Zizhang Zhang (formerly: Xiaoming Micheal Zhang) has been a professor in Department of Chemistry, Zhejiang University since 2003. Prior to Zhejiang University, Dr. Zhang held various positions of research scientist at Codexis Inc, Maxygen Inc (both in California, US), Altus Pharmaceuticals Inc (Boston, US) etc. Prior to the industrial experience in US, Dr. Zhang pursued his postdoctoral research at McGill University (Montreal Canada). Zizhang Zhang obtained his PhD (Very Honorable) in organic chemistry from Université d’Aix-Marseille II (Currently: Université de la Méditerranée, Marseille, France).

Research work

Research Interest Dr. Zhang’s research interest focuses on the interaction of big biomolecules and small chemicals, that includes three facets: genochemistry; biocatalysis; asymmetric synthesis. Genochemistry Recently, the volume of data and information resulted from the biological and chemical study increase dramatically and the annotation of these data became one of the most important challenges. A new strategy comprising of a systematic study of chemistry that links the enzyme's sequence information (including SNP) and substrate structural diversity is needed. Such a study differs from traditional disciplines in many ways and requires a restructuring of established methods, the standardization of the data collection process, and new bioinformatics and modeling tools. It is better. Dr. Zhang has referred to it as “Genochemistry” and has been advocate of investigating the theoretic framework and methodologies for genochemistry, in expectation that it would pave the fundamental basis to improve our understanding of living systems, facilitating the research of life sciences, medicine, diagnosis and therapy. Biocatalysis and biotransformation Dr. Zhang has dedicated most of his career for long to study of biocatalysis and biotransformation, in both the fundamental study and applications. Two highlights are as follows: (1) Mechanistic study of asymmetric oxygenation of non activated double bond of olefins by monooxygenase in Aspergillus niger using isotopic labeling methodology. (JOC,1991). The work was reported to have incepted the study of epoxide hydrolase in microorganisms. The work was verified by third part (H.L.Holland) experimentally and collected in the book edited by S.M Roberts. (2) Revealed the relationship of enantioselectivity, regioselectivity and chemoseectivity of sequential hydrolysis of indanol monomer catalyzed by Chromobacterium viscosum lipase. (JOC,1999). Based on this work,a series of patents (UA patent 1999) have been issued. (3) Discovered L-AAO systems in Rhodotorula graminis using an enantioselective scavenging strategy(TL,2008),and D-AAO with opposite enantioselectivity in Aeromonas sp. Isolated from soil sample in Hangzhou area (BMCL,2009). The two strains with complementary enantioselectivity comprised of a preparation method of highly enantiopure amino acids. It paved an avenue to further study. Asymmetric synthesis Dr. Zhang explores the possibilities of application of biocatalysis in asymmetric synthesis, design and explore theoretically challenging processes to synthesize valuable specialty molecules, intermediates, building blocks, bioactive materials, natural or non natural substances.


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