Dr. Zhang received his Ph.D. in chemistry and structural biology from Georgia State University under the direction of Dr. Zhen Huang. There, he developed the new method of solving phasing and crystallization problems during nucleic acid structure determination by chemically synthesizing the modified DNA/RNA molecules. Dr. Zhang got post-doctoral training in Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard Medical School under Dr. Jack W. Szostak. His post-doctoral research focused on the origin of life related projects, including the mechanistic study of RNA self-replication in the enzyme-free scenario, and the development of xenobiological nucleic acid as the substitute of native RNA/DNA in molecular evolution.
Dr. Zhang joined the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at Indiana University School of Medicine as an assistant professor in 2019. His lab utilizes the approaches of organic chemistry, biochemistry, structural biology and chemical biology to create and apply novel nucleic acid molecules for disease treatment. The current research interests include 1) synthesis of novel mirror-image nucleic acids; 2) in vitro selection of functional mirror-image nucleic acid to target disease-related RNA motif; 3) construction of mirror-image RNA/DNA nanostructure for biostability and drug delivery efficiency improvement; 4) design and synthesis of novel modified DNA as antisense therapy candidate.
Zhang Lab Website