Liu Kai, Shenzhen Institute of Advanced Technology, Chinese Academy of Sciences


Address: 1068 Xueyuan Avenue, Shenzhen University Town, Shenzhen, P.R.China

Postal Code: 518055

Research Areas

The design and development of life-like assembly systems and their applications in biomedicine, smart materials, catalysis and other fields.


2012-09--2017-07 Institute of Process Engineering, Chinese Academy of Sciences,PhD 

2008-09--2012-07 Yanshan University, Bachelor


Work Experience

2023-05-- present, Shenzhen Institute of Advanced Technology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Professor

2018-06--2023-02, University of Groningen, Postdoctoral Fellow


40. Liu K., Blokhuis A. W. P., Ewijk C., Kiani A., Wu J., Roos W. H., Otto S. Light-Driven Ecological-Evolutionary Dynamics in a Synthetic Replicator System2024, Nat. Chem. 16, 79-88.

39. Liu K., Blokhuis A.W. P., Dijt S.J., Hamed S., Kiani A., Matysiak B.M., Otto SSystems Chemistry across Multiple Length Scales: Macroscopic Flow via Dissipative Co-Assemblies Featuring Transient Amides. 2022, DOI: 10.26434/chemrxiv-2022-msgf8.

38. Liu K., Ottelé J., Otto S., Emergent catalysis by self-replicating molecule. Supramolecular catalysis: new directions and developments, Wiley-VCH, Weinheim, 2022, 605-612. 

37. Liu B., Wu J., Geerts M., Markovitch O., Pappas C.G., Liu K., Otto S. Out-of-Equilibrium Self-Replication Allows Selection for Dynamic Kinetic Stability in a System of Competing ReplicatorsAngew. Chem. Int. Ed.2022, 61, e202117605.

36. Zhang H., Liu K., Gong Y., Zhu W., Zhu J., Pan F., Chao Y., Xiao Z., Liu Y., Wang X., Liu Z., Yang Y., Chen Q. Vitamin C supramolecular hydrogel for enhanced cancer immunotherapyBiomaterials, 2022, 121673.

35. Liu B., Beatty M. A., Pappas C. G., Liu K., Ottelé J., Otto SSelf-Sorting in Dynamic Combinatorial Libraries Leads to the Co-Existence of Foldamers and Self-ReplicatorsAngew. Chem. Int. Ed., 2021, 60, 13569-13573.

34. Yang S., Schaeffer G., Mattia E., Markovitch O., Liu K., Hussain A. S., Ottelé J., Sood A., Otto SChemical Fueling Enables Molecular Complexification of Self-ReplicatorsAngew. Chem. Int. Ed., 2021, 60, 11344-11349.

33. Liu K., Otto S., Dynamic combinatorial chemistry out of equilibrium. Outofequilibrium (supra) molecular systems and materials, Wiley-VCH, Weinheim, 2021, 215-239.

32. Santiago G. M.,  Liu K., Browne W. R., Otto S. Emergence of light-driven protometabolism on recruitment of a photocatalytic cofactor by a self-replicatorNat. Chem., 2020, 12, 603-607.

31. Pappas C. G., Mandal P. K., Liu B., Kauffmann B., Miao X., Komáromy D., Hoffmann W., Manz C., Chang R., Liu K., Pagel K., Huc I., Otto S. Emergence of low-symmetry foldamers from single monomersNat. Chem., 2020, 12, 1180-1186.

30. Han J.,# Liu K.,# Chang R., Zhao L., Yan X. Photooxidase-Mimicking Nanovesicles with Superior Photocatalytic Activity and Stability Based on Amphiphilic Amino Acid and Phthalocyanine Co-AssemblyAngew. Chem. Int. Ed., 2019, 58, 2000-2004. (#equal contribution)

29. Liu K., Ren X., Sun J., Zou Q., Yan X. Primitive Photosynthetic Architectures Based on Self-Organization and Chemical Evolution of Amino Acids and Metal IonsAdv. Sci., 2018, 5, 1701001.

28. Xie Z.,# Liu K.,# Ren X., Zhang H., Xin X., Zou Q., Yan X. Amino-Acid-Mediated Biomimetic Formation of Light-Harvesting Antenna Capable of Hydrogen EvolutionACS Appl. Bio Mater., 2018, 1, 748-755. (#equal contribution)

27. Zhang H., Liu K., Li S., Xin X., Yuan S., Ma G., Yan X. Self-Assembled Minimalist Multifunctional Theranostic Nanoplatform for Magnetic Resonance Imaging-Guided Tumor Photodynamic TherapyACS nano 2018, 12, 8266-8276.

26. Bian K., Zhang X., Liu K., Yin T., Liu H., Niu K., Cao W., Gao D. Peptide-Directed Hierarchical Mineralized Silver Nanocages for Anti-Tumor Photothermal TherapyACS Sustain. Chem. Eng., 2018, 6, 7574-7588.

25. Liu K., Zhang H., Xing R., Zou Q., Yan X. Biomimetic Oxygen-Evolving Photobacteria Based on Amino Acid and Porphyrin Hierarchical Self-OrganizationACS nano 2017, 11, 12840-12848.

24. Liu K., Yuan C., Zou Q., Xie Z., Yan X. Self-Assembled Zinc/Cystine-Based Chloroplast Mimics Capable of Photoenzymatic Reactions for Sustainable Fuel SynthesisAngew. Chem. Int. Ed., 2017, 56, 7876-7880.

23. Liu K., Abass M., Zou Q., Yan X. Self-assembly of biomimetic light-harvesting complexes capable of hydrogen evolutionGreen Energy Environ. 2017, 2, 58-63.

22. Liu K., Zhang R., Li Y., Jiao T., Ding D., Yan X. Tunable Aggregation-Induced Emission of Tetraphenylethylene via Short Peptide-Directed Self-AssemblyAdv. Mater. Interfaces2017, 4, 1600183.

21. Sun J., Yendluri R., Liu K., Guo Y., Lvov Y., Yan X. Enzyme-immobilized clay nanotube–chitosan membranes with sustainable biocatalytic activitiesPhys. Chem. Chem. Phys., 2017, 19, 562-567.

20. Zou Q., Liu K., Abbas M., Yan X., Peptide-based supramolecular chemistry. Supramolecular chemistry of biomimetic systems, Springer, Singapore, 2017, 135-163.

19. Liu K., Xing R., Li Y., Zou Q., Möhwald H., Yan X. Mimicking Primitive Photobacteria: Sustainable Hydrogen Evolution Based on Peptide–Porphyrin Co-Assemblies with a Self-Mineralized Reaction CenterAngew. Chem. Int. Ed., 2016, 55 ,12503-12507.

18. Liu K.,Xing R.,# Zou Q., Ma G., Möhwald H., Yan X. Simple Peptide-Tuned Self-Assembly of Photosensitizers towards Anticancer Photodynamic TherapyAngew. Chem. Int. Ed., 2016, 55, 3036-3039. (# equal contribution)

17. Xing R.,# Liu K.,# Jiao T., Zhang N., Ma K., Zhang R., Zou Q., Ma G., Yan X. An Injectable Self-Assembling Collagen–Gold Hybrid Hydrogel for Combinatorial Antitumor Photothermal/Photodynamic TherapyAdv. Mater.2016, 28, 3669-3676. (# equal contribution)

16. Wang J.,# Liu K.,# Yan L., Wang A., Bai S., Yan X. Trace Solvent as a Predominant Factor To Tune Dipeptide Self-AssemblyACS nano, 2016, 10, 2138-2143. (# equal contribution)

15. Liu K., Kang Y, Ma G, Möhwald H, Yan XMolecular and mesoscale mechanism for hierarchical self-assembly of dipeptide and porphyrin light-harvesting systemPhys. Chem. Chem. Phys., 2016,18, 16738-16747.

14. Liu K., Miao S., Su Z., Sun L., Ma G., Zhang S. Castor oil-based waterborne polyurethanes with tunable properties and excellent biocompatibility. Eur. J. Lipid Sci. Technol., 2016, 118, 1512-1520.

13. Liu K., Su Z., Miao S., Ma G., Zhang S. UV-curable enzymatic antibacterial waterborne polyurethane coating. Biochem. Eng. J., 2016, 113, 107-113.

12. Liu K., Su Z., Miao S., Ma G., Zhang S. Enzymatic waterborne polyurethane towards a robust and environmentally friendly anti-biofouling coatingRSC Adv.2016, 6, 31698-31704.

11. Wang J., Liu K., Xing R., Yan X. Peptide self-assembly: thermodynamics and kineticsChem. Soc. Rev., 2016, 45, 5589-5604.

10. Zou Q., Liu K., Abbas M., Yan X. Peptide-Modulated Self-Assembly of Chromophores toward Biomimetic Light-Harvesting NanoarchitectonicsAdv. Mater., 2016, 28, 1031-1043.

9. Chen C., Li S., Liu K., Ma G., Yan X. Co-Assembly of Heparin and Polypeptide Hybrid Nanoparticles for Biomimetic Delivery and Anti-Thrombus TherapySmall2016, 12, 4719-4725.

8. Li Y., Yan L., Liu K., Wang J., Wang A., Bai S., Yan X. Solvothermally Mediated Self-Assembly of Ultralong Peptide Nanobelts Capable of Optical WaveguidingSmall, 2016, 12, 2575-2579.

7. Wang J., Shen G., Ma K., Jiao T., Liu K., Yan X. Dipeptide concave nanospheres based on interfacially controlled self-assembly: from crescent to solidPhys. Chem. Chem. Phys., 2016, 18, 30926-30930.

6. Liu K.,# Xing R.,# Chen C., Shen G., Yan L., Zou Q., Ma G., Möhwald H., Yan X. Peptide-Induced Hierarchical Long-Range Order and Photocatalytic Activity of Porphyrin AssembliesAngew. Chem. Int. Ed., 2015, 54, 500-505. (# equal contribution)

5. Liu K., Zhang S., Su Z., Ma G. Preparation and Characterization of Castor Oil-Based Cationic Waterborne PolyurethaneAdvanced Materials Research, 2015, 1090, 3-7.

4. Chen C., Liu K., Li J., Yan X. Functional architectures based on self-assembly of bio-inspired dipeptides: Structure modulation and its photoelectronic applicationsAdv. Colloid Interface Sci.2015, 225, 177-193.

3. Miao S., Liu K., Wang P., Su Z., Zhang S. Preparation and characterization of epoxidized soybean oil-based paper composite as potential water-resistant materialsJ. Appl. Polym. Sci., 2015, 132.

2. Liu K., Gao D., Liu Z., Li N., Bian Y., Zheng R., Zhang X. Screening of lactic acid bacteria with high activities malolactic enzyme and analysis of indigenous flora in red wineJ. Chem. Pharm. Res.2014, 6, 136-144.

1. Wang L.,# Liu K.,# Gao D, Hao J. Protective effects of two Lactobacillus plantarum strains in hyperlipidemic miceWorld J. Gastroenterol., 2013, 19, 3150-3156. (# equal contribution)

Research Interests

1. Self-assembly of biomolecules 

2. Smart medicine and precision therapy

3. Non-equilibrium active materials


1. Evolutionary Dynamics of Macrocyclic Self-Replicators   2022-05-26
2. Ecological-Evolutionary Dynamics of Synthetic Replicators   2020-12-08
3. Photocatalytically Enhanced Self-Replication of Peptides   2019-04-22

Honors & Distinctions

2019 Marie Skłodowska Individual Fellowship 
2018 Life Sciences-Simons Collaboration on the Origins of Life Fellowship