Associate Professor Kang Liang

My Expertise

Nanostructured materials, nano-micro-bio systems, nano-biohybrids, biomaterials, nanobiotechnology, nanobiointerface, biomimetic materials, porous materials, metal-organic frameworks, biocatalysis, nanotechnology



Dr Kang Liang FRSC is a Scientia Associate Professor and group leader of Nano-Micro-Bio Systems. He received his Bachelor (Hon) and PhD degrees from the School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at The University of Melbourne in 2010 and 2014, respectively. After conferral of his PhD, he joined CSIRO Manufacturing under the Office-of-the-Chief-Executive scheme in 2014 as a research fellow and then became a research scientist. In 2017, he...view more

Dr Kang Liang FRSC is a Scientia Associate Professor and group leader of Nano-Micro-Bio Systems. He received his Bachelor (Hon) and PhD degrees from the School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at The University of Melbourne in 2010 and 2014, respectively. After conferral of his PhD, he joined CSIRO Manufacturing under the Office-of-the-Chief-Executive scheme in 2014 as a research fellow and then became a research scientist. In 2017, he joined the School of Chemical Engineering and the Graduate School of Biomedical Engineering at UNSW Sydney. He is a Co-Chair of Australian Synchrotron Program Advisory Committee for SAXS/WAXS and BioSAXS. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry. He is an awardee of Victoria Fellowship in Physical Sciences in 2017. He is a former NHMRC Career Development Fellow (2019-2022), and an ARC Future Fellow (2023-2027).

Google Scholar profile

  • PhD scholarships available! We encourage highly motivated PhD and MPhil students to join our group.
  • Postdoctoral researchers please do not hesitate to contact me about possible funding opportunities. 


Research interests                           

Interfacial Engineering of Nanostructured Materials

We are interested in interfacial engineering of nanostructured materials, in particular coordination based materials; understanding the material properties at a fundamental molecular level and relating nanostructure characteristics to bulk properties and material performance.

  • Adv. Mater. 2022, 10.1002/adma.202205674
  • J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2022, 10.1021/jacs.2c06471
  • Nano Today 2021, 40, 101256 
  • Small 2021, 17, 2100300
  • Adv. Funct. Mater. 2019, 1905321
  •  Chem, 2019, 5, 1597
  •  Mater. Today 2019, 28, 10
  •  Appl. Mater. Today 2018, 10, 93
  •  Acc. Chem. Res. 2017, 50, 1423
  •  Adv. Mater. 2016, 28, 7910
  •  Nat. Commun. 2015, 6, 7240



We are interested in engineering nanobionics by interfacing nanomaterials with living organisms to introduce new or enhanced biological functions.

  • Adv. Funct Mater. 2021, 10.1002/adfm.202106787
  • Environ. Sci. Technol. 2020, 54, 11356
  • Science Advances 2020, 6, eaaz0330 
  • Adv. Funct. Mater. 2019, 1905321
  • Adv. Funct. Mater. 2019, 29, 1808900
  • Small 2018, 14, 1702958
  • Appl. Mater. Today 2018, 10, 93
  • Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2017, 56, 8510
  • Adv. Mater. 2016, 28, 7910


Biomimetics and Biomineralization

Biominerals, formed by living organisms through the self-organization of inorganic and organic building blocks, possess diverse and highly-organized hierarchical structures with superior material properties. Biomineralization has served as a source of inspiration for the development of materials with highly controllable and specialized properties. Our group first introduced the biomineralization of coordination materials, showing potential in catalysis, drug delivery, cytoprotection, and cell manipulation.

  • Chem. Eng. J. 2021, 426, 131861
  • Appl. Mater. Today 2018, 10, 93
  • Chem. Commun. 2017, 53, 1249
  • Adv. Mater. 2016, 28, 7910
  • Nat. Commun. 2015, 6, 7240
  • CrystEngComm 2016, 18, 4264
  • Chem. Commun. 2016, 52, 473
  • Adv. Mater. 2015, 27, 7293


Smart Nano-micro-bio Systems

We are interested in developing smart bioactive nanomaterials by interfacing bioactive compounds with functional materials, making it possible to perform desired tasks rapidly and efficiently when needed. These systems will have great potential for advanced energy and biotechnological applications.

  • Adv. Mater. 2022, 10.1002/adma.202205746
  • Angew Chem. Int. Ed. 2022, 10.1002/anie.202209747
  • Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2021, 60, 5421
  • Advanced Nanobiomed Research 2021, 1, 2000034
  • Chem. Commun. 2020, 56, 14837
  • Chem. Sci. 2019, 10, 7852
  • Mater. Today 2019, 28, 10
  • Adv. Funct. Mater. 2019, 201808900 
  • Chem, 2019, 5, 1597
  • Adv. Sci. 2018, 5, 1801155 
  • Nat. Commun. 2015, 6, 7240


Publication highlights

  • J. Liang, J. Ruan, B. Njegic, A. Rawal, J. Scott, J. Xu, C Boyer, K. Liang* "Insight into Bioactivity of In‐situ Trapped Enzyme‐Covalent‐organic Frameworks" Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2023, e202303001
  • J. Liang, B. Johannessen, Z. Wu, R. F. Webster, J. Yong, M. Y. B. Zulkifli, J. S. Harbort, Y. R. Cheok, H. Wen, Z. Ao, B. Kong, S. L.Y. Chang, J. Scott, K. Liang* "Regulating the Coordination Environment of Mesopore-confined Single Atoms from Metalloprotein-MOFs for Highly Efficient Biocatalysis" Adv. Mater. 2022, doi: 10.1002/adma.202205674.
  • J. Yong, A. S. Mellick, J. Whitelock, J. Wang, K. Liang* "A biomolecular toolbox for precision nanomotors" Adv. Mater. 2022, doi: 10.1002/adma.202205746.
  • J. Liang, M. Y. B. Zulkifli, J. Yong, Z. Du, Z. Ao, A. Rawal, J. Scott, J. Harmer, J. Wang, K. Liang* "Locking the Ultrasound-induced Active Conformation of Metalloenzymes in Metal-organic Frameworks" J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2022, 144, 39, 17865.
  • Z. Guo, Y. Wu, Z. Xie, J. Shao, J. Liu, Y. Yao, J. Wang, Y. Shen*, J. J. Gooding*, K. Liang* "Self-Propelled Initiative Collision at Microelectrodes with Vertically Mobile Micromotors" Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2022, 10.1002/anie.202209747.
  • J. Liu,J. Xue,L. Fu,J. Xu, M. S. Lord, K. Liang* "Genetically Encoded Synthetic Beta Cells for Insulin Biosynthesis and Release under Hyperglycemic Conditions" Adv. Funct. Mater. 202210.1002/adfm.202111271.
  • J. Liang, K. Liang* "Nano-bio-interface engineering of metal-organic frameworks" Nano Today 2021, 40, 101256.
  • J. Liang, M. Yu, J. Liu, Z. Yu, K. Liang,* D.-W. Wang* "Energy Storing Plant Stem with Cytocompatibility for Supercapacitor Electrode" Adv. Funct. Mater. 202110.1002/adfm.202106787
  • J. Liang, S. Gao, J. Liu, M. Y.B. Zulkifli, J. Xu, J. Scott, V. Chen, J. Shi, A. Rawal, K. Liang* "Hierarchically Porous Biocatalytic MOF Microreactor as a Versatile Platform towards Enhanced Multienzyme and Cofactor‐Dependent Biocatalysis" Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2021 doi:10.1002/anie.202014002
  • J. Liang, M.Y.B. Zulkifli, S. Choy, Y. Li, M. Gao, B. Kong, J. Yun, K. Liang* "Metal-Organic Framework-Plant Nanobiohybrids as Living Sensors for On-Site Environmental Pollutants Detection" Environ. Sci. Technol. 2020, doi: 10.1021/acs.est.0c04688
  • J. Liang, K. Liang* "Biocatalytic Metal-Organic Frameworks: Prospects Beyond Bioprotective Porous Matrices" Adv. Funct. Mater. 2020, doi: 10.1002/adfm.202001648.
  • Z. Guo, J. J. Richardson, B. Kong, K. Liang* "Nanobiohybrids: Materials approaches for bioaugmentation" Sci. Adv. 2020, 6, eaaz0330
  • J. Liu, Z. Guo, K. Liang* "Biocatalytic metal-organic framework-based artificial cells" Adv. Funct. Mater. 2019, 1905321.
  • J. Liang, F, Mazur, C. Tang, X. Ning,* R. Chandrawati,* K. Liang* "Peptide-Induced Super-Assembly of Biocatalytic Metal-Organic Frameworks for Programmed Enzyme Cascade" Chem. Sci. 2019, 10, 7852-7858
  • Z. Guo, T. Wang, A. Rawal, J. Hou, Z. Cao, H. Zhang, J. Xu, Z Gu,* V. Chen, K. Liang* "Biocatalytic self-propelled submarine-like microparticles with pH-triggered buoyancy control for directional vertical motion" Mater. Today 2019, 28, 10-16.
  • S. Gao, J. Hou,* Z. Deng, T. Wang, S. Beyer, A. Guilherme Buzanich, J. J. Richardson, A. Rawal, R. Seidel, M. Y. Zulkifli, W. Li, T. D. Bennett,  A. K. Cheetham, K. Liang,* V Chen "Improving the acidic stability of zeolitic imidazolate frameworks by bio-functional molecules" Chem 2019, 5, 1597-1608.


My Grants

Current active grants

  • ARC Future Fellowship 2022-2026 (FT220100479) "Nanobionic plants"
  • NBCF Investigator Initiated Research Scheme 2022-2025 (IIRS-22-104) "Development of a next generation platform for early detection of malignant breast cancer"
  • ARC Discovery Project 2021-2023 (DP210100422) "Highly Efficient Nanomotors for Autonomous Cell Recognition and Isolation"
  • ARC Linkage Project 2019-2022 (LP190100029) "Development of electrophoretic cell sorters"
  • UNSW-Tsinghua University Collaborative Research Fund 2023-2024 'Biocatalytic nanosystems for CO2 conversion to valuable products'
  • Commonwealth Innovation Connection Grant 2023-2024


Past grants

  • ARC Discovery Project 2023-2025 (DP230101312) "Engineering nanomembranes for Long-term Implanted Flexible Electronics" (Relinquished due to FT)
  • NHMRC Career Development Fellowship 2019-2022 (GNT1163786) "Vision for a versatile nanodevice for early-stage disease and cancer diagnostics"
  • ARC Discovery Project 2019-2021 (DP190101008) "Redox-sensitised dense graphene to boost compact supercapacitors"
  • Research Infrastructure Scheme (RIS) Network lab 2019-2021
  • UNSW-CAS Bridging Grant 2019-2023
  • UNSW Scientia Fellowship 2017-2021
  • CSIRO OCE Fellowship 2014-2017
  • Science and Industry Endowment Fund 2015 

My Awards

  • ARC Future Fellowship, 2022

  • Second runner up of the ES&T Best Paper Award for Best Environmental Technology Article in 2020, 2021

  • Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry (FRSC), 2021

  • Research Excellence Award, UNSW, 2018

  • Career Development Fellowship, NHMRC, 2019

  • Scientia Fellowship, UNSW, 2017

  • Vicoria Fellowship, VESKI, 2017

  • Performance Cash Award, CSIRO, 2015

  • Australian Nanotechnology Network (ANN) award, 2015

  • 65th Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting nominee, Executive Secretariat Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings, Lindau Germany, 2015

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Science and Engineering Building (E8), UNSW Sydney, Kensington


+61 2 93854337