Current Research Interests
We are interested in studying the kinetics and thermodynamics of biomolecules at the atomic and molecular level. We aim to uncover the molecular mechanism of different molecular processes, using computer simulations (all-atom and coarse-grained simulations), mathematical modeling, and close collaborations with experimentalists. Meanwhile, we leverage the knowledge from statistical physics, physical chemistry and molecular biology. Currently, we focus on the study of intrinsically disordered proteins (IDPs) and phase separation in biology through several related projects:
- Investigating the binding kinetics between IDPs and their binding partners.
- De novo design of small molecules and peptides targeting IDPs.
- Developing coarse-grained models for studying phase separation of biomolecules, including IDPs and RNA molecules.
- Gable M. Wadsworth+, Walter J. Zahurancik+, Xiangze Zeng+(co-first author), Paul Pullara, Lien B. Lai, Vaishnavi Sidharthan, Rohit V. Pappu, Venkat Gopalan, Priya R. Banerjee. RNAs undergo phase transitions with lower critical solution temperatures. Nature Chemistry, 2023, in press.
- Xiangze Zeng, Rohit V. Pappu. Developments in describing equilibrium phase transitions of multivalent associative macromolecules, Current Opinion in Structural Biology, 2023, 79: 102540
- Yifan Dai, Mina Farag, Dongheon Lee, Xiangze Zeng, Kyeri Kim, Hye-in Son, Xiao Guo, Jonathan Su, Nikhil Peterson, Javid Mohammed, Max Ney, Daniel Mark Shapiro, Rohit V. Pappu, Ashutosh Chilkoti, Lingchong You. Programmable synthetic biomolecular condensates for cellular control, Nature Chemical Biology, 2023, 1-11.
- Xiangze Zeng, Kiersten M Ruff, Rohit V. Pappu. Competing interactions give rise to two-state behavior and switch-like transitions in charge-rich intrinsically disordered proteins, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 2022, 119(19) (Recommended in Faculty Opinions)
- Xiangze Zeng, Chengwen Liu, Martin J. Fossat, Pengyu Ren, Ashutosh Chilkoti, Rohit V. Pappu. Design of intrinsically disordered proteins that undergo phase transitions with lower critical solution temperatures, APL Materials, 2021, 9(2): 021119
- Martin J. Fossat+, Xiangze Zeng+(co-first author), Rohit V. Pappu. Uncovering Differences in Hydration Free Energies and Structures for Model Compound Mimics of Charged Side Chains of Amino Acids, The Journal of Physical Chemistry B, 2021, 125(16): 4148-4161
- Xiangze Zeng, Alex S. Holehouse, Ashutosh Chilkoti, Tanja Mittag, Rohit V. Pappu. Connecting Coil-to-Globule Transitions to Full Phase Diagrams for Intrinsically Disordered Proteins, Biophysical Journal, 2020, 119(2): 402-418. (Top Cited Article in Biophys. J).