Hongyan Liu, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor  
Medical College of Georgia
Augusta University, Augusta, GA



Ph.D., Immunology, 
Jilin University  China
MS., Biochemistry, 
Jilin University  China
B.S., Biochemistry,
Jilin University  China




9/1/2010 - 8/31/2013 Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Awards (NRSA) F32


Research Interests



The goals of our research are to develop nucleic acid-based aptamer/siRNA therapeutics for cancer targeted treatment, and to develop new nanomaterials and methodologies for probing disease markers at single-cell and single-molecule levels.

SiRNA-based gene therapy has great potential to silence any disease genes. To achieve the clinical application, we will build a variety of siRNA carriers including aptamer, proteins and nanoparticles.  Aptamers can bind various targets but have less immunogenicity than antibodies. We have developed new platform technologies for co-delivery of two or multiple siRNAs with bivalent aptamers and forming bispecific molecules with aptamers. The current work focus on the synthesis of protein-based vectors for siRNA delivery, construction of multifunctional aptamer-siRNA chimeras for cancer treatment.

Quantum dots (QDs), light-emitting nanocrystals, possess unique properties such as size-tunable emission, super brightness, and photo-stable. We are developing new QD probes and the methodologies for biomarker profiling and quantitation.



Research Projects

Department of Defense

Prostate Cancer Research Program (PCRP) Idea Development Award

W81XWH-15-1-0333 8/15/2015 - 8/14/2018 Role: PI


  • Liu, HY. Bivalent aptamer-dual siRNA chimera is emerging as a new combination therapy. RNA Dis 2017; 4: e1534. doi: 10.14800/rd.1534. (Review). Corresponding author.
  • Zheng J, Zhao S, Yu X, Huang S, Liu HY. Simultaneous targeting of CD44 and EpCAM with a bispecific aptamer effectively inhibits intraperitoneal ovarian cancer growth. Theranostics 2017; 7(5):1373-1388.doi:10.7150/thno.17826. Impact factor 8.721. Corresponding author.
  • Liu, HY*. et al. Co-targeting EGFR and surviving with a bivalent aptamer-dual siRNA chimera effectively suppresses prostate cancer. Sci. Rep. 6, 30346; doi: 10.1038/srep30346 (2016).  * First and corresponding author.  
  • Liu HY, Zrazhevskiy P, Gao X. Solid-Phase Bioconjugation of Heterobifunctional Adaptors for Versatile Assembly of Bispecific Targeting Ligands. Bioconjug Chem.25(8),1511-6 (2014)
  • Liu,HY. & Gao, X. A Universal Protein Tag for  SiRNA-Aptamer Chimeras. Sci. Rep.3,3129; DOI:10.1038/srep03129 (2013).
  • Liu, HY. and  X. Gao "Engineering monovalent quantumdot-antibody bioconjugates with a hybrid gel system." Bioconjug Chem.22(3): 510-7 (2011) 
  • Vu TQ, Liu HY. Quantum dot hybrid gel blotting: a technique for identifying quantumdot-protein/protein-protein interactions. Methods Mol Biol.  544:381-91 (2009)
  • Scholl B, Liu HY, Long BR, McCarty OJ, O'Hare T,Druker BJ, Vu TQ. Single particle quantum dot imaging achieves ultrasensitivedetection capabilities for Western immunoblot analysis. ACS Nano.  23; 3(6): 1318-28 (2009)
  • Rajan SS, Liu HY, and Vu TQ Ligand-Bound Quantum Dot Probes for Studying theMolecular Scale Dynamics of Receptor Endocytic Trafficking in Live Cells. ACS Nano.2(6), 1153–1166 (2008)
  • Liu HY and Vu TQ. Identification of QuantumDot Bioconjugates and Cellular Protein Co-localization by Hybrid Gel Blotting. Nano Letters. 7(4): 1044-9 (2007)
  • Vu TQ, RajanSS, Liu HY. Ligand Bound Quantum Dots for Intracellular Imaging ofNeural Receptors. Proc.of SPIE.Vol.6448, 644813 (2007)
  • Liu HY, Zheng G, Zhu H, Woldegiorgis G. Hormonal andnutritional regulation of musclecarnitine palmitoyltransferase I geneexpression in vivo. Arch Biochem Biophys. 465(2):437-42 (2007)
  • Pejovic T, Yates JE, Liu HY, Hays LE, Akkari Y, Torimaru Y,Keeble W, Rathbun RK, Rodgers WH, Bale AE, Ameziane N, Zwaan CM, Errami A,Thullier P, Cappuccini F, Olson SB, Cain JM, Bagby GC Jr. Cytogeneticinstability in ovarian epithelial cells from women at risk of ovarian cancer. Cancer Res. 66 (18):9017-25 (2006)
  • Liu HY., Zheng G, Dai J, Woldegiorgis G.Cysteine-scanning mutagenesis of muscle carnitine palmitoyltransferase I reveals a single cysteine residue (Cys-305) is important for catalysis. J Biol Chem.280(6):4524-4531 (2005)
  • Liu HY, Buenafe AC, Matejuk A, Ito A, Zamora A, Dwyer J,Vandebark AA, offner H. Estrogen inhibition of EAE involves effects ondendritic cell function. J Neuroscience Res. 70(2):238-48 (2002)
  • Liu HY, Yang G.  The expression of VCAM-1 and MHC class II molecules on the EAE brain vascular endothelial cells. Acta Anatomica Sinica.2002, 33(2):215-218 
  • Liu HY, Yang G.  The purification of myelin basic protein and the effect of it on PBMC producingTNFα and IFNγ. Chinese Journal of Neuroimmunology and Neurology. 2001, 8(3):148-150 
  • Liu HY, Yang G. Using the phage small peptides containingVCAM-1 core epitope to experimentally treat EAE. Chinese Journal of Neuroimmunology and Neurology.2001,8(3):145-147 
  • Liu HY, Yang G. The expression of VCAM-1 on experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis brain vascular endothelium and the effect of VCAM-1 on the Lymphocyte—endothelium adhesion. Journal of Norman Bethune University of Medical Siences.2001, 27(4):350-352   
  • Liu HY, Yang G.The endothelial cells incubating with the supernatant of MBPstimulated PBMC can promote T lymphocytes proliferation .Chinese Journal of Cellular and MolecularImmunology. 2001,17(2), 112-114  
  • Liu HY, Yang G.The myelin basic protein promote the adhesion effect of monocytes to endothelial cells. Chinese Journal of Immunology. 2000, 8(16):29-32 
  • Liu HY, Yang G.The advance on the signal transduction pathwayof FAK stimulated by integrin. Foreign Medical Sciences Section on immunology. 2000, 23(1)1-5
  • Liu HY, Yang G. The distribution and function of integrin onadult central nervous system. Foreign Medical Sciences Section on Immunology.1999, 22(5):245-248   
  • Liu HY, Yang SJ. et al. The chemical modification of the Trpresidues and sulfhydryl group of Bacillus Licheniformis A.4041 thermostablea-amylase. Acta Scientiarum Naturalium Universitatis Jilinensis.1997,(1):99-101



1. Liu, HY and Vu TQ. “A Method for Separation and Identification of Proteins Using Unconventional Gel Electrophoresis and Detection of Single NanoparticleProbes” WO/2008/051985

2. Gao X & Liu HY. Protein tag for delivery ofsiRNA-aptamer chimeras. PCT/US14/61714. 2014

3. Liu, HY. BIVALENT siRNA CHIMERAS AND METHODS OF USE THERROF. U.S. Provisional Patent 62/409,579,2016

4. Liu, HY. Bispecific Aptamer for Treating Cancer. U.S. Provisional Patent 62/462993,2017


Work Reported by media and news

1. 'Using a double-targeted vehicle to home in on prostate cancer cells provides a highly targeted attack against interlocking mechanisms of survival to induce cell death and shrink tumors'.

Read more at Augusta Chronicle

 2. 'Scientists have engineered a sort of biological barbell that can get inside cancer cells and damage to two proteins that work independently and together to enable cancer's survival and spread.

Read more at news-medical-net or at rdmag