Associate Professor This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Shelby 805
(205) 996-1042

Research and Teaching Interests:  Cellular therapy, Antibody, Anti-cancer, Heart failure treatment, Industrial biopharmaceutical and biotechnology, Metabolic cell-process engineering, Bioreactor, Cell culture

Office Hours: By appointment


  • B.S., Shandong University, Chemical Engineering
  • M.S., Tianjin University, Biochemical Engineering
  • Ph.D., Ohio State University, Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering

Dr. Margaret Liu is an Associate Professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering. As PI or co-investigator on several NSF, NIH, DOE, and other federal grants, she has established (or is establishing) a number of projects including cellular therapy for cancer treatment and heart failure treatment, antibody-based biopharmaceuticals development, and biochemical/bioenergy research projects. Liu groups have developed a state of the art technology for the systems biology-based metabolic cell process engineering (MCPE). The application of this unique technology to the production of therapeutic cells, antibodies, and other bioproducts in stirred-tank bioreactors has been pioneering at several levels. These have included the development of a fundamental understanding of the intracellular metabolism by integrating the global protein expression and metabolite profiling, the rational metabolic engineering to construct a novel host cell, and the design of highly efficient, robust, and scalable biomanufacturing process following Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP). Dr. Liu’s lab mentors Ph.D. students, master's students, and undergraduate student researchers.

Dr. Liu worked in the biopharmaceutical and biotechnology industries for six and half years before joining academia. She was senior scientist and team leader of Life Technologies Corporation, and scientist at Lonza and Merck KGaA (EMD biopharmaceuticals). Dr. Liu has years of diverse industrial experiences in mammalian cell culture, biopharmaceuticals production cell line development, multi-Omics technologies, and therapeutic proteins (including both innovator biologics and biosimilars) production process development in Pharmaceutical and Biotech companies.

Dr. Liu accomplished her Ph.D. research under the instruction of Professor S.T. Yang in the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular at Ohio State University. Her Ph.D. thesis work dealt with bioprocessing of high value biochemical and biofuel products from by metabolic cell engineering of microorganism Clostrida and novel fermentation process development using a novel bioreactor production bioprocess.

Learn more about Dr. Liu's research in the "Research Interests" section below.

Download Curriculum Vitae (PDF)

Recent Courses

  • BME 490/590: Industrial Bioprocessing and Biomanufacturing
  • BME 690/790: Cellular Therapy
  • CHE 354: Chemical Reaction Engineering
  • CHE 551: Advanced Thermodynamics
  • CHE 492/592: Industrial Biotechnology and Biopharmaceutical
  • CHE 321: Basic Chemical Engineering Unit Operation Laboratory
  • CHE 304: Fluid Flow Operation

Research Interests

Biomedical Research: Novel targeting therapy development for cancer and heart failure treatment

One on-going project is to develop a cellular biomanufacturing platform to produce reliable and reproducible large quantities of human T cells (or CAR T cells) and engineer the T cells via understanding the intracellular metabolism using systems biology for immune cancer therapy. Collaborating with Surgery faculty, we also develop novel monoclonal antibody (mAb) for cancer treatment. Another project is to utilize advanced molecular biology and cell engineering techniques to develop stable cell lines expressing mitochondrial ChR2 and test the feasibility to precisely control mitochondria. Multiple human cancer cell lines are used to develop and evaluate the novel anti-cancer technology. In addition, my laboratory is also interested in developing and achieving a high-density and scalable cell culture process of undifferentiated iPSC cells as well as their differentiated progenies (such as cardiovascular cells) using stirred tank bioreactors for cellular therapy. In these projects, the unique systems biology-based metabolic cell-process engineering (MCPE) technology will be applied to understand and regulate cellular metabolism and identify key regulators of host cell and process.

Biopharmaceutical Research: Multi-Omics facilitated mammalian cell engineering for anti-cancer therapeutic protein development

The goal is to express and produce anti-cancer biopharmaceuticals and other therapeutic proteins with high quality, stability, and productivity by rational engineering of mammalian CHO. The multi-Omics technologies are used to develop an in-depth understanding of cellular metabolism and physiology by creating global protein map (proteomics) and generating metabolic profiling (metabolomics). Targeting regulation and synthetic biology are applied to rationally engineer host cells to improve protein quality and productivity based on the integrated systems biology. Protein productivity is improved by designing specific production process through medium development and production parameters optimization. Taken together, novel biopharmaceutical platform with short timeline and high production efficiency will be developed to assist therapeutic protein development and commercialization.

Biochemical and Bioenergy Research: High Production of biochemical and/or biofuel using clostridia facilitated with rational metabolic cell-process engineering

We target to improve the production of bioenergy and biochemicals from cellulose biomass and green gas using various Clostridial microorganisms. The novel metabolic engineering technology, multi-Omics guided metabolic cell-process engineering, is applied to investigate the intracellular metabolism and global host cell protein expression. The proteomics and metabolomics data are integrated to rationally design the metabolic engineering strategy at both cell and bioprocessing levels to produce the targeted biochemicals.

Select Publications

  • Xu, N., Liu, M., and Liu, X.M. Pharmacology, Pharmacokinetics, and Pharmacodynamics of Antibodies. Biosimilar. 2016. (Book chapter).
  • Xu, N., Ou, J., Gilani, A.K., Zhou, L., and Liu, X.M. High-Level Expression of Recombinant IgG1 by CHO K1 Platform. Frontiers of Chemical Science & Engineering. 9(3), 376-380. 2015.
  • Xu, N., Ma, C., Sun, W., Wu, Y., and Liu, X.M. Achievements and Perspectives in Host Cell Engineering. Pharmaceutical Bioprocessing. 3(4): 285-292. 2015.
  • Ma, C., Kojimab, K., Xu, N., Mobley, J., Zhou, L., Yang, S.T., and Liu, X.M. Comparative proteomics analysis of high n-butanol producing metabolically engineered Clostridium tyrobutyricum. Journal of Biotechnology. 193, 108-119. 2015
  • Sun, Y., Liu, N., Wang, Z., Liu X., and Yu, L. Characterization of novel mixed-mode protein adsorbents fabricated from benzoyl-modified polyethyleneimine-grafted Sepharose. CHROMA. Journal of Chromatography. 1372, 157-165. 2014.
  • Zhou, L., Xu, N., Sun. Y. and Liu, X.M. Cancer Treatment Using Targeted Biopharmaceuticals. Cancer Letters. 352, 145-151. 2014.
  • Liu, X. and Zhou, L. The Application of Omics in Targeted Anticancer Biopharmaceuticals Development. Austin Journal of Biomedical Engineering. 1(1), 8-15. 2014.
  • Liu, X., Yang, S.T., and Zhou, L. The Application of Omics in Pharmaceutical Bioprocessing. Journal of Biopharmaceuticals Bioprocessing. 2(1), 1-4. 2014.
  • Dempsey, J., Wu, F., Liu, X.M., Ravnikar, P., Donahue-Hjelle, L., and Gorfien, S. Methods for Impacting Cell Metabolism in Cell Culture Media. LTC Docket No. LT00421 PRO, Serial No. 61/613,448, filed on March 20, 2013.

Academic Distinctions and Professional Societies

  • Member of American Institute of Chemical Engineering, Member of American Chemistry Society
  • Reviewer of over 20 journals: Journal of Proteomics, Cancer Letters, Molecular Biotechnology, Metabolic Engineering, Bioprocess and Biosystems Engineering, Biotechnology and Bioengineering
  • AIChE: director/program chair of 15A (2014-2015); co-director of 15b (2014), director of new topical (2014-2016); chair of oral and poster sessions (2012-2016)
  • International Bioenergy workshop: chair of two sessions (2012)
  • Editorial board of: Austin Biomedical Engineering, J Biopharmaceutical Bioprocessing, J Biomedical Engineering and Bioinformatics, J Biosimilars, The Scientific Pages of Bioengineering
  • NSF BBBE Proposal Review Panel

Student Groups

  • BME Summer Scholars Program