David R. Liu leads a research group that combines chemistry and evolutionary techniques to create revolutionary new medicines.

Why you should listen

During his PhD research at Berkeley, David R. Liu initiated the first general effort to expand the genetic code in living cells. As a professor at Harvard and the Broad Institute, Liu integrates chemistry and evolution to illuminate biology and develop next-generation therapeutics. He has published more than 170 papers and is an inventor on more than 65 issued US patents.

Liu's major research interests include development and use of genome editing technologies to study and treat genetic diseases; the evolution of proteins with novel therapeutic potential; and the discovery of bioactive synthetic molecules using DNA-encoded libraries. Base editing, phage-assisted continuous evolution (PACE) and DNA-encoded libraries are three technologies pioneered in his laboratory that are now widely used in the biomedical sciences. Liu has also cofounded six biotechnology and therapeutics companies, including Editas Medicine, Beam Therapeutics, Pairwise Plants and Exo Therapeutics. 

Liu grew up in Riverside, California, where playing with insects in his backyard crystallized his interest in science. He also is passionate about photography and has been banned from playing blackjack at virtually every major casino in Las Vegas after developing a creative and highly advantageous card-counting system.

David R. Liu’s TED talk

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Live from TED2019

Intelligence: Notes from Session 3 of TED2019

April 16, 2019

Session 3 featured a dazzling celebration of intelligence — from the knowledge coded in our DNA (and a new way we could rewrite it) to one of the most astonishing tech demos ever seen at TED. Let’s jump right in. The event: Talks and performances from TED2019, Session 3: Intelligence, hosted by TED’s Chris Anderson. […]

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