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Xin Zhang, Ph. D.
Laboratory of Biological Aggregates
Xin Zhang, Ph. D.
Laboratory of Biological Aggregates
"Westlake University provides a novel platform for the exploration of scientific curiosity and frontiers. I look forward to an exciting and bright future of this young university."
Xin Zhang is the Professor of Chemistry and Cell Biology at the Westlake University, Hangzhou. Prior to joining the faculty at Westlake in 2021, Zhang was the Paul & Mildred Berg Early Career Professor and associate professor of chemistry and of biochemistry and molecular biology at the Pennsylvania State University. Zhang was a Helen Hay Whitney postdoctoral fellow at the Scripps Research Institute (La Jolla, California) with Professor Jeffery W Kelly. He earned a doctoral degree at the California Institute of Technology with Professor Shu-ou Shan, a master's degree at the Dalian Institute of Chemical Physics of the Chinese Academy of Sciences with Professor Ke-Li Han, and a bachelor's degree at the University of Science and Technology of China.
Biological aggregates play significant roles in various cellular pathways and human diseases. Focused on the “Chemistry of Biological Aggregates”, the Zhang lab aspires to develop enabling chemical methodologies and solve transformative biological questions. At present, the Zhang lab combines expertise from synthetic chemistry, biological chemistry, cellular biology and chemical biology to develop chemical tools that quantitatively report on the physicochemical changes of biomolecules during processes of phase separation and aggregation. These results have the potential to correlate the physicochemical properties of biological aggregates to their physiological or pathological functions. Zhang’s work has received multiple honors and awards, including Priestley Prize for undergraduate teaching in chemistry, Kavli Fellow of the National Academy of Sciences USA, CAPA Distinguished Junior Faculty Award, NSF CAREER award, NIH Maximizing Investigators' Research Award, Pew Scholar in the Biomedical Sciences, Scialog Fellowship of the Research Corporation, Sloan Research Fellowship, the Lloyd and Dottie Huck Early Career Award, the Burroughs Wellcome Fund Career Award at the Scientific Interface, and the ACS Nobel Laureate Signature Award for Graduate Education.
Current projects include:
• Developing novel chemical probes that enable super-resolution quantitative imaging, thus measuring the physicochemical properties of biological molecules in live cells at super-resolution.
• Revealing the physical property-function relationship of membraneless organelles, with a focus on understanding how folding/aggregation of proteins affect the function of these organelles.
• Developing novel RNA imaging technologies to enable quantitative imaging of RNA condensates, thus revealing how RNA phase separation affects their biological functions.
• Developing chemical or genetic tools to regulate protein/RNA phase separation and protein aggregation in membraneless organelles, with a focus on RNA binding proteins.
Representative Publications (* denotes corresponding authors)
1. H. Feng, Q. Zhao, B. Zhang, H. Hu, M. Liu, K. Wu, X. Li, X. Zhang*, L. Zhang*, and Y. Liu*, “Enabling photo-crosslinking and photo-sensitizing properties for synthetic fluorescent protein chromophores”, Angew. Chem. Int. Ed., 62 (2023), e202215215.
2. B. Shen, K. H. Jung, S. Ye, C. A. Hoelzel, C. H. Wolstenholme, H. Huang*, Y. Liu*, and X. Zhang*, “A dual-functional BODIPY-based molecular rotor probe reveals different viscosity of protein aggregates in live cells”, Aggregate, (2022), e301.
3. L. Wang, C.-H. Hsiung, X. Liu, S. Wang, A. Loredo, X. Zhang*, and H. Xiao*, “Xanthone-based solvatochromic fluorophores for quantifying micropolarity of protein aggregates”, Chem. Sci., 13 (2022), 12540.
4. S. Ye, C.-H. Hsiung, Y. Tang, and X. Zhang*, “Visualizing the multi-step process of protein aggregation in live cells”, Acc. Chem. Res., 55 (2022), 381–390.
5. S. Tang*, W. Wang, and X. Zhang*, “Direct visualization and profiling of protein misfolding and aggregation in live cells”, Curr. Opin. Chem. Biol., 64 (2021), 116-123.
6. S. Tang, S. Ye, and X. Zhang*, “When aggregation-induced emission meets protein aggregates”, Nat. Sci. Rev., 8 (2021), nwab013.
7. S. Ye, H. Zhang, J. Fei, C. Wolstenholme, and X. Zhang*, “A general strategy to control viscosity sensitivity of molecular rotor-based fluorophores”, Angew. Chem. Int. Ed., 60 (2021), 1339-1346.
8. C. H. Wolstenholme, H. Hu, S. Ye, B. E. Funk, D. Jain, C.-H. Hsiung, G. Ning, Y. Liu, X. Li*, and X. Zhang*, “AggFluor: Fluorogenic toolbox enables direct visualization of the multi-step protein aggregation process in live cells”, J. Am. Chem. Soc., 142 (2020), 17515–17523. (Highlighted by JACS Spotlights, Protein Aggregation: It’s a Process).
9. C. A. Hoelzel, H. Hu, C. H. Wolstenholme, B. A. Karim, K. T. Munson, K. H. Jung, Y. Liu, H. P. Yennawar, J. B. Asbury, X. Li*, and X. Zhang*, “A general strategy to enhance donor-acceptor molecules using solvent-excluding substituents”, Angew. Chem. Int. Ed., 59 (2020), 4785-4792.
10. S. H. Kim, Y. Liu, C. Hoelzel, X. Zhang*, and T. H. Lee*, “Super-resolution optical lithography with DNA”, ACS Nano Letter, 19 (2019), 6035-6042.
11. Y. Liu, C. H. Wolstenholme, G. Carter, H. Liu, H. Hu, L. S. Grainger, K. Miao, M. Fares, C. A. Hoelzel, H. Yennawar, G. Ning, M. Du, L. Bai, X. Li, and X. Zhang*, “Modulation of fluorescent protein chromophores to detect protein aggregation with turn-on fluorescence”, J. Am. Chem. Soc., 140 (2018), 7381-7384.
12. Y. Liu, M. Fares, N. P. Dunham, Z. Gao, K. Miao, X. Jiang, S. S. Bollinger, A. K. Boal, and X. Zhang*, “AgHalo: A facile fluorogenic sensor to detect drug induced proteome stress”, Angew. Chem. Int. Ed., 56 (2017), 8672-8676.
Contact Information and Open Positions
We are always looking for great new people to add to our team! Available positions include postdoctoral researchers, graduate students, and research assistants. Highly motivated candidates are encouraged to send a CV and description of past research and future research goals/interests to Prof. Zhang via email.