Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Penn State Science
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Xin Zhang

Xin Zhang

Main Content

  • Assistant Professor of Chemistry
  • Assistant Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
  • Paul Berg Early Career Professorship in the Eberly College of Science
224 Chemistry Building
University Park, PA 16802
Phone: (814) 863-3732

Research Interests

Chemical Biology of In Vivo Protein Folding and Aggregation. Biochemistry and Synthetic Chemistry.

Graduate Programs


Selected Publications

Independent Work at Penn State

Y. Liu, K. Miao, N.P. Dunham, H. Liu, M. Fares, X. Li, A.B. Boal, X. Zhang, "The cation-pi interaction enables a Halo-Tag fluorogenic probe for fast no-wash live cell imaging and gel-free protein quantification", Biochemistry, 2017, 56 (11), 1585-1595, (ACS Editor's Choice)

Prior to Penn State

Y. Liu*, X. Zhang*, W.T. Chen, Y.L. Tan, J.W. Kelly, “Fluorescence turn-on folding sensor to monitor proteome stress in live cells”, J Am Chem Soc, 137 (2015), 11303-11321, (*co-first authors).

Y.H. Cho*, X. Zhang*, Y. Liu, K. Fayer, D.L. Powers, J.W. Kelly, L. Gierasch. E.T. Powers, “Individual and collective contributions of chaperonin and degradation to protein homeostasis in E. coli”, Cell Reports, 11 (2015), 321-33, (*co-first authors).

Y. Liu*, Y.L. Tan*, X. Zhang*#, G. Bhabha, D. Ekiert, J.C. Genereux, Y.H. Cho, Y. Kipnis, D. Baker, J.W. Kelly#, “Small molecule probes to quantify the functional fraction of a specific protein in a cell with minimal folding equilibrium shifts”, Proc Natl Acad Sci (USA), 111 (2014), 4449-54, (*co-first authors listed alphabetically; #co-corresponding authors).

X. Zhang, Y. Liu, J.C. Genereux, C. Nolan, M. Singh, J.W. Kelly, “The heat-shock response transcriptional program enables high-yield and high-quality recombinant protein production in Escherichia coli”, ACS Chem Biol, 9 (2014), 1945-1949. (ACS Editor's Choice)

Y. Liu*, X. Zhang*, Y.L. Tan, G. Bhabha, D. Ekiert, D. Baker, J.W. Kelly, “De novo designed enzymes as small molecule-regulated fluorescence imaging tags and fluorescent reporters”, J Am Chem Soc, 136 (2014), 13102-13105, (*co-first authors). (ACS AuthorChoice)

X. Zhang and J.W. Kelly, “Chaperonins resculpt folding free energy landscapes to avoid kinetic traps and accelerate protein folding” J Mol Biol, 426 (2014), 2736-8.

X. Zhang and S. Shan, “Fidelity of co-translational protein targeting by the signal recognition particle”, Ann Rev Biophysics43 (2014), 381-408.

D. Akopian*, K. Shen*, X. Zhang*, S. Shan, “Signal recognition particle: An essential targeting machine”, Ann Rev Biochemistry82 (2013), 693-722 (*co-first authors listed alphabetically).

X. Zhang, V.Q. Lam, Y. Mou, T. Kimura, J. Chung, S. Chandrasekar, J.R. Winkler, S.L. Mayo, S. Shan, “Direct visualization reveals dynamics of a transient intermediate during protein assembly”, Proc Natl Acad Sci (USA), 108 (2011), 6450-55.

X. Zhang, R. Rashid, K. Wang, and S. Shan, “Sequential checkpoints govern substrate selection during co-translational protein targeting”, Science, 328 (2010), 757-60.

X. Zhang, C. Schaffitzel, N. Ban, and S. Shan, “Multiple conformational switches in a GTPase complex control co-translational protein targeting”, Proc Natl Acad Sci (USA), 106 (2009), 1754-59.

X. Zhang, S. Kung and S. Shan, “Demonstration of a multistep mechanism for assembly of the SRP•SRP receptor complex: Implications for the catalytic role of SRP RNA”, J Mol Biol, 381 (2008), 581-93.

Honors and Awards

  • The Lloyd and Dottie Huck Early Career Award, 2015-16
  • The Burrough Wellcome Fund Career Award at the Scientific Interface, 2014-19
  • American Chemical Society National Award – Nobel Laureate Signature Award for Graduate Education in Chemistry, 2012
  • The Damon Runyon Cancer Research Fellowship Award, 2011 (declined)
  • The Helen Hay Whitney Fellowship Award, 2011-14 (selected as a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Fellow)
  • Springer Thesis Award, 2010
  • Herbert Newby McCoy Award of Caltech, 2010
  • Chinese Government Award for Outstanding Self-financed Students Abroad, 2009
  • The Ulric B. and Evelyn L. Bray Endowment Fellowship, 2006-08
  • Distinguished Thesis Award in Liaoning Province, China, 2005
  • The Liu Yonglin Award, 2000
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