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BBSRC David Philips Research Fellow

Research interests

Semi-artificial photosynthesis, (photo)electrochemistry, chemical biology, materials chemistry, bioenergetics

Current research

Our goal is to develop smart bio-hybrid approaches that can serve as tools to understand the bioenergetics of complex biological systems and as a platform to launch new biotechnologies to address a range of societal needs (including for renewable energy generation, carbon recycling, precision farming, environmental sensing, and medicine). Currently, we are focused on re-wiring photosynthesis for sustainable photo-energy conversion. We work at the intersection of many disciplines, including physics, synthetic biology, chemical biology, engineering and material science; however, at the heart of our work is electrochemistry.

To find out more, please see our website (https://www.ch.cam.ac.uk/group/zhang).

Jenny completed her PhD in bioinorganic chemistry at the University of Sydney, Australia, with a brief stint at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, where she developed redox active platinum-based anti-cancer agents and studied their biodistribtion/metabolism within tumour models. She then became a Marie Curie Incoming International Fellow at the University of Cambridge to explore how biocatalysts can be exploited to generate solar fuels. In particular, she worked on developing strategies to re-wire oxidoreductases, such as the water-oxidation enzyme photosystem II, to electrodes/semiconductors/other proteins in an emerging field known as 'semi-artificial photosynthesis'. She has since been awarded a BBSRC David Phillips Fellowship at the Yusuf Hamied Department of Chemistry. Here, she takes on the re-wiring of photosynthesis to another level of complexity - in live cells! She has recently been awarded the RSC Felix Franks Biotechnology Medal and the L'Oreal UNESCO Sustainable Development award for Women in Science.

Watch Dr Zhang discuss her research

Publications

Advancing Techniques for Investigating the Enzyme-Electrode Interface.
N Kornienko, KH Ly, WE Robinson, N Heidary, JZ Zhang, E Reisner
– Accounts of chemical research
(2019)
52,
1439
Structure–Activity Relationships of Hierarchical Three-Dimensional Electrodes with Photosystem II for Semiartificial Photosynthesis
E Reisner, X Fang, KP Sokol, N Heidary, TA Kandiel, JZ Zhang
– Nano Letters
(2019)
19,
1844
Modulating the Cellular Uptake of Fluorescently Tagged Substrates of Prostate-Specific Antigen before and after Enzymatic Activation
L Di Marco, JZ Zhang, J Doan, BJ Kim, N Yamamoto, NS Bryce, TW Hambley
– Bioconjug Chem
(2019)
30,
124
Oxygenic Photoreactivity in Photosystem II Studied by Rotating Ring Disk Electrochemistry
N Kornienko, JZ Zhang, KP Sokol, S Lamaison, A Fantuzzi, R van Grondelle, AW Rutherford, E Reisner
– J Am Chem Soc
(2018)
140,
17923
Bias-free photoeletrochemical water splitting with photosystem II on a dye-sensitised photoanode wired to hydrogenase
KP Sokol, WE Robinson, J Warnan, N Kornienko, MM Nowaczyk, A Ruff, JZ Zhang, E Reisner
– Nature Energy
(2018)
3,
944
Interfacing nature's catalytic machinery with synthetic materials for semi-artificial photosynthesis.
N Kornienko, JZ Zhang, KK Sakimoto, P Yang, E Reisner
– Nat Nanotechnol
(2018)
13,
890
Solar Water Splitting with a Hydrogenase Integrated in Photoelectrochemical Tandem Cells
DH Nam, JZ Zhang, V Andrei, N Kornienko, N Heidary, A Wagner, K Nakanishi, KP Sokol, B Slater, I Zebger, S Hofmann, JC Fontecilla‐Camps, CB Park, E Reisner
– Angewandte Chemie
(2018)
130,
10755
Solar Water Splitting with a Hydrogenase Integrated in Photoelectrochemical Tandem Cells.
DH Nam, JZ Zhang, V Andrei, N Kornienko, N Heidary, A Wagner, K Nakanishi, KP Sokol, B Slater, I Zebger, S Hofmann, JC Fontecilla-Camps, CB Park, E Reisner
– Angewandte Chemie - International Edition
(2018)
57,
10595
Photoelectrochemistry of photosystem II in vitro vs. in vivo
JZ Zhang, P Bombelli, KP Sokol, A Fantuzzi, AW Rutherford, CJ Howe, E Reisner
– Journal of the American Chemical Society
(2017)
140,
6
Photoelectrocatalytic H$_2$ evolution in water with molecular catalysts immobilised on p-Si $\textit{via}$ a stabilising mesoporous TiO$_2$ interlayer
E Reisner, J Leung, J Warnan, D Nam, J Zhang, J Willkomm
– Chemical Science
(2017)
8,
5172
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