Department of Chemistry



Xinyu Liu

Assistant Professor



Chevron Science Center, 219 Parkman Avenue

Pittsburgh, PA 15260

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Research Overview

Total and Combinatorial (Bio)Synthesis of Natural Product, Novel Synthetic Method and Platform Development, Carbohydrate Chemistry, Glycobiology, Drug Discovery, Biomaterial, Synthetic Biology

We are a research group that consists of a mixture of synthetic chemists, natural product isolation specialists, biochemists and microbiologists.  We are interested in the discovery and functional study of broadly defined natural products using synthetic chemical, biological and genomics-guided approaches. The natural products of our current focus belong to the famly of oligosaccharids and small molecular secondary metabolites of microbial origins that exhibit broad functional roles in mamalian am=nd microbial physiology. These molecules serve as the catalyst to drive the discovery cycle between chemistry, biology and medicine in our laboratory. Projects that we are actively pursuing in the lab include: 1) synthetis carbohydrate chemistry concerns new synthetic methods development and total synthesis of biologically relevant oligosaccharides, 2) study of functional significanceof glycosylation in bacterial infection and cancer pathogenesis, 3) genomics-guided discovery of natural products, particularly thos with antibiotic activities and thos e with functional roles in bacterial physiology, 4) novel enzymatic transformations associated with complex natural product biosynthesis.


  • 2012 Competitive Medical Research Award UPMC

  • 2012 Samuel and Emma Winters Foundation Biomedical Research Award

  • 2012 American Society of Pharmacognosy Travel  Award

  • 2008–2010 Ernst Schering Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship, Germany

  • 2008 ETH Silver Medal, Switzerland

  • 2007 Swiss National Science Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship

  • 2007 Roche Excellence Award, F. Hoffmann-La Roche Ltd, Switzerland

  • 2007 Chinese Government Award

  • 2005 [i]lab Award, Sanofi-Aventis, Gemany

  • 2000 Bosworth Prize in Physical Chemistry, UNSW, Australia

  • 1999–2002 BetterHome Association Scholarship, Osaka, Japan 

  • 1998–2002 Iwakuni Foundation Scholarship, Tokyo, Japan

  • 1998 Academic Excellence Scholarship, Ministry of Education, Japan


“Serratamolide is a Hemolytic Factor Produced by Serratia marcescens,” Robert M. Q. Shanks, Nicholas A. Stella, Roni Lahr, Shaoru Wang, Tara I. Veverka, Regis P. Kowalski and Xinyu Liu PLoS One 2012, 7, e36398. PMID: 22615766
“Chemical Biology of Glycosylphosphatidylinositol Anchors,” Yu-Hsuan Tsai, Xinyu Liu and Peter H. Seeberger Chem. In. Ed. 2012, 51, 11438-11456
“Insulin-mimetic Activity of Synthetic Inositol Phosphoglycans,” Marie-Lyn Hecht, Yu-Hsuan Tsai, Xinyu Liu, Christian Wolfrum and Peter H. Seeberger ACS Chem. Biol. 2010, 5, 1075-1086
“Synthetic glycosylphosphatidylinositol microarray reveals differential antibody levels and fine specificities in children with mild and severe malaria,” Marco Tamborrini, Xinyu Liu, Joseph Paschal Mugasa, Yong-Uk Kwon, Faustin Kamena, Peter H. Seeberger and Gerd Pluschke Bioorganic & Medicinal Chemistry 2010, 18, 3747-3752
“Facile Synthesis of Size Dependent Ru(II)-Carbohydrate Dendrimers via Click Chemistry,” Raghavendra Kikkeri, Xinyu Liu, Alexander Adibekian, Yu-Hsuan Tsai and Peter H. Seeberger Chem. Comm. 2010, DOI:10.1039/b925113h
“Andrimid Producers Encode and Acetyl-CoA Carboxyltransferase Subunit Resistant to the Action of the Antibiotic,” Xinyu Liu, Pascal D. Fortin and Christopher T. Walsh Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. 2008, 105, 13321-13326
“Synthetic GPI-Array to Study Anti-toxic Malaria,” Faustin Kamena, Marco Tamborrini, Xinyu Liu, Yong-Uk Kwon, Gerd Pluschke, Fiona Thompson and Peter H. Seeberger Nature Chem. Biol. 2008, 4, 238-240
“Semisynthesis of a Glycosylphosphatidylinositol-Anchored Prion,” Christian F. W. Becker, Xinyu Liu, Diana Olschewski, Riccardo Castelli, Ralf Seidel and Peter H. Seeberger Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2008, 47, 8215–8219
“Chemical Synthesis of All Phosphatidylinositol Mannoside (PIM) Glycans from Mycobacterium tuberculosis,” Siwarutt Boonyaranattakalin, Xinyu Liu, Mario Michieletti, Bernd Lepenies and Peter H. Seeberger J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2008, 130, 16791-16799
“Automated Synthesis of Lipomannan Backbone a(1-6) Oligomannoside via,” Xinyu Liu, Reiko Wada, Siwarutt Boonyaranattakalin, Bastien Castagner and Peter H. Seeberger Chem. Comm. 2008, 3510–3512
“Enhancement of the Immunogenicity of Synthetic Carbohydrates by Conjugation to Virosomes: A Leishmaniasis Vaccine Candidate,” Xinyu Liu, Sibylle Siegrist, Mario Amacker, Rinaldo Zurbriggen, Gerd Pluschke and Peter H. Seeberger ACS Chem. Biol. 2006, 1, 161–164
“Total Synthesis of Phosphatidylinositol Mannosides of Mycobacterium tuberculosis,” Xinyu Liu, Bridget L. Stocker and Peter H. Seeberger J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2006, 128, 3638–3648
“Convergent Synthesis of a Fully Lipidated Glycosylphosphatidylinositol Anchor of Plasmodium falciparum,” Xinyu Liu, Yong-Uk Kwon and Peter H. Seeberger J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2005, 127, 5005–5006
“A Facile Stereocontrolled Approach to CF3-substituted Triarylethenes: Synthesis of Panomifene,” Xinyu Liu, Masaki Shimizu and Tamejiro Hiyama Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2004, 43, 879–882