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Revision as of 22:21, 16 July 2007 by Jliang (talk | contribs) (Research Interest)
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Joe C. Liang

Graduate Student at Smolke Lab

Department of Chemical Engineering, MC 210-41
California Institute of Technology
Pasadena, CA 91125-4100

jliang @ caltech . edu


Ph.D Student, Chemical Engineering, Caltech, 2006-present
B.S, Chemical Engineering with Emphasis in Applied Physical Science, UC Berkeley, 2006

Research Interest

RNA aptamers are known to discriminate molecules in a highly sensitive way. One classic example is that the theophylline aptamer does not respond to caffeine though there is mere difference of one methyl group in structure. This superior sensitivity of aptmaers distinguishing molecules is a nice characteristic to be incorporated in a synthetic biological regulartory network, which usually consists of many structurally similar metabolites. However, the application of using aptamers in a synthetic pathway has been severely limited by the ability to generate functional aptamers in vivoeffectivly. Traditional in vitro SELEX usually takes weeks in selection and characterizaion of aptamers and requires further screening for in vivo activities. In the Smolke lab, we have developed several portable, modular, and tunable engineered RNA-based switch platform that can adopt to different conformations upon binding of various molecular inputs and subsequently modulates the level of target gene expression. We can then use the existing sensor domain of these switch platforms developed from SELEX and implement it as a selection tool to screen library in order to generate aptamers for other strucually similar molecules. The eventual goal is to incorporate these platforms as part of the regulatory network in a syntheitc biological pathway and redirect molecular fluxes to accumulate medicinal valuable intermediates that are too costly to be synthesized chemically.


  1. Y-Junction Carbon Nanotube Implementation of Intramolecular Electronic NAND Gate

    Benjamin Gojman, Happy Hsin, Joe Liang, Natalia Nezhdanova, Jasmin Saini

  2. Evaluation of Two Computational Models Based on Different Effective Core Potentials for Use in Organocesium Chemistry

    Streitwieser, A.; Liang, J. C.-Y.; Jayasree, E. G.; Hasanayn, F. J. Chem. Theory and Comput.; (Article); 2007; 3(1); 127-131


Honors and Awards