Biochemistry Home »


Fei Liu

Fei Liu


Ma’anshan, P.R. China

Role at Department:

Ph.D. student

DEAD-box RNA helicases

My research is focused on DEAD-box RNA helicases, proteins that use ATP to unwind RNA and to catalyze conformational changes in RNA protein complexes (RNPs). Such conformational changes in RNA or RNPs are critical for cellular function.
I am specifically interested in elucidating how DEAD-box proteins couple binding and hydrolysis of ATP to changes in RNA or RNP complexes. In addition to traditional biochemical methods, I also use single molecule fluorescence techniques to directly visualize individual molecules that undergo conformational changes driven by ATP binding and hydrolysis. Single molecule fluorescence techniques can reveal the dynamics of the system in details that traditional ensemble measurements can never accomplish. For example, omne can directly measure heterogeneity in the system, rare conformational transitions and short-lived reaction intermediates.

Faculty with strong publication records

Case is a renowned research university in the U.S. The Department of Biochemistry has many professors with strong publication records. They are investigating many interesting questions in a variety of areas of biology. In addition, there are plenty of resources, like state of art experimental equipment, libraries and many chances of presenting the research either in the department or in a meeting.

Really pleasant environment

The working environment is really pleasant. The department gives the students lots of freedom to express themselves. For example, we have our own student seminars, where students are both the speakers and judges. Students can also present their research at Showcase, an annual campus event, and win the prize as well!

Advice whenever I need it

Faculty in the department are really helpful and knowledgeable. I can get advice from my advisor whenever I need help. He is very supportive and I have got very good training in many aspects, such as how to approach a problem and interpret the data, how to write a paper, how to find a job and so on

Biggest challenge

The biggest challenge is to make my experiments work. But this is also the part that provides the most fun!

Like a family

There is a Christmas party in the department every year. Faculty and students each write and play one skit. We also play music and tell funny stories. The whole department is like a family.

Many resources at Case

As a research assistant, I don’t have to teach. My course load is not heavy, either. So I have a lot of time thinking about my research. It is very convenient to look for literature online through resources such as the Case library or Ohio link.

World class performance at discounted price

I love the Cleveland Orchestra very much. As a Case student, I can enjoy a world class performances at very cheap discounted prices. Summer and fall in Cleveland are very beautiful! There are several nice supermarkets, malls, and restaurants in the neighborhood. Beach and natural parks are around as well. Cleveland also has the Cavaliers!

A rich environment

During the weekend, I go to concerts, go to the beach, watch a movie, or enjoy a very nice meal near Coventry road. Case has different student associations. I was once a member of Chinese Student & Scholar Association. I have also volunteered at some events in Cleveland area, such as at the Harborfest Tall Ships Challenge.

Future plans

I would like to get an academic postion in the future.