Our Group

We are a Chemical Biology group in the Department of Chemistry at Texas A&M University led by Professor Wenshe Liu. Our interest lies in utilizing organic Chemistry tools to decipher biological systems.

We are involved in the following major areas:

  • Organic Chemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Protein Evolution
  • Cell Biology

Please visit our Group Members page to learn more about our individual group members.

2016 group pic

Our Research

Using the genetic code expansion technique, a powerful tool to functionalize proteins, the genetically encoded amino acid inventory has been augmented far beyond the canonical 20 to include non-canonical amino acids that contain diverse chemical functional groups. This opens a door for an array of novel protein research.

Our major focus is to devise new genetic code expansion methods for the encoding of non-canonical amino acids in proteins in living cells and apply these methods in four major areas:

  1. Deciphering cancer epigenetics regulation of histone and P53
  2. Drug discovery using phase display
  3. Protein biosensor development for small molecular sensing and
  4. Development of new click chemical reporters for specific protein tagging and fluorescent cell imaging

Please visit our Publications page to see our latest work or visit Research to view the highlights of the research areas.

Base Figure

Bioorthogonal Reactions for Protein Modifications

Bioorthogonal reactions refer to chemical reactions that were performed in a biological system without interfering with the complex cell environment. We use these reactions to develop potential click chemistry.

Project Details >

Epigenetics

Understanding the genetic transcriptional control in biological systems allows us to provide a profound understanding of cancer biology and genetic disorders and may inspire new therapeutic methods to cure these diseases.

Project Details >

Phage Display

Development of phage display and its methods will make it possible to target essential components and pathways within many different diseases, including cancer, AIDS, cardiovascular disease, and autoimmune disorders.

Project Details >

Protein FRET labeling for biosensor development

Förster resonance energy transfer (FRET) between a pair of donor and acceptor dyes is an invaluable tool to study dynamic protein conformational changes such as conformation rearrangement and folding/unfolding.

Project Details >

Group News

  • Recent cover feature in the ChemBioChem: Published on December 13, 2017 COVER FEATURE LINK

    Sharma, V., Zeng, Y., Wang, W. W., Qiao, ., Kurra, Y. and Liu, W. R.*. "Evolving the N-Terminal Domain of Pyrrolysyl-tRNA Synthetase for Improved Incorporation of Noncanonical Amino Acids", ChemBioChem., 2017, 18, 1-6. doi:10.1002/cbic.201700268 ARTICLE LINK

  • Dr. Wenshe Liu has been selected to receive one of 60 new grants by the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT). NEWS LINK

  • Publication in the Angel Chem Int. Published on January 2, 2017
    Zhipeng A. Wang, Yadagir Kurra, Xin Wang, Yu Zeng, Yan-Jiun Lee, Vangmayee Sharma, Hening Lin, Susie Y. Dai*, and Wenshe R. Liu*. "A Versatile Approach for Site-Specific Lysine Acylation in Proteins", Angew. Chem. Int. Ed., 2017, 56, 1643-1647. ARTICLE LINK