 2023.
  • Zandieh M., and Liu J., Nanozymes: Definition, Activity, and Mechanisms, Advanced Materials, Canada, 2023.
  • Zhao Y., Gao B., Chen Y., and Liu J., An aptamer array for discriminating tetracycline antibiotics based on binding-enhanced intrinsic fluorescence, Analyst, Volume 127, 1507-1513, Canada, 2023.
  • Ding Y., and Liu J., Pushing Adenosine and ATP SELEX for DNA Aptamers with Nanomolar Affinity, Journal of the American Chemical Society, Volume 127, 7540-7547, Canada, 2023.
  • Zhang H., Li A.Z., and Liu J., Surfactant-Assisted Label-Free Fluorescent Aptamer Biosensors and Binding Assays, Biosensors, Volume 13, Canada, 2023.
  • Lu C., Zandieh M., Zheng J., and Liu J., Comparison of the peroxidase activities of iron oxide nanozyme with DNAzyme and horseradish peroxidase, Nanoscale, Volume 15, 8189-8196, Canada, 2023.
  • Wong K.-Y., Liu Y., Zhou L., Wong M.-S., and Liu J., Mucin-targeting-aptamer functionalized liposomes for delivery of cyclosporin A for dry eye diseases, Journal of Materials Chemistry B, Volume 11, 4684-4694, Canada, 2023.


  • Juewen Liu and Po-Jung Jimmy Huang, “Phosphorothioate DNAzymes Complexes and Use Thereof”, US patent 11,142,544 issued on October 12, 2021.
  • 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.

In The News