Dr. Zhixuan Zhou
Zhixuan studied chemistry at Sun Yat-sen University and obtained his B.S. in 2013. He then moved to the University of Utah, USA, where he completed his Ph. D. research on functional supramolecular coordination complexes under the supervision of Professor Peter J. Stang. He moved to Germany in March 2019 and joined the group of Professor Tanja Weil at the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research. He was awarded a Alexander von Humboldt Research Fellowship in March 2020.
Biological systems have evolved to form a wide variety of nanoarchitectures fundamental to biological functions. The spontaneous organization of these structures, termed self-assembly, relies on interactions between specific molecular building blocks, a strategy that can also be replicated in an artificial setting for advanced material designs. We use metal-directed self-assembly for the bottom-up creation of materials with emergent biological functions. For example, we use coordination-driven self-assembly to construct discrete supramolecular complexes as monodisperse, modular platforms for combining disparate bioactive species in precise arrangements to realize desired biological functions. On the other hand, we design metallopeptides that self-assembles in living systems in situ to induce structural-based biological functions, such as disrupting energy homeostasis and metabolic adaptation of cancer cells.