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Dr ZENG, Xiangze

Dr ZENG, Xiangze, 曾祥澤博士

Assistant Professor

Postdoc, Washington University in St. Louis
PhD in Chemistry, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology
BSc in Physics, Shandong University

Current Research Interests

We are interested in investigating the kinetics and thermodynamics of biomolecules, such as proteins and nucleic acids, through advanced computational and theoretical approaches. We seek to uncover the molecular mechanisms that govern the functions of these biomolecules. Our work is driven by molecular simulations (all-atom and coarse-grained simulations), mathematical modeling, theoretical approaches, and close collaboration with our experimental partners. By integrating knowledge from statistical physics, physical chemistry, and molecular biology, our interdisciplinary research will advance the understanding of physical principles underlying complex molecular processes. Ultimately, our insights aim to contribute to the development of novel therapeutic strategies for human diseases.


Currently, we focus on the study of intrinsically disordered proteins (IDPs) and biomolecular condensates formed by phase separation. Specific research topics include, but are not limited to:

1.     Investigating the “sequence-ensemble-function” relationship of IDPs. 

2.     Designing small molecules and peptides to target IDPs. 

3.     Developing efficient coarse-grained models to study phase separation of different types of biomolecules. 

4.     Uncovering the physical principles governing the formation, material property and function of biomolecular condensates. 

Selected Publications

  1. 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, 15(12), 1693-1704.
  2. Xiangze Zeng, Rohit V. Pappu. Developments in describing equilibrium phase transitions of multivalent associative macromolecules, Current Opinion in Structural Biology, 2023, 79: 102540
  3. 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.
  4. 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)
  5. 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 
  6. 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
  7. 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).