Lihan ZHANG, Ph.D.

School of Science

Laboratory of Natural Products Bioengineering

CONTACT

Email: zhanglihan@westlake.edu.cn

Website: http://www.lihanzhanglab.net

Lihan ZHANG, Ph.D.

School of Science

Laboratory of Natural Products Bioengineering

CONTACT

Email: zhanglihan@westlake.edu.cn

Website: http://www.lihanzhanglab.net

 

Biography

Lihan Zhang, originally from Jilin, China, grew up in Nagano, Japan, where he became interested in science as a high school student. After entering the University of Tokyo, he started working in the laboratory of Professor Ikuro Abe, and obtained his B.S. (2012) and Ph.D.(2017) in pharmaceutical sciences from the university. He then moved to the laboratory of Professor Emily Balskus at Harvard University to pursue postdoctoral research. He has awarded multiple honors and fellowships, including The University of Tokyo Fellowship, the JSPS Research Fellowship, and the JSPS Overseas Research Fellowship. Dr. Zhang joined the faculty at Westlake University in September 2019.

 

Research

Dr. Zhang has been working on the discovery, biosynthesis, and bioengineering of natural products. Fascinated by polyketide natural products particularly, his scientific achievements include the followings. (1) In collaboration with Professor Wen Liu in Shanghai Institute of Organic Chemistry, he elucidated the biosynthetic pathway of antimycin, and further performed structure-based engineering of crotonyl-CoA carboxylase/reductase, the key enzyme for structural diversification of antimycin. (2) By phylogenetic analysis of polyketide synthases, he deciphered the evolutionary scenario for structural diversification of the aminopolyol class of polyketides.


These results have set the basis for rational redesign of polyketide biosynthesis, which has numerous applications in drug discovery, medicinal chemistry, and synthetic biology. His works has been featured in Angewandte Chemie Highlight and recommended by Faculty of 1000 for multiple times. In addition, he explored small molecule-mediated host-microbiota interaction in the human microbiota.  


Dr. Zhang’s research interest lies primarily in, but not restricted to, discovery and bioengineering of assembly line enzymes for natural product biosynthesis.


Representative Publications

1. Zhang, L.*, Hashimoto, T.*, Qin, B., Hashimoto, J., Kozone, I., Kawahara, T., Okada, M., Awakawa, T., Ito, T., Asakawa, Y., Ueki, M., Takahashi, S., Osada, H., Wakimoto, T., Ikeda, H., Shin-ya, K., Abe, I. “Characterization of giant modular PKSs provides insight into genetic mechanism for structural diversification of aminopolyol polyketides” Angew. Chem. Int. Ed.201756, 1740-1745. (*equal contribution)

Highlighted in Angew. Chem. Int. Ed., 201757, 4658–4660. Selected as Frontispecies 

2. Zhang, L., Hoshino, S., Awakawa, T., Wakimoto, T., Abe, I., “Structural Diversification of Lyngbyatoxin A by Host-Dependent Heterologous Expression of the tleABC Biosynthetic Gene Cluster” ChemBioChem201617, 1407–1411. 

3. Zhang, L., Mori, T., Zheng, Q., Awakawa, T., Yan, Y., Liu, W., Abe, I., “Rational control of polyketide extender units by structure-based engineering of a crotonyl-CoA carboxylase/ reductase in antimycin biosynthesis” Angew. Chem. Int. Ed.201554, 13462–13465.

Highlighted in Angew. Chem. Int. Ed., 2015, 55, 858–860.  Recommended by F1000

4. Awakawa, T., Zhang, L., Wakimoto, T., Hoshino, S., Mori, T., Ito, T., Ishikawa, J., Tanner, M. E., Abe, I., “A methyltransferase initiates terpene cyclization in teleocidin B biosynthesis” J. Am. Chem. Soc.2014, 136, 9910–9913.  Recommended by F1000

5. Zhang, L., Chen, J., Mori, T., Yan, Y., Liu, W., Abe, I., “Crystallization and preliminary X-ray diffraction analysis of AntE, a crotonyl-CoA carboxylase/reductase fromStreptomyces sp. NRRL 2288” Acta Crystallogr., Sect. F: Struct. Biol. Cryst. Commun.201470, 734–737.

6. Yan Y., Chen, J., Zhang, L., Zheng, Q., Han, Y., Zhang, H., Awakawa, T., Abe, I., Liu, W., “Multiplexing of combinatorial chemistry in antimycin biosynthesis expands the molecular diversity and utility” Angew. Chem. Int. Ed.201352, 12308–12312.


We are currently looking for highly motivated postdoctoral researchers. Please contact us by email with a CV, research interests/goals, and contact information of at least two references.