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
(814) 863-3732

Mailing Address:
104 Chemistry Building


  1. Ph.D. Chemistry, California Institute of Technology, 2010
  2. M.S. Chemistry, Dalian Institute of Chemical Physics, the Chinese Academy of Sciences, 2004
  3. B.S. Chemistry, University of Science and Technology of China, 2001

Honors and Awards:

  1. Scialog Fellow, 2018
  2. Sloan Research Fellow, 2018
  3. The Lloyd and Dottie Huck Early Career Award, 2015-16
  4. The Burrough Wellcome Fund Career Award at the Scientific Interface, 2014-19
  5. American Chemical Society National Award – Nobel Laureate Signature Award for Graduate Education in Chemistry, 2012
  6. The Damon Runyon Cancer Research Fellowship Award, 2011 (declined)
  7. The Helen Hay Whitney Fellowship Award, 2011-14 (selected as a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Fellow)
  8. Springer Thesis Award, 2010
  9. Herbert Newby McCoy Award of Caltech, 2010
  10. Chinese Government Award for Outstanding Self-financed Students Abroad, 2009
  11. The Ulric B. and Evelyn L. Bray Endowment Fellowship, 2006-08
  12. Distinguished Thesis Award in Liaoning Province, China, 2005
  13. The Liu Yonglin Award, 2000

Selected Publications:

14. “A fluorogenic AggTag method based on Halo- and SNAP-tag to simultaneously detect the aggregation of two proteins in live cells”, submitted

13. M. Fares and X. Zhang* “Quantification of cellular proteostasis in live cells using the AgHalo sensors“, Curr. Protoc. Chem. Biol., 2018:e58.

12. K.H. Jung, M. Fares, L.S. Grainger, C.H. Wolstenholme, A. Hou‡, Y. Liu, X. Zhang*, “A SNAP-tag fluorogenic probe mimicking the chromophore of the red fluorescent protein Kaede“, Org. Biomol. Chem., accepted. Part of New Talent Special Issue.

11. H. Hu, C.H. Wolstenholme, X. Zhang*, X.S. Li*, “Inverted solvatochromic stokes shift in GFP-like chromophores with extended conjugation“, Chin. J. Chem. Phys., 31 (2018), 599-607.

10. Y. Liu, K. Miao‡, Y. Li, M. Fares, S. Chen‡, X. Zhang* “A HaloTag-based multi-color fluorogenic sensor visualizes and quantifies proteome stress in live cells using solvatochromic and molecular rotor-based fluorophores“, Biochemistry, 57 (2018), 4663-4674.

9. B.I. Leach, X. Zhang, J.W. Kelly, H.J. Dyson, P.E. Wright*, “NMR measurements reveal the structural basis of transthyretin destabilization by pathogenic mutations“, Biochemistry, 57 (2018), 4421-4430.

8. 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, X. Zhang*, “Modulation of fluorescent protein chromophores to detect protein aggregation with turn-on fluorescence“, J. Am. Chem. Soc., 140 (2018), 7381-7384.

7. A. Pedley, G. Karras, X. Zhang, S. Lindquist, S. Benkovic*, “The role of HSP90 in the regulation of de novo purine biosynthesis“, Biochemistry, 57 (2018), 3217-3221.

6. Y. Liu, M. Fares, X. Zhang*, “Monitoring proteome stress in live cells using HaloTag-based fluorogenic sensor”, Methods in Molecular Biology: Protein Misfolding Diseases, 2018, invited book chapter.

5. X. Li, T. Wang, P. Duan, M. Baldini, H. Huang, B. Chen, S. Juhl, D. Koeplinger, V. Crespi, K. Schmidt-Rohr, R. Hoffmann, N. Alem, M. Guthrie, X. Zhang, J. Badding*, “Carbon nitride nanothread crystals derived from pyridine”, J. Am. Chem. Soc., 140 (2018), 4969-4972.

4. Y. Liu and X. Zhang*, “Heat shock protein reports on proteome stress”, Biotechnology J, 13 (2018), 1800039.

3. M. Fares, Y. Li, Y. Liu, K. Miao‡, Z. Gao‡, Y. Zhai‡, X. Zhang*, “A molecular rotor-based Halo-tag ligand enables a fluorogenic proteome stress sensor to detect protein misfolding in mildly stressed proteome“, Bioconjutate Chem, 29 (2018), 215-224.

2. Y. Liu, M. Fares, N. P. Dunham, Z. Gao‡, K. Miao‡, X. Jiang, S. S. Bollinger‡, A. K. Boal, X. Zhang*, “AgHalo: A facile fluorogenic sensor to detect drug induced proteome stress“, Angew. Chem. Int. Ed., 56 (2017), 8672-8676. 

1. Y. Liu, K. Miao‡, N.P. Dunham, H. Liu, M. Fares, X. Li, A.B. Boal, X. Zhang*, “The cation-π interaction enables a Halo-Tag fluorogenic probe for fast no-wash live cell imaging and gel-free protein quantification“, Biochemistry, 56 (2017), 1585-1595, (ACS Editor’s Choice). Featured by Viewpoint in Biochemistry



Research Interests:


Biochemistry of intracellular protein aggregation in stressed proteome and neurodenegeration


Design and synthesis of small molecules to image and modulate intracellular protein aggregates

Chemical Biology

Chemical biology of intracellular protein aggregation in stressed proteome and neurodenegeration