Phone number: +44 (0)1223 267607

Email: kcl33@cam.ac.uk

Dr Kim Liu

Postdoctoral Associate
University Positions
MRC Postdoctoral Scientist
Specialising in
Automation of molecular and synthetic biology

Kim Liu is a chemist researching synthetic biology at the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology. He also teaches undergraduate chemistry at Jesus College.

Academic interests

Kim Liu's research interests span molecular, chemical and synthetic biology, with emphasis on flexible implementation of laboratory automation. His work includes the conception and design of experiments that would be otherwise impossible to perform by hand. Currently, topics of interest include:

  • Genetic recoding and genome synthesis
  • Directed evolution
  • Cyclic peptide ligands/therapeutics.

Degrees obtained

  • MA, Natural Sciences, Cantab.
  • MSci Chemistry, Cantab.
  • PhD Chemistry, Cantab.

Awards and prizes

  • Roscoe Medal and Gold Award for Chemistry, STEM for Britain (2018).
  • Embiricos Trust PhD Scholarship, Jesus College, (2015–19).
  • Overall winner of ‘I’m a Scientist’, Medical Research Zone (2020).


Kim Liu has been at Jesus College, Cambridge since 2011. As an undergraduate, he studied chemistry and materials science through the physical natural sciences tripos. His PhD in chemistry with Sir Shankar Balasubramanian centred around investigating an alternative quadruple-stranded DNA and its existence and purpose in living cells. Using high-throughput, biosynthetic screening methods, he developed a set of molecules known as cyclic peptides to target this DNA structure. Since March 2020, Kim has worked at the MRC-LMB to continue nurturing his interest in synthetic biology. 

Other interests

Climbing, piano, badminton, martial arts, philosophy, travelling, cooking.

Publications, links and resources

  • K. C. Liu, K. Röder, S. Adhikari, D.J. Wales, S. Balasubramanian, “Affinity-selected bicyclic peptide G-quadruplex ligands mimic a protein-like binding mechanism”, J. Am. Chem. Soc. 142, 8367–8373 (2020).

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