David Ruchien Liu (劉如謙)(born June 12, 1973) is an American chemist and biochemist, best known for his work on the directed evolution of biological and synthetic molecules and as a founder of biotechnology companies.
Liu's research group developed DNA-templated organic synthesis (DTS), a technique to translate DNA sequences into synthetic small molecules, rather than proteins, and applied DTS to the discovery of bioactive small molecules and new chemical reactions.
David Liu integrates chemistry and evolution to advance our understanding of biology and to enable new therapeutics. His research team’s work includes: the engineering and delivery of genome editing proteins, such as base editors, to study and treat genetic diseases; the use of phage-assisted continuous evolution (PACE) for proteins with novel therapeutic potential; and the use of DNA-templated organic synthesis to discover bioactive synthetic small molecules and synthetic polymers. These technologies – base editing, PACE, and DNA-templated synthesis – were pioneered in Liu’s laboratory.
Life Science professor David R. Liu began counting cards in high school from 1994 and soon mastered the game of blackjack. By keeping running indexes of revealed cards in his head, Liu gains a long-term mathematical advantage over the house. And by greatly increasing his chances of winning, Liu has aroused the ire of some powerful casino bosses. He was barred from playing at a well-known Las Vegas casino.