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Jun Liu, Ph.D.

Jun Liu, Ph.D.

Headshot of Jun Liu
  • Co-Director, Cancer Chemical and Structural Biology, Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center
  • Professor of Pharmacology and Molecular Sciences

Research Interests

Translational medicine; Molecular and cellular biology; Chemical biology more


Dr. Jun Liu is a professor of pharmacology and molecular sciences and oncology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. His research focuses on the interaction between chemistry, biology and medicine. Dr. Liu serves as the co-leader for the Cancer Chemical and Structural Biology Program for the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center.

Dr. Liu is the director of the Johns Hopkins Drug Library, where he and his collaborators aim to find new uses for often-forgotten drugs. Among the drug library's notable discoveries is that itraconazole, a widely used antifungal antibiotic, is a potent inhibitor of new blood vessel formation. To date, itraconazole has shown efficacy in treating non-small cell lung cancer in combination with pemetrexed, metastatic and castration-resistant prostate cancer and basal cell carcinoma.

Dr. Liu received his undergraduate degree in chemistry from Nanjing University in Nanjing, China. He earned his M.S. in organic chemistry from The Ohio State University and his Ph.D. in biochemistry from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He was a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Chemistry at Harvard University and a research associate at the National Institutes of Health.

Prior to joining Johns Hopkins, Dr. Liu was an associate professor in the Center for Cancer Research and the departments of biology and chemistry at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Dr. Liu's work was recognized with a Director's Pioneer Award from the National Institutes of Health in 2010. more


  • Co-Director, Cancer Chemical and Structural Biology, Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center
  • Director, Johns Hopkins Drug Library
  • Director, ChemBioCORE
  • Professor of Pharmacology and Molecular Sciences
  • Professor of Oncology

Departments / Divisions

Centers & Institutes


Additional Training

  • Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, 1990, Biochemistry

Research & Publications

Research Summary

Dr. Liu's primary research interest lies at the interface between chemistry, biology and medicine. He and his research team employ high-throughput screening to identify modulators of various cellular processes and pathways that have been implicated in human diseases, from cancer to autoimmune diseases. Once biologically active inhibitors are identified, they will serve both as probes of the biological processes of interest and as leads for the development of new drugs for treating human diseases.

Among the biological processes of interest are cancer cell growth and apoptosis, angiogenesis, calcium-dependent signaling pathways, eukaryotic transcription and translation.

Current projects include the exploration of the existing drug space for novel pharmacological activities with translational potential; learning from nature—using natural products as probes of eukaryotic transcription and translation processes; and imitating nature—generating natural product-inspired macrocyclic combinatorial libraries for the discovery of novel inhibitors of protein-protein interactions.

Selected Publications

View all on PubMed

Chong CR, Xu J, Lu J, Bhat S, Sullivan DJ, Jr., Liu JO. Inhibition of angiogenesis by the antifungal drug itraconazole. ACS chemical biology. 2007;2(4):263-70. PubMed PMID: 17432820.

Xu J, Dang Y, Ren YR, Liu JO. Cholesterol trafficking is required for mTOR activation in endothelial cells. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2010;107(10):4764-9.

Aftab BT, Dobromilskaya I, Liu JO, Rudin CM. Itraconazole inhibits angiogenesis and tumor growth in non-small cell lung cancer. Cancer research. 2011;71(21):6764-72. PMCID: PMC3206167.

Rudin CM, Brahmer JR, Juergens RA, Hann CL, Ettinger DS, Sebree R, Smith R, Aftab BT, Huang P, Liu JO. Phase 2 study of pemetrexed and itraconazole as second-line therapy for metastatic nonsquamous non-small-cell lung cancer. Journal of thoracic oncology : official publication of the International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer. 2013;8(5):619-23. PMCID: PMC3636564.

Low WK, Dang Y, Schneider-Poetsch T, Shi Z, Choi NS, Merrick WC, Romo D, Liu JO. Inhibition of eukaryotic translation initiation by the marine natural product pateamine A. Mol Cell. 2005;20(5):709-22.

Contact for Research Inquiries

Hunterian Building
725 N. Wolfe Street
Baltimore, MD 21205 map
Phone: 410-955-4619
Fax: 410-955-4520

Academic Affiliations & Courses

Graduate Program Affiliation

Pharmacology and Molecular Sciences

Biochemistry, Cellular and Molecular Biology

Chemistry-Biology Interface (CBI) Program

Activities & Honors


  • Fellow, American Academy of Microbiology, 2011
  • Fellow, American Association for the Advancement of Science, 2008
  • Director's Pioneer Award, National Institutes of Health, 2010
  • Foundation Award, Prostate Cancer , 2007
  • Foundation Scholar, Peter J. Sharp , 2006

Professional Activities

  • Steering Committee, Johns Hopkins Malaria Research Institute

Videos & Media

  • Play Video:

    Jun Liu - The Job of the Enzyme Methionine Aminopeptidase

  • Play Video:

    Jun Liu - The Common Thread in All His Research 3/10/10

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