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Yusuf Hamied Department of Chemistry

 

BBSRC David Phillips 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 capture, 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.

Photosynthesis is the primary route by which solar energy is harnessed on Earth (it is responsible for sustaining 99% of this planet's ecosystems), and 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 and the L'Oreal UNESCO Sustainable Development award for Women in Science.

Publications

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
– Journal of the American Chemical Society
(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
– Nature nanotechnology
(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 ed. in English)
(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
– Chem Sci
(2017)
8,
5172
Competing charge transfer pathways at the photosystem II–electrode interface
JZ Zhang, KP Sokol, N Paul, E Romero, R van Grondelle, E Reisner
– Nature chemical biology
(2016)
12,
1046
Rational wiring of photosystem II to hierarchical indium tin oxide electrodes using redox polymers
KP Sokol, D Mersch, V Hartmann, JZ Zhang, MM Nowaczyk, M Rögner, A Ruff, W Schuhmann, N Plumeré, E Reisner
– Energy and Environmental Science
(2016)
9,
3698
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