OIST Welcomes Professor Ye Zhang

OIST welcomes Ye Zhang to lead the Bioinspired Soft Matter Unit. She hopes to create purely chemical systems that mimic biological structures.

OIST welcomes new Assistant Professor Ye Zhang, who will be directing a research unit on bioinspired soft matter. Zhang is coming to OIST from Brandeis University in Massachusetts, where she is doing postdoctoral work on Material Science. Her primary interest is researching on new materials inspired by naturally occurring biological structures.

Prof. Zhang received her PhD in Organic Chemistry at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. After graduating she continued her research as a post-doctoral scholar on Dye Sensitized Solar Cells in a collaboration project between University of Turin, Italy and Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), Switzerland. Her current research revolves around active and soft matter, specifically hydrogels, material which has properties similar to natural tissues. The aspect of her work she finds most interesting and challenging is making pure chemical systems act in the same way as living organisms. Zhang comments, “It’s the process to let biology flow into chemistry. And eventually, the inventions of chemical systems provide feedback for a better understanding of biology.”

This interest in the crossover between chemistry and biology is also what Zhang says influenced her decision to come to OIST. “It’s a very attractive environment for interdisciplinary research.” After her transition to OIST is complete, she will concentrate on two separate areas of research; the first being the application of hydrogels with fluorescence for use in cellular imaging. The second being application of super molecular chains to try making cellular organizational systems, essentially trying to replicate cellular behavior using pure chemistry.

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