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Yusuf Hamied Department of Chemistry

 
David Phillips Fellow
Research interests
Semi-artificial photosynthesis, (photo)electrochemistry, chemical biology, materials chemistry, 3D-printing, biofilm chemistry
Current research
Our goal is to develop smart bio-hybrid approaches for solar energy conversion - these can be employed both as a tool to understand complex biological systems and as a platform to launch new biotechnologies (relevant for renewable energy generation, carbon capture, precision farming, environmental sensing, and medicine). 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.
Currently, one of our main focuses is in the unraveling of photosynthesis. Photosynthesis is the primary route by which solar energy is harnessed to fuel life on Earth and is key in regulating our planet's carbon, nitrogen and oxygen cycles. Despite its importance, there remain significant knowledge gaps in the redox chemistry and electron transport pathways within photosynthesis. Moreover, photosynthetic organisms have evolved impressive and sustainable mechanisms for converting Earth abundant resources (sunlight, carbon dioxide and water) into complex organic matter. As such, scientists of all disciplines are trying to understand and exploit their complex chemistry to benefit agriculture, the environment, and to provide clean energy.
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 for her research work.

Dr Zhang discusses her research

Publications

Phenazines as model low-midpoint potential electron shuttles for photosynthetic bioelectrochemical systems.
ER Clifford, RW Bradley, LT Wey, JM Lawrence, X Chen, CJ Howe, JZ Zhang
– Chem Sci
(2021)
12,
3328
Author Correction: Advancing photosystem II photoelectrochemistry for semi-artificial photosynthesis
JZ Zhang, E Reisner
– Nature Reviews Chemistry
(2020)
4,
381
Advancing photosystem II photoelectrochemistry for semi-artificial photosynthesis
JZ Zhang, E Reisner
– Nature Reviews Chemistry
(2019)
4,
6
The Development of Biophotovoltaic Systems for Power Generation and Biological Analysis
LT Wey, P Bombelli, X Chen, JM Lawrence, CM Rabideau, SJL Rowden, JZ Zhang, CJ Howe
– ChemElectroChem
(2019)
6,
5375
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 semi-artifcial photosynthesis
E Reisner, X Fang, KP Sokol, N Heidary, TA Kandiel, JZ Zhang
– Nano letters
(2019)
19,
1844
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
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
(2018)
30,
124
Bias-free photoelectrochemical water splitting with photosystem II on a dye-sensitized 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
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