Dr Ligong Liu

Research Fellow

Institute for Molecular Bioscience
+61 7 334 62381
+61 7 334 62988


Dr Ligong Liu received BSc (organic chemistry) in 1990 from Nankai University, China, MSc (medicinal chemistry) in 1993 from Beijing Medical University (currently Peking University Health Science Center) with research thesis studying steroids, and PhD in 1997 from Central Queensland University, Australia, investigating protoberberine alkaloids - the active components in many folkloric medicines. Following postdoctoral research at Central Queensland University and the Australian National University (1997-2001), he spent seven years in Australian biotech industries (Alchemia Ltd and Progen Pharmaceuticals Ltd) specializing in carbohydrate and oligosaccharide based therapeutics. Since 2008, he has been a Senior Research Officer in Professor Fairlie’s group at the Institute for Molecular Bioscience, University of Queensland. His research interests are in chemical synthesis, medicinal chemistry, drug design and development, combinatorial chemistry, modulators of enzymes/growth factors/G protein-coupled receptors associated with inflammatory disorders and cancers, and modulators of T cell immunity

Research Impacts

Dr Liu has published over 80 peer-reviewed papers and is a co-inventor of 12 patent applications. His research generated one market drug and several drugs at various stages of clinical trials. His recent discovery of a new class of antigens, now protected by patents, has powered immunologists across the world to study a class of abundant but less known T cells called Mucosal-Associated Invariant T cells. This work led to two highly cited papers in Nature and several papers in other high impact journals since 2012 (e.g. Nature Immunology, Immunity, Journal of Experimental Medicine, Nature Communications, Journal of Immunology, Mucosal Immunity).


  • PhD, C.Qld.


  • Cheng, Janice, Liu, Ligong, Pellicci, Daniel, Reddiex, Scott J.J., Cotton, Rachel, Cheng, Tan-Yun, Young, David, Van Rhijn, Ildiko, Moody, Branch, Rossjohn, Jamie, Fairlie, David, Godfrey, Dale and Williams, Spencer John (2017). Total synthesis of the Mycobacterium tuberculosis dideoxymycobactin-838 and stereoisomers: diverse CD1a-restricted T cells display a common hierarchy of lipopeptide recognition. Chemistry - A European Journal, 23 (7), 1694-1701. doi: 10.1002/chem.201605287

  • Yau, Mei-Kwan, Liu, Ligong, Suen, Jacky Y., Lim, Junxian, Lohman, Rink-Jan, Jiang, Yuhong, Cotterell, Adam J., Barry, Grant D., Mak, Jeffrey Y. W., Vesey, David A., Reid, Robert C. and Fairlie, David P. (2016). PAR2 modulators derived from GB88. ACS Medicinal Chemistry Letters, 7 (12), 1179-1184. doi: 10.1021/acsmedchemlett.6b00306

  • Corbett, Alexandra J., Eckle, Sidonia B. G., Birkinshaw, Richard W., Liu, Ligong, Patel, Onisha, Mahony, Jennifer, Chen, Zhenjun, Reantragoon, Rangsima, Meehan, Bronwyn, Cao, Hanwei, Williamson, Nicholas A., Strugnell, Richard A., Van Sinderen, Douwe, Mak, Jeffrey Y. W., Fairlie, David P., Kjer-Nielsen, Lars, Rossjohn, Jamie and McClusky, James (2014). T-cell activation by transitory neo-antigens derived from distinct microbial pathways. Nature, 509 (7500), 361-365. doi: 10.1038/nature13160

  • Yau, Mei-Kwan, Liu, L.igong and Fairlie, David P. (2013). Toward drugs for protease-activated receptor 2 (PAR2). Journal of Medicinal Chemistry, 56 (19), 7477-7497. doi: 10.1021/jm400638v

  • Karoli, Tomislav, Liu, Ligong, Fairweather, Jon K., Hammond, Edward, Li, Cai Ping, Cochran, Siska, Bergefall, Kicki, Trybala, Edward, Addison, Russell S. and Ferro, Vito (2005). Synthesis, biological activity, and preliminary pharmacokinetic evaluation of analogues of a phosphosulfomannan angiogenesis inhibitor (PI-88). Journal of Medicinal Chemistry, 48 (26), 8229-8236. doi: 10.1021/jm050618p

View all Publications


View all Grants


View all Supervision


Featured Publications

Journal Article

Conference Publication

  • Jansen, Diahann, Klinken, Elizabeth, Nel, Hendrik, Law, Soi Cheng, Koppejan, Hester, Hameetman, Marjolijn, Liu, Ligong, Corbett, Alexandra, Eckle, Sidonia, Fairlie, David, Toes, Rene E. M., van Gaalen, Floris, Rossjohn, Jamie, McCluskey, James and Thomas, Ranjeny (2017). Mucosal-associated invariant T cells are an important source of TNF in rheumatoid arthritis. 2017 ACR/ARHP Annual Meeting, San Diego, California, 3-8 November 2017. Hoboken, NJ, United States: John Wiley & Sons.

  • Mak, Jeffrey, Xu, Weijun, Reid, Robert, Corbett, Alexandra, Meehan, Bronwyn, Wang, Huimeng, Chen, Zhenjun, Rossjohn, Jamie, McCluskey, James, Liu, Ligong and Fairlie, David (2017). Vitamin B2 related molecules that activate T cells. 254th National Meeting and Exposition of the American-Chemical-Society (ACS) on Chemistry's Impact on the Global Economy, Washington DC, USA, 20-24 August 2017. Washington DC, USA: American Chemical Society.

  • Gherardin, N. A., Keller, A. N., Woolley, R. E., Le Nours, J., Ritchie, D. S., Neeson, P. J., Birkinshaw, R. W., Eckle, S. B., Waddington, J. N., Liu, L., Fairlie, D. P., McCluskey, J., Pellicci, D. G., Uldrich, A. P., Rossjohn, J. and Godfrey, D., I (2016). A broad family of MR1-restricted T cells. International Congress of Immunology (ICI), Melbourne Australia, 21-26 August 2016. Germany: Wiley.

  • Keller, A. N., Eckle, S. B. G., Xu, W., Liu, L., Hughes, V. A., Mak, J., Meehan, B., Pediongco, T., Birkinshaw, R. W., Chen, Z., Wang, H., Souza, C., Kostenko, L., Corbett, A. J., Purcell, A. W., Fairlie, D. P., McCluskey, J. and Rossjohn, J. (2016). Common drugs modulate mucosal-associated invariant T cell function. International Congress of Immunology (ICI), Melbourne, VIC, Australia, 21-26 August 2016. Germany: Wiley. doi: 10.1002/eji.201670200

  • Eckle, S. B. G., Keller, A. N., Xu, W., Meehan, B., Pediongco, T., Liu, L., Hughes, V. A., Mak, J. Y. W., Birkinshaw, R. W., Chen, Z., Wang, H., D'Souza, C., Kostenko, L., Corbett, A. J., Purcell, A. W., Fairlie, D. P., Rossjohn, J. and McCluskey, J. (2016). Drugs/drug analogues modulate MAIT cell function in an MR1-dependent manner. International Congress of Immunology (ICI), Melbourne, VIC, Australia, 21-26 August 2016. Weinheim, Germany: Wiley - VCH. doi: 10.1002/eji.201670200

  • McCluskey, J., Corbett, A. J., Eckle, S. B. G., Chen, Z., Wang, H., Sun, S., D'Souza, C., Kostenko, L., Reantragoon, R., Meehan, B., Birkinshaw, R. W., Liu, L., Patel, O., Mahony, J., Cao, H., Jackson, D., Williamson, N. A., Strugnell, R. A., Mak, J. Y. W., Van Sinderen, D., Fairlie, D. P., Kjer-Nielsen, L., Godfrey, D., I and Rossjohn, J. (2016). MAIT cells: Friend or Foe in recognising microbial vitamin metabolites presented by the MHC-I-related molecule MR1. International Congress of Immunology (ICI), Melbourne, Australia, August 21-26, 2016. Weinheim, Germany: Wiley. doi: 10.1002/eji.201670200

  • McWilliam, H., Eckle, S., Theodossis, A., Liu, L., Chen, Z., Fairlie, D., Strugnell, R., Mintern, J., McCluskey, J., Rossjohn, J. and Villadangos, J. (2016). MR1 is an endoplasmic reticulum-resident sensor of vitamin B metabolites. International Congress of Immunology (ICI), Melbourne, Australia, 21-26 August 2016 . Weinheim, Germany: Wiley.

  • Godfrey, D., Koay, H. -F, Gherardin, N., Enders, A., Loh, L., Chen, Z., Corbett, A., Eckle, S., Meehan, B., d'Udekem, Y., Konstantinov, I, Lappas, M., Liu, L., Goodnow, C., Fairlie, D., Rossjohn, J., Kedzierska, K., Berzins, S., McCluskey, J., Uldrich, A. and Pellicci, D. (2016). Thymic precursors to the mucosal-associated invariant T cell lineage. International Congress of Immunology (ICI), Melbourne Australia, 21-26 August 2016. HOBOKEN: WILEY-BLACKWELL.

  • Sakala, Isaac G., Kjer-Nielsen, Lars, Eickhoff, Christopher S., Wang, Xiaoli, Liu, Ligong, Fairlie, David P., Rossjohn, Jamie, McCluskey, James, Hoft, Daniel F. and Hansen, Ted H. (2015). Tetramer identification of functional mouse mucosal associated invariant T (MAIT) cells. 8th International Workshop on Antigen Processing and Presentation, Philadelphia Pa, Jun 10-13, 2014. Oxford United Kingdom: Pergamon Press.

  • Yau, Annika M., Liu, Ligong, Reid, Robert C., Barry, Grant D., Suen, Jacky Y., Lohman, Rink-Jan, Le, Giang T., Cotterell, Adam and Fairlie, David P. (2011). Novel agonists and antagonists for protease activated receptor 2. National Meeting of the American Chemical Society (242nd, ACS, 2011), Denver, CO, U.S.A., 28 August-1 September 2011. WASHINGTON: AMER CHEMICAL SOC.

  • Fairlie, David P., Stoermer, Martin, Lucke, Andrew, Lohman, Rink-Jan, Liu, Ligong and Ruiz-Gomez, Gloria (2011). Towards orally bioavailable peptides and peptidomimetics. 241st National Meeting and Exposition of the American-Chemical-Society (ACS), Anaheim, CA, United States, 27-31 March 2011. Washington, DC, United States: American Chemical Society.

  • Dredge, K, Davis, K, Liu, L, Johnstone, K, Handley, P, Wimmer, N, Bytheway, I, Hammond, E, Li, CP, Rowley, J, Ferro, V and Gautam, A (2007). Heparan sulfate mimetics - potent angiogenesis inhibitors for cancer therapy. AACR-NCI-EORTC International Conference: Molecular Targets and Cancer Therapeutics, San Francisco, CA, United States, 22-26 October 2007. Philadelphia, PA, United States: American Association for Cancer Research.

Other Outputs

  • Ferro, V., Karoli, T., Liu, L., Handley, P.N., Johnstone, K.D., Wimmer, N. and Hammond, E.T. (2009). Novel sulfated oligosaccharide derivatives. WO/2009/049370.

  • Ferro, Vito, Fairweather, Jon, Karoli, Tomislav and Liu, Ligong (2005). Sulfated oligosaccharide derivatives. WO/2005/085264.

  • Don, Robert Hugh, Ferro, Vito, Bytheway, Ian, Cochran, Siska, Fairweather, Jon Krueger, Hammond, Edward Timothy, Karoli, Tomislav, Li, Cai Ping and Liu, Ligong (2005). Glycosaminoglycan (GAG) mimetics. WO/2005/061523.

  • West, Michael Leo, Andrews, Peter, Ramsdale, Tracie Elizabeth, Meutermans, Wim, Thanh Le, Giang, Clark, Chris, Abbenante, Giovani and Liu, Ligong (2004). Derivatives of synthesis of monosaccharides for drug discovery. WO 2004014929.

  • Banwell, Martin Gerhardt, Liu, Ligong, Parish, Christopher Richard and Freeman, Craig Geoffrey (2003). Linked cyclitols and their polysulfated derivatives. WO/2003/004454.

Grants (Administered at UQ)

PhD and MPhil Supervision

Current Supervision

Completed Supervision