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.

Liu group 2018

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Group News



  • New drug discovered by Dr. Wenshe Liu could be "Game Changer" against COVID-19. - Texas A&M TODAY newsletter 08/25/2021. NEWS LINK
  • The news of PNAS publication regarding to the A&M-UTMB Team Identifies potential drug to treat SARS-COV-2 is released by the university. - Texas A&M TODAY newsletter 02/22/2021. NEWS LINK
  • Dr. Wenshe Liu, the first scientist to identify remdesivir as a potential treatment option to treat COVID-19. - Texas A&M TODAY newsletter 10/08/2020. NEWS LINK
  • Dr. Wenshe Liu shares his experience about life lessons learned, and a powerful message of hope in facing the current COVID-19 pandemic - C&EN guest editorial by W. R. Kuy - July 13, 2020, Vol. 98, Issue 27. NEWS LINK
  • Dr. Wenshe Liu's research group discovers COVID-19 treatment drug news on "KBTX - News3". Posted on May 21, 2020. NEWS LINK
  • Dr. Wenshe Liu's research group is developing drugs to combat COVID-19. The group's work is featured on "Click2Houston.com" (KPRC - Houston's Channel 2, a NBC-affiliate in Houston). Published on April 6, 2020. NEWS LINK
  • We are happy to announce the launch of the Texas Chemical Biology Conference which will take place in Texas A&M Hotel and Conference Center in May 24, 2019.
  • Dr. Wenshe Liu has been selected to receive one of 60 new grants by the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT).
  • 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).
  • 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