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Originally from New Zealand, Dr Liu joins HRI through a Sydney Cardiovascular Research Fellowship. Dr Liu has a strong research record in both peptide and small-molecule drug discovery fields.

“The burden of cardiovascular disease (CVD) remains a major health concern in Australia, New Zealand and globally,” Dr Liu says. “However, cardiovascular drug development has stalled for several decades due to the large attrition in long-awaited clinical trials and increasing demand in risk assessment.”

To pave a new pathway for CVD drug development, Dr Liu’s research will focus on repurposing of existing anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer drugs for next-generation CVD therapy. To this end, his work aims to develop chemoproteomic platforms to: (1) enable genome-wide understanding of how these new drug candidates perform in the context of cardiovascular complications, and (2) provide clinicians with chemical-genetic information to guide personalised medicine for CVD treatment.

At HRI, Dr Liu will be working in close collaboration with the Thrombosis Group led by Professor Shaun Jackson and with Professor Payne’s research group at The University of Sydney (USYD).

Dr Liu also has extensive experience in teaching and mentoring new students. His teaching efforts were recognised by the award of Postgraduate Teaching Fellowship and the George Harris Scholarship.

Train­ing next-gen­er­a­tion sci­en­tists is always giv­en high pri­or­i­ty in my mind. When I was a research men­tor in the labs at Cor­nell and EPFL, I led group dis­cus­sion for high-impact research papers. My aim was to pro­mote crit­i­cal think­ing and brain­storm new ideas for inter­dis­ci­pli­nary and trans­la­tion­al research,” says Dr Liu.

Dr Liu began his studies in biomedical science (molecular pharmacology and medicinal chemistry) in 2005 in New Zealand, before going on to do a Masters of Biomedical Science (bio-organic chemistry) in 2009 and then obtaining his PhD in 2012. His PhD and postdoctoral studies with Professor Richard Payne at the School of Chemistry, The University of Sydney focused on developing new peptide ligation technologies to efficiently prepare bioactive peptide libraries for cardiovascular drug discovery.

He then took on the position of postdoctoral research associate at Cornell University, USA and later at École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) in Switzerland. His postdoctoral research focused on hijacking endogenous lipid electrophile-signalling pathways for precision medicine development. The contribution of this work to anti-cancer research was recognised by Cornell University, and he was nominated by the University for the Blavatnik Award competition in 2018.

Dr Liu’s research is also recognised in the European chemical biology research community. He was awarded the Royal Society of Chemistry Poster Prize for Research Excellence in chemical biology at the 2nd PSL Chemical Biology Symposium in Paris, France.

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