Hongjun Liang, Ph.D. | Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center

Professor of Cell Physiology & Molecular Biophysics 
Adjunct faculty of Chemical Engineering and Chemistry at Texas Tech University


Department of Cell Physiology and Molecular Biophysics    
Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center
3601 4th Street, STOP 6551
Lubbock, Texas 79430
Office Phone: (806) 743-1463
Office room: 5A169
FAX: (806) 743-1512
E-mail: H.Liang@ttuhsc.edu


Research Interest:

Our research interest is in membrane biophysics and bioengineering, with a particular focus on understanding and controlling the recognition and transport across nanoscale membrane boundaries. Our long-term goal is to bridge biology with synthetic systems via materials discovery. We design synthetic materials to partake in live processes, and adapt biological functions to be used under a broad range of harsher, non-biological conditions. Examples of our current research projects include membrane protein functions in synthetic proteomembranes; membrane-active antimicrobials and biofilm mitigation; and nanoparticle-based, membrane-targeting theranostic platforms. Aided by a large array of structural and functional characterization tools including synchrotron small angle x-ray scattering, we develop new biological, chemical, and engineering approaches to understand membrane biophysics and exploit membrane-based bionanotechnology.

Selected Publications:

BioMacromolecules ACS
  . E. Kamilar, J. Bariwal, W. Zheng, H.R. Ma, and H.J. Liang,  “SMALPs are not simply nanodiscs: The polymer-to-lipid ratios of fractionated SMALPs underline their heterogeneous nature”, Biomacromolecules, 24 (4), 1819-1838 (2023)
  . J. Bariwal, H.R. Ma, G.A. Altenberg, H.J. Liang, "Nanodiscs: a versatile nanocarrier platform for cancer diagnosis and treatment", Chem. Soc. Rev., 51, 1702-1728 (2022)
. Y.J. Jiang, W. Zheng, K. Tran, E. Kamilar, J. Bariwal, H.R. Ma, H.J. Liang, "Hydrophilic nanoparticles that kill bacteria while sparing mammalian cells reveal the antibiotic role of nanostructures", Nat. Commun., 13, 197 (2022)


Also reported by The Medical News, Science Daily, Science Times, Mirage News, Science Magazine, and other new channels.
ncbi A. Chen, E.J. Majdinasab, M.C. Fiori, H.J. Liang, and G.A. Altenberg, "Polymer-encased nanodisc and polymer nanodiscs: New platforms for membrane protein research and applications", Front. Bioeng. Biotechnol., 8 (1329), 598450 (2020)
ncbi M.C. Fiori, W. Zheng, E. Kamilar, G. Simiyu, G.A. Altenberg, and H.J. Liang, "Extraction and reconstitution of membrane proteins into lipid nanodiscs encased by zwitterionic styrene-maleic amide copolymers", Sci. Rep.10, 9940 (2020)
ncbi W. Zheng, M. Anzaldua, A. Arora, Y.J. Jiang, K. McIntyre, M. Doerfert, T. Winter, A. Mishra, H.R. Ma, and H.J. Liang, "Environmentally benign nanoantibiotics with a built-in deactivation switch responsive to natural habitats", Biomacromolecules 21 (6), 2187-2198 (2020)
Also selected as the ACS Editor's Choice Article and Cover Story on Biomacromolecules; Research Highlight on Chemical & Engineering News (C&EN), "Bottle-brush antibiotic busts bacterial membranes", 98(15), 9, 2020; Research Highlight on the Chinese Polymer Network, Environmentally degradable antibiotics, 04/16/2020.
ncbi L.J. Kuang, J. Goins, W. Zheng, P. Eduafo, H.R. Ma, M. Posewitz, D.T. Wu, and H.J. Liang, "Spontaneous microalgae dewatering directed by retrievable, recyclable, and reusable nanoparticle-pinched polymer brushes", Chem. Mater. 31, 4657-4672 (2019) Also selected as Research Highlight on the Chinese Polymer Network, Microalgae biofuel and directed phase separation of planktonic cell cultures, 06/27/2019.
ncbi M.C. Fiori, Y.J. Jiang, W. Zheng, M. Anzaldua, M.J. Borgnia, G.A. Altenberg, and H.J. Liang, "Polymer nanodiscs: Discoidal amphiphilic block copolymer membranes as a new platform for membrane proteins", Sci. Rep., 7, 15227 (2017)
Y.J. Jiang, W. Zheng, L.J. Kuang, H.R. Ma, and H.J. Liang, "Hydrophilic phage-mimicking membrane active antimicrobials reveal nanostructure-dependent activity and selectivity", ACS Infect. Dis., 3, 676-687 (2017) 
Also selected as the ACS Editor's Choice Article and Cover Story on ACS Infec. Dis.; Research Highlight on Chemical & Engineering News (C&EN), "Nanomedicine: Polymer nanoparticles mimic bacteriophages", 95(35), 9 (2017); Research Spotlight on Chemical Research on Toxicology, 30(10), 1731-1732 (2017).
ncbi M.C. Fiori, Y.J. Jiang, G.A. Altenberg, and H.J. Liang, "Polymer-encased nanodiscs with improved buffer compatibility", Sci. Rep., 7, 7432 (2017)
ncbi S.L. Wang, C. Ing, S. Emami, Y.J. Jiang, H.J. Liang, R. Pomès, L. Brown, and V. Ladizhansky, “Structure and dynamics of extracellular loops in human Aquaporin-1 from solid-state NMR and molecular dynamics”, J. Phys. Chem. B 120(37), 9887-9902 (2016).
ncbi U. Chawla, Y.J. Jiang, W. Zheng, L.J. Kuang, S. M. D. C. Perera, M. F. Brown, and H.J. Liang, “A usual G-protein-coupled receptor in unusual membranes”, Angew. Chem. Int. Ed., 55(2), 588-592 (2016).
M. Ward, S.L. Wang, I. Hung, P.L. Gor’kov, Y.J. Jiang, H.J. Liang, L. Brown, and V. Ladizhansky, “In situ structural studies of Anabaena Sensory Rhodopsin in the E. coli Inner Membrane”, Biophys. J., 108, 1683-1696 (2015). 
Also featured in New and Notable, "A Solid View of Membrane Proteins In Situ", Biophys. J., 108, 1585-1586 (2015).  
ncbi L.J. Kuang, T.L. Olson, S. Lin, M. Flores, Y.J. Jiang, W. Zheng, J.C. Williams, J.P. Allen, and H.J. Liang, “Interface for light–driven electron transfer by photosynthetic complexes across block copolymer membranes”, J. Phys. Chem. Lett., 5, 787-791 (2014).
ncbi L.J. Kuang, D.A. Fernandes, M. O’Halloran, W. Zheng, Y.J. Jiang, V. Ladizhansky, L.S. Brown, and H.J. Liang, ““Frozen” block copolymer nanomembranes with light-driven proton pumping performance”, ACS Nano, 8(1), 537-545 (2014).
ncbi A.A. Onasoga-Jarvis, T.J. Puls, S.K. O'Brien, L.J. Kuang, H.J. Liang, and K.B. Neeves, “Thrombin generation and fibrin formation under flow on biomimetic tissue factor rich surfaces”, J. Thromb. Haemost., 12 (3), 373-382 (2014).
ncbi J. Cao; X. Pan, W. Huang, Y. Wang, D. Hua, X. Zhu, and H.J. Liang, "Synthesis of cationic poly(4-vinylpyridine)-functionalized colloidal particles by emulsion polymerization with reactive block copolymer for protein adsorption", J. Coll. Inter. Sci., 381, 137-142 (2012).
ncbi X. Pan, J. Cao, Y. Wang, W. Huang, D. Hua, X. Zhu, and H.J. Liang, "Synthesis of surface-functionalized polystyrene sub-micron spheres using novel amphiphilic comonomer", Polymer, 53, 3508-3513 (2012).
ncbi D.B. Hua, L.J. Kuang, and H.J. Liang, “Self-directed reconstitution of proteorhodopsin with amphiphilic block copolymers induces the formation of hierarchically ordered proteopolymer membrane arrays”, J. Am. Chem. Soc., 133, 2354-2357 (2011).
ncbi D.B. Hua, J.L. Jiang, L.J. Kuang, J. Jiang, W. Zheng, and H.J. Liang, “Smart chitosan-based stimuli-responsive nanocarriers for the controlled delivery of hydrophobic pharmaceuticals”, Macromolecules, 44, 1298-1302 (2011).
Q. H. Shi, H.J. Liang, D. Feng, J. F. Wang, and G. D. Stucky, “Porous carbon and carbon/metal oxide microfibers with well-controlled pore structure and interface”, J. Am. Chem. Soc., 130, 5034-5035 (2008). 
Also highlighted on Chemical & Engineering News (C&EN), “Silica and Ice Template Creates Holey Microfibers”. 86(14), 50-51 (2008).
ncbi H.J. Liang, G. Whited, C. Nguyen, A. Okerlund, and G. D. Stucky, “Inherently tunable electrostatic assembly of membrane proteins”, Nano Lett., 8, 333-339 (2008).
ncbi H.J. Liang, G. Whited, C. Nguyen, and G. D. Stucky, “The directed cooperative assembly of proteorhodopsin into 2D and 3D polarized arrays”, Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A., 104, 8212-8217 (2007).

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Hongjun Liang, Ph.D.

(806) 743 - 1463


Positions Open:

The Liang lab has open positions for graduate students and post docs in the areas of membrane biophysics and bioengineering. Inquiries welcome.

Hongjun Liang

(806) 743 - 1463