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ConocoPhillips School of Geology & GeophysicsOU homepageConocoPhillips School of Geology & Geophysics

Xiaolei Liu

Brett Carpenter

Assistant Professor of Organic Geochemistry

Ph.D., 2011, Organic Geochemistry, MARUM, University of Bremen, Germany
M.Sc., 2007, Palaeontology and Stratigraphy, Nanjing Institute of Geology and Palaeontology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, China
B.S., 2003, Ecology and Environmental Microbiology, Shandong University, China


Office: SEC 948
Phone: TBA
Fax: 405-325-3140

Office: SEC 856
Fax: 405-325-3140
Office: SEC 856
Fax: 405-325-3140

Areas of Interest

Geobiology, Lipid Biomarkers, Origins of Life


Understanding the diversity of microbial activities in the environment is a fundamental target of geobiological research. Lipid biomarkers can serve as robust molecular tracers to study the composition of microorganisms and their metabolisms. To make lipid biomarkers the powerful tool of geobiological study, my research will focus on 1) developing efficient analytical protocols to detect, identify and quantify lipid biomarkers in various samples; 2) understanding the biological sources, transportation and preservation of lipids in sediment records; 3) demonstrating the biosynthetic pathways and biological function of lipids. 

Faculty Website

Courses Taught


Selected Publications

Liu X.-L., Lipp J.S., Elling F., Birgel D., Summons R.E., Hinrichs K.-U., Predominance of the parallel glycerol arrangement in archaeal tetraethers from marine subsurface sediments: structural features revealed by degradation products. In revision.

Liu X.-L., Birgel D., Elling F., Sutton P.A., Lipp J.S., Zhu R., Zhang C., Könneke M., Peckmann J., Rowland S.J., Summons R.E., Hinrichs K.-U., 2016. From ether to acid: a plausible degradation pathway of glycerol dialkyl glycerol tetraethers. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 183, 138-152.

Liu X.-L., Santiago Torio A.D., Bosak T., Summons R.E., 2016. Novel archaeal tetraether lipids with a cyclohexyl ring identified in Feyetteville Green Lake, NY and other sulfidic lacustrine settings. Rapid Communications in Mass Spectrometry 30, 1197–1205.

Liu X.-L., Zhu C., Wakeham S.G., Hinrichs K.-U., 2014. In situ production of branched glycerol dialkyl glycerol tetraethers in anoxic marine water columns. Marine Chemistry 166, 1-8.

Liu, X.-L., Summons, R.E., Hinrichs, K.-U., 2012. Extending the known range of glycerol ether lipids in the environment: structural assignments based on MS/MS fragmentation patterns. Rapid Communications in Mass Spectrometry 26, 2295–2302.

Liu, X.-L., Lipp, J.S., Simpson, J.H., Lin, Y.-S. Summons, R.E., Hinrichs, K.-U., 2012. Mono- and dihydroxyl Glycerol Dibiphytanyl Glycerol Tetraethers in marine sediments: identification of both core and intact polar lipid forms. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 89, 102-115.