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The Zhang Group

'Forget biology, chemistry or physics – the most exciting research is happening at the interface of the disciplines.


Our group is interested in the fascinating chemistry behind biological energy conversion. We use a highly multidisciplinary approach to tackle problems in renewable energy generation, environmental sensing, sustainable farming and more. We combine the strengths of material chemistry, chemical biology, microbiology and (photo)electrochemistry to:

  • answer fundamental questions about photosynthesis and solar-to-chemical conversion processes.
  • create novel platforms for biotechnologies (e.g. for fuels/power generation, bio-sensing, anti-microbials, bone regeneration).
  • create new tools for understanding and controlling the bio-material interface.


At the core of our work is electrochemistry, which we use to understand the dynamic electron transfer processes occuring at the bio-material interface. We employ synthetic and material chemistry to control the electron transfer pathway at the interface, and synthetic biology (done by our collaborators, the Howe group, at the Department of Biochemistry) to control electronic wiring within the organisms. We also collaborate with theorists and spectroscopists to perform mathetical modelling/chemical biology for disentangling and visualising the complex processes occuring at the bio-material interface. 


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