Haipeng Liu

Haipeng Liu

Associate Professor



Haipeng Liu


Room 3162, 5050 Anthony Wayne Dr. Detroit, MI 48202

Office Address

Room 3162, 5050 Anthony Wayne Dr.
Detroit, MI 48202 


Chemical Engineering and Materials Science

Research Interests

Cancer Vaccines, Cancer Immunotherapy, Adjuvant, Nanomedicine, Immunobioengineering


Research Description

In Liu lab, we are interested in integrating Chemistry and Engineering approaches to target the lymphatic system for the treatment of cancer. In particular, we are interested in the rational, structure-based design of therapeutics at the interface of Chemistry, Engineering, Nanotechnology and Immunology.

Therapeutic vaccines that aim to expand tumor-specific CD8+ T-cells and lead to cancer regression have yielded disappointing results. A major challenge in the development of cancer vaccines is the delivery of vaccine components to secondary lymphoid organs where immune responses are orchestrated. However, current delivery technologies are developed empirically and do not meet the efficacy and safety requirements for treatments of cancer. Rational design of materials to target antigens/adjuvants to lymphoid organs requires a thorough understanding and control of the structure-property relationship at the molecular level. Chemistry can play an important role in the rational design and optimization of molecules that impact on the immune system. For example, synthetic materials can be tailored as vaccines, vaccine adjuvants, immunomodulators or as novel pathogen-mimicking delivery systems. The central goal of this research is to design novel materials to deliver cancer vaccines to target antigen-presenting cells in lymph nodes to elicit anti-tumor immunity.
In addition to cancer vaccines, we are interested in engineering molecular especially polymeric therapeutics for cancer immunotherapy. Many synthetic small molecular immune modifiers (e.g., imidazoquinoline and oxoadenine) are particularly effective in eliciting Th1 type responses. However, direct application of these molecules in pharmaceuticals is limited because of the toxicity, stability, and/or unsubstantial immunostimulatory effects. We are interested in using synthetic scaffolds to present multiple antigen presenting cell-interactive components in spatially resolved networks as polymeric therapeutics for cancer immunotherapy.

Selected Publications

J Xi, H Liu. Recent Advances in the Design of Self‐Delivery Amphiphilic Drugs and Vaccines. Advanced Therapeutics. 2020;3:1900107.

J Xi, M Li, B Jing, M An, C Yu, CB Pinnock, Y Zhu, MT Lam, H Liu. Long-Circulating Amphiphilic Doxorubicin for Tumor Mitochondria-Specific Targeting. ACS applied materials & interfaces 2018;10:43482-92.

M An, C Yu, J Xi, J Reyes, G Mao, W Wei, H Liu. Induction of Necrotic Cell Death and Activation of STING in the tumor Microenvironment via Cationic Silica Nanoparticles lead to enhanced antitumor immunity. nanoscale, 2018;10:9311-19.

M An, H Liu, Dissolving microneedle arrays for transdermal delivery of molecular vaccines. Small. 2017;13:1700164.

H Liu, KD Moynihan, Y Zheng, GL Szeto, AV Li, B Huang, DS Van Egeren, C Park, DJ Irvine. Structure-based programming of lymph-node targeting in molecular vaccines. Nature 2014;507:519-22.


B.S. in Chemical Engineering (1998): Huazhong University of science and Technology, Wuhan, China
M.S. in Polymer Science (2001): Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Wuhan, China
Ph.D. in Chemistry (2007): Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana
Post-doctoral Associate in Chemistry (2007-2009): University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida
Post-doctoral Associate in Bioengineering (2009-2013): Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts

Courses Taught

CB7410 Cancer Immunology and Immunotherapy 

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