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Haijun Liu, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor

Courses Taught

General chemistry; Biochemistry; Protein Chemistry; Biochemistry lab; Current Approaches in Plant Research-protein structural mass spectrometry (module)


Ph.D., Biochemistry, Dept. of Biological Sciences, Louisiana State University, 2008 

M.S., Plant Biology, Dept. of Biology, Sichuan University, 1996 

B.A., (graduated with honors) Biology, Dept. of Biology, Hebei Normal University, 1993

Research Interests

Liu lab research seeks to broadly understand the structure and dynamics of biological macromolecules that dictate the solar energy capture and transformation. This area of research spans a range of topics and is well represented in the modern biophysics’ themes that interface with informational quantification/digitization era. Current areas of research include how membrane bound protein complexes that are involved in energy capture and transduction interact to carry out their chemical reactions, and how the membrane protein complexes change conformation to generate structural queue in synergy with other protein complexes in a larger scale energy flow pathway. By using state-of-the-art mass spectrometers coupled with in-depth biochemical/gene engineering technologies, we take a systematic approach to study photosynthetic reaction centers (RCs) dynamics upon changing environmental schemes, such as light and temperature. We strive to translate our structural findings into light/environmental adaptation context.

Labs and Facilities

Lab website:

Publications and Media Placements

Lin, Y., Moyle, AB., Beaumont, VA., Liu, LL., Polleck, S., Liu, H., Shi, H., Rouse, JC., Kim, HY., Zhang, Y., Gross, ML. (2023) Characterization of Higher Order Structural Changes of a Thermally Stressed Monoclonal Antibody via Mass Spectrometry Footprinting and Other Biophysical Approaches Analytical Chemistry 95, 46, 16840-16849

Niedzwiedzki, M.D., Magdaong, N.C.M., Su, X*, Adir, N., Keren, N., Liu, H. (2023) Mass spectrometry and spectroscopy characterization of a tetrameric photosystem I supercomplex from Leptolyngbya ohadii, a desiccation-tolerant cyanobacterium Biochim Biophys Acta (Bioenergetics) 1864 (2), 148955 * Undergraduate researcher 

Liu, H. (2023) Intramolecular allostery in cyanobacterial phycobilisome as revealed by quantitative mass spectrometry Biochemistry 62, 7, 1307-1320

Mummadisetti, M., Su, L*., Liu, H. (2023) An approach to nearest neighbor analysis of pigment-protein complexes using chemical cross-linking in combination with mass spectrometry Methods in Enzymology 680, 139-162* Undergraduate researcher

Puskar, R Truong, C.D., Swain, K., Chowdhury, S., Chan, K-Y., Li, S., Cheng, K-W., Wang, T.Y., Poh, Y-P., Mazor, Y., Liu, H., Chou, T-F., Nannenga, B.L., Chiu, P-L (2022) Molecular asymmetry of a photosynthetic supercomplex from green sulfur bacteria Nature Communications 13 (1), 5824

Liu, H. (2022) AlphaFold and structural mass spectrometry enable interrogations on the intrinsically disordered regions in cyanobacterial light-harvesting complex phycobilisome J Mol Biol. 434(21):167831. doi: 10.1016/j.jmb.2022.167831.

Niedzwiedzki, M.D., Magdaong, N.C.M., Su, X*, Liu, H. (2022) Biochemical and spectroscopic characterizations of the oligomeric antenna of the coral symbiotic Symbiodiniaceae Fugacium kawagutii Photosynthesis Res doi: 10.1007/s11120-022-00951-6 * Undergraduate researcher

Johnson, V.M., Biswas, S., Roose, J.L., Pakrasi, H.B., and Liu, H. (2022) Psb27, a photosystem II assembly protein, enables quenching of excess light energy during its participation in the PSII lifecycle. Photosynth Res Jan 5th doi: 10.1007/s11120-021-00895-3.

Magdaong, N.C.M., Buhrmaster, J.C., Faries, K.M., Liu, H., Tira, G.A., Lindsey, J.S., Hanson, D.K., Holten, D.J., Laible, P.D., and Kirmaier, C. (2021) In Situ, protein-mediated generation of a photochemically active chlorophyll analogue in a mutant bacterial photosynthetic reaction center. Biochemistry 60 (16):1260:1275

Liu, H., Zhang, M.M., Weisz, D.A., Cheng, M., Pakrasi, H.B., Blankenship, R.E. (2021) Structure of Cyanobacterial Phycobilisome Core Structure by Structural Modeling and Chemical Cross-linking. Sci Adv. 7 (2), eaba5743

Sonani, R.R., Roszak, A.W., Liu, H., Gross, M.L., Blankenship, R.E., Madamwar, D., and Cogdell, R.J. (2020) Revisiting high-resolution crystal structure of Phomidium rubidum phycocyanin. Photosynthesis Res 144, 349-360 

*Lou, W., *Niedzwiedzki, M.D, Blankenship, R.E., and Liu, H. (2020) Binding of red form of Orange Carotenoid Protein (OCP) to phycobilisome is not sufficient for quenching. Biochim Biophys Acta (Bioenergetics). 1861(3):148155 * these authors contribute equally

Honors and Awards

  • Research Paper Award, 2013, Rebeiz Foundation for Basic Research, dedicated to promoting fundamental research nationally and internationally
  • Phi Kappa Phi, 2003, Chapter 10, NDSU
  • Excellent Young Lecturer with teaching aptitude (Bronze medal), 1998, Hebei Normal University
  • Guanghua Prize (Excellent Graduate Scholarship), 1994, Sichuan University
  • Graduate with honor, 1993, Hebei Normal University