Julie C. Liu
Associate Professor of Chemical Engineering
Davidson School of Chemical Engineering
Forney Hall of Chemical Engineering
480 Stadium Mall Drive
West Lafayette, IN 47907-2100
Because of the precise structural control of protein-based biomaterials, Prof. Liu is using these materials to facilitate tissue engineering studies to control cell response through the local microenvironment. Tissue engineering aims to replace diseased or damaged tissues or organs by combining biomaterials, cells, and bioactive factors. Adult stem cells are a promising cell source for tissue engineering because of their ease of harvest, their high proliferation capacity, and their ability to differentiate into many different cell types. Many studies have already established the effects of soluble chemical cues on stem cell differentiation in vitro. Because of the precise structural control of protein-based biomaterials, Prof. Liu's research focuses on delineating the material-based cues (biochemical and biophysical) that promote differentiation of a specific cell fate.
Our specific interests include:
Development of Protein-based Biomaterials
The Liu research group has engineered a family of protein-based biomaterials that incorporates mechanical domains, crosslinking sites, and bioactive domains. We have incorporated mechanical domains based on sequences derived from resilin and abductin and have investigated how to tune protein properties for use in diverse tissue engineering applications. Specifically, we demonstrated that cell adhesion and lower critical solution behavior can be manipulated through control of the amino acid sequence.
Material-based Cues for Skeletal Engineering
We are elucidating the chemical and physical cues that promote either bone or cartilage differentiation of adult stem cells. We demonstrated that a soluble peptide based on bone morphogenetic protein-2 (BMP-2) is a useful tool for cartilage engineering. We produced a modular protein that contains this BMP-2 peptide and are currently investigating the effect of these protein-based materials on bone or cartilage differentiation.
Tunable Microenvironments for Endothelial Differentiation
We are characterizing the ability of biochemical cues or physical properties to promote differentiation of adult stem cells into arterial or venous endothelial cells. We have manufactured a protein-based biomaterial containing a VEGF-based peptide. We are currently probing the effects of these material-based cues on endothelial differentiation.
- Sydney Hollingshead
- Claire Kilmer
- Charng-yu Lin
- Celina Twitchell
- Nelda Vazquez-Portalatin
- Zain Clapacs
- Yupeng Zhuo
Awards and Honors
B.-H. Cha, S.R. Sin, J. Leijten, Y.-C. Li, S. Singh, J.C. Liu, N. Annabi, R. Abdi, M.R. Dokmeci, N.E. Vrana, A.M. Ghaemmaghami, A. Khademhosseini*, "Integrin-mediated Interactions Control Macrophage Polarization in 3D Hydrogels," Advanced Healthcare Materials, doi: 10.1002/adhm.201700289, (2017).
S. Hollingshead, C.-Y. Lin, and J.C. Liu, “Designing Smart Materials with Recombinant Proteins,” Macromolecular Bioscience, 17, 1600554 (2017).
M.J. Brennan, B.F. Kilbride, J.J. Wilker, and J.C. Liu, “A Bioinspired Elastin-based Protein for a Cytocompatible Underwater Adhesive,” Biomaterials, 124, 116-125 (2017).
Y. Kim and J.C. Liu, “Protein-engineered Microenvironments Can Promote Endothelial Differentiation of Human Mesenchymal Stem Cells in the Absence of Exogenous Growth Factors,” Biomaterials Science, 4, 1761-1772 (2016).
M.M. Alvarez†, J.C. Liu†, G. Trujillo-de Santiago, B.-H. Cha, A. Vishwakarma, A. Ghaemmaghami, and A. Khademhosseini, “Delivery Strategies to Control Inflammatory Response: Modulating M1-M2 Polarization in Tissue Engineering Applications,” Journal of Controlled Release, 240, 349-363 (2016). †These authors contributed equally.
N. Vazquez-Portalatin†, C.E. Kilmer†, A. Panitch, and J.C. Liu, “Characterization of Collagen Type I and II Blended Hydrogels for Articular Cartilage Tissue Engineering,” Biomacromolecules, 17, 3145-3152 (2016). †These authors contributed equally.
Y. Kim, E.E. Gill, and J.C. Liu, “Enzymatic Crosslinking of Resilin-based Proteins for Vascular Tissue Engineering Applications,” Biomacromolecules, 17, 2530-2539 (2016).
C.-Y. Lin and J.C. Liu, “Modular Protein Domains: An Engineering Approach Toward Functional Biomaterials,” Current Opinion in Biotechnology, 40, 56-63 (2016).
M.J. Brennan, H.J. Meredith, C.L. Jenkins, J.J. Wilker, and J.C. Liu, “Cytocompatibility Studies of a Biomimetic Copolymer with Simplified Structure and High-strength Adhesion,” Journal of Biomedical Materials Research Part A, 104A, 983-990 (2016). (Impact Factor: 3.3, Times Cited: 2)
Y. Kim, J.N. Renner, and J.C. Liu, “Incorporating the BMP-2 Peptide in Genetically-engineered Biomaterials Accelerates Osteogenic Differentiation,” Biomaterials Science, 2, 1110-1119 (2014).