Dr. Jun F. (James) Liang

School: Schaefer School of Engineering & Science
Department: Chemistry and Chemical Biology
Building: McLean Science Building
Room: Room 518
Phone: 201.216.5640
Fax: 201.216.8240
  • Postdoctoral Training. School of Pharmacy, The University of Michigan
  • Postdoctoral Training. School of Engineering, Tokyo Institute of Technology
  • Ph.D. Institute of Molecular Biology, Nankai University 

 Laboratory of Pharmaceutical Chemistry and Engineering

A)  Bacteria Responsive Materials for Bio-Fouling and Medical Device Infections. Any solid-liquid interfaces provide the environment for microorganism attachment and growth to cause bio-fouling. Bio-fouling occurs on a wide variety of surfaces, including industrial or potable water system piping, natural moist surfaces (bottom of boats and docks), living tissues (oral cavity), and biomedical devices, and is a growing global problem. Bio-fouling in industrial water-based process accounts for billions of dollars lost each year. In addition, as the wide use of biomedical devices and implants, indwelling device infections represent life-threatening circumstances account for the majority (> 80%) of hospital acquired infections. Because of the involvement of resistant mutants and biofilms, classical antibiotics are not effective. Current antibiotic impregnation is not an ideal approach which has many unsolved problems including short life-span, narrowed antibacterial spectrum, ineffectiveness towards resistant mutants, and the potential to hasten the antibiotic resistance process. We are working on polymeric antibacterial designed specifically for implants associated infections. Surfaces constructed from polymeric antibacterial can sense bacteria attachment and kill bacteria by inducing autolysis. Biomedical (catheters, stents, orthopedic and dental implants, wound dressing, and antibacterial textiles/) and wide industrial applications of new antibacterial materials (metals and various polymers) are being explored.

B) Therapeutic Peptides. As biologically active molecule sand therapeutics, peptides have some many unique and unbeatable features in comparison with proteins. Bioactive peptides regulate many physiological processes, acting at some sites as endocrine or paracrine signals and at others as neurotransmitters or growth factors, and have positive impacts on human health, including antimicrobial, antifungal, antiviral, and antitumor activities. Over the last decade, there has been a rapid expansion in the study on peptides, and this is likely to continue. We are interested in new peptide design and delivery technology aiming at developing new therapeutic peptides for wide pharmaceutical applications. The two focuses of our current peptide project are: 1)Long life-span therapeutic peptides. All therapeutic peptides are sensitive to proteases and thus have very short life-span in the circulation which is usually insufficient for peptides to be fully exposed to the target tissue. Approaches such as amino acid replacement, polymer conjugation, and microparticulate encapsulation have been tried. Unfortunately, D-amino acid replacement and polymer conjugation may be associated with dramatic peptide activity drop while microparticulate encapsulations are accompanied by increased peptide retention in reticuloendothelial system (RES) to yield undesired toxicity to specific tissues and organs such as spleens and livers. We pioneered in utilizing self-assembly in peptides design and have successfully developed therapeutic peptides with greatly improved life-span; 2) Cell specific and permeable peptides. Due to the hydrophilicity nature and lack of defined structures, short peptides have no or extremely low cell targeting ability and cell permeability. Current conjugation approaches aiming at the poor cell selectivity and permeability will have dramatically and unavoidable effects on the biological activity of peptides. We have developed a single amino acid modification/mutation approach which can improve for selectivity or permeability of short therapeutic peptides with affecting their biological activities. 

C)  Nano-Technology Enabled Bacteria and Cancer Cell Sensing. Recently, we are working on a nano-patterning technology which can be used in biosensor and other analytic devices in combination with specific molecules (peptides and signaling massagers) for high sensitivity molecular and cell (bacteria and tumor) sensing. Meanwhile, a novel nano-crystalization technology with targeting and controlled release properties is being studied for drugs (anticancer drugs, antibiotics) with poor solubility and limited therapeutic effectiveness.


Recent Publications (2018-present)

Chang TL, Sun PK, Zhou X, Besser RS, Liang J., Preparation and electrochemical performances of silver (alloy) nanoparticles decorated on reduced graphene oxide, using self-polymerization of dopamine in an acidic environment. Materials Today Chemistry, 2020 (https://doi.org/10.1016/j.mtchem.2020.100312)

Zhou X, Hou C, Chang TL, Zhang Q, Liang JF. Controlled released of drug from doubled-walled PVA hydrogel/PCL microspheres prepared by single needle electrospraying method, Colloids and Surfaces B, 2020 (https://doi.org/10.1016/j.colsurfb.2019.110645)

Xu J, Zhao H, Xie Z, Ruppel S, Zhou X, Chen S, Liang JF, Wang X. Antimicrobial Surfaces: Stereochemical Strategy Advances Microbially Anti-adhesive Cotton Textile in Safeguarding Skin Flora (Cover Story). Adv Healthcare Mater. 2019, Aug;8(15):e1900232

Yang F, Chang T, Liu T, Wu D, Du H, Liang JF, Tian F., Staphylococcus aureus bacteria using long-period fiber gratings with functional polyelectrolyte coatings. Biosensors and Bioelectronics, 2019, 133:147-153

Liu T., Yang F, Wang X., Liang JF, Adhesive Gold Nanoparticles for Easy and Controlled Surfaces Coating. Langmuir, 2019, 35 (7):2728–2737

Zhou X, Chang TL, Chen S, Liu T, Wang H, Liang JF., Polydopamine-Decorated Orlistat-Loaded Hollow Capsules with an Enhanced Cytotoxicity against Cancer Cell Lines. Mol Pharm. 2019,16(6):2511-2521

Zhou X, Li Y, Chen S, Fu YN, Wang S, Li G, Tao L, Wei Y, Wang X, Liang JF., Dynamic agent of an injectable and self-healing drug-loaded hydrogel for embolization therapy. Colloids Surf B Biointerfaces. 2018,172:601-607

Chang TL., Zhou X, Liang JF., Synthesis and characterization of Ag-Cu alloy nanoparticles for antimicrobial applications: A polydopamine chemistry application. Mat. Sci. Eng. C, 2018, 98: 675-684.

Chang TL, Liu T, Liang JF., The dataset of scanning electron microscope images of silver nanoparticles formed in situ by dopamine chemistry. Data Brief. 2018, 20:1090-1092.

Chen TP, Liang J, Su TL., Plasma-activated water: antibacterial activity and artifacts? Environ Sci Pollut Res Int. 2018, 25(27):26699-26706

Liang Y, Xu C, Li G, Liu T, Liang JF, Wang X., Graphene-kaolin composite sponge for rapid and riskless hemostasis. Colloids Surf B Biointerfaces. 2018, 169:168-175

Liu T, Liang JF. Nano-Structured Surfaces from High-Density Grafted Poly(Acrylic Acid) with Liquid-Like Property. Reactive and Functional Polymers. 2018. 127, 123-128

Beta-cyclodextrin guest binding constants. J.Photochem Photobiob Zhou X, Liang JF., A fluorescence spectroscopy approach for fast determination of   A: Chemistry, 2018,350:23-29

Chang T.-L., Yu X., Liang J.F., Polydopamine-enabled surface coating with nano-metals, Surface and Coatings Technology, 2018, 337:389-395

Graduate and undergraduate student positions are available in our lab. Motivated students who are interested in our above research projects are encouraged to apply. Special consideration will be given to students with majors in Chemistry, Biology, and Bioengineering. 


  • Professor, Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology, Stevens Institute of Technology, Hoboken, 2014-present
  • Associate Professor (Tenured), Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology,  Stevens Institute of Technology, Hoboken, 2008-2013
  • Associate Professor (Tenure Track), Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology, Stevens Institute of Technology, Hoboken, 2003-2017
  • Assistant Research Professor, Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, 2000-2002
  • Associate Professor, School of Life Sciences, Tsinghua University, Beijing, 1996-1999
  • Lecturer, School of Life Sciences, Tsinghua University, Beijing, 1993-1995
Professional Societies
  • Fellow, Institution of Engineering and Technology, 2017
  • Review and Foundation Panels:  NIH-NIAID, NIH-NCI, NIH-NIBIB, NSF-NIRT, NSF-KOSEF, DOD-CDMRP, Susan G Komen Breast Cancer Research,  Canadian Cancer Society, Italian Ministry of Health
  • NANO 600 Nanoscale Science and Technology
  • CH 610 Advanced Inorganic and Bioinorganic Chemistry
  • CH 674 Polymer Functionality
  • CH 497 Chemistry Project II
  • CH 499 Chemical Research II