The Zhang Group

@ Northeastern University  

Research Synposis

Our group develops macromolecular systems to provide answers to important questions in biology and medicine.  Our current focus is on integrating polymer chemistry with oligonucleotides and other bioactive building blocks in order to make them better biopharmaceuticals.  Our slogan:


Make Oligonucleotides Great Again!

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graduate students and postdoc fellows

We are always looking for talented graduate students and postdoctoral fellows. Right now we are particularly interested in acquiring talent for in vivo pharmacological work.

we moved into a new lab!

CHECK out these amazing photos of our new lab

It took a while to get there, but the result is worth the wait!


For comparison...

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RECENT publications

Bottlebrush-architectured poly(ethylene glycol) as an efficient vector for RNA interference in vivo

Dali Wang, et al

Science Advances, 2019, aav9322

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Improving the enzymatic stability and pharmacokinetics of oligo-nucleotides via DNA-backboned bottlebrush polymers

Fei Jia, et al

Nano Letters, 2018,  18, 7378

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Expanding the materials space of DNA via organic-phase ring-opening metathesis (co)polymerization

Xuyu Tan, Hao Lu, et al

Chem, 2019, ASAP

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GrouP News

(Feb, 2020) Hui and Yang's paper, "Well-defined DNA-polymer miktoarm stars for enzyme-resistant nanoflares and carrier-free gene regulation", is accepted in Bioconjugate Chemistry! Congrats!

(Jan, 2020) Dr. Lei Zhang from NJUST joined us as a visiting scholar! Our warmest welcome!

(Jul, 2019) A startup company, pacDNA LLC, was founded based upon technologies developed in the Zhang group at Northeastern!

(Jul, 2019) Prof. Zhang joins the Editorial Board of the Cell Press journal, iScience.

(Apr, 2019) Big welcome to our fresh PhD students, Peiru Chen, Jiansong Cai, Yang Fang, and Mengqi Ren!

(Apr, 2019) Xuyu's magnum opus, "Expanding the materials space of DNA via organic-phase ring-opening metathesis (co)polymerization", is published in the journal Chem. Truly exceptional work. Congrats Dr. Tan!

(Mar, 2019) A lone wolf (research-wise) in our laboratory working on self-immolative polymers, Yue Xiao published a second paper in this area, "Functionalizable, side chain-immolative poly(benzyl ether)s", in ACS Macro Letters! Good job Yue!

(Mar, 2019) Our recent paper in Science Advances was featured in News@Northeastern and ScienceTrends!

(Feb, 2019) Dr. Fei Jia contributed another paper post-graduat-ously. Maybe a third one coming too? The paper is titled "Self-assembly of DNA-containing copolymers", appearing in Bioconjugate Chemistry. Congrats!

(Jan, 2019) The Zhang group moved into a brand spanking new lab space in the state-of-the-art ISEC building!

(Jan, 2019) Dr. Dali Wang and Dr. Xueguang Lu published a major paper in Science Advances, titled "Bottlebrush-architectured poly(ethylene glycol) as an efficient vector for RNA interference in vivo". It is our initial foray into in vivo work and we are truly excited about these results!

(Oct, 2018) Xuyu emerged from his thesis defense victorious! Big congrats, Dr. Tan! He is going to work as a postdoc fellow with Prof. Brad Pentelute at MIT.

(Oct, 2018) Dr. Fei Jia, although graduated from our lab already, had another paper published in Nano Letters! The paper is titled "Improving the enzymatic stability and pharmacokinetics of oligonucleotides via DNA-backboned bottlebrush polymers". Good job Fei!

(Jul, 2018) Prof. Zhang was awarded  a "45 under 45" Young Investigator Award by the journal Nano Research! We wrote a review paper, "PEGylation of therapeutic oligonucleotides – From linear to highly branched PEG architectures" for the special issue.

(Jun, 2018) Prof. Zhang was recognized as one of the ACS PMSE Young Investigators!

(Apr, 2018) Yue Xiao's paper, "Modulating the depolymerization of self-immolative brush polymers with poly(benzyl ether) backbones", was published in Macromolecules! Good job Yue!

(Apr, 2018) A major paper by Dr. Hui Li and Bohan Zhang on "Molecular spherical nucleic acids" was published in PNAS! Congrats!

(Apr, 2018) Qiang Sun and Yuyan Wang formally joined our team. Welcome!

(Mar, 2018) Xuyu was selected to present in the "Excellence in Polymer Graduate Research Symposium" at the ACS meeting in New Orleans. Congratulations Xuyu!

(Mar, 2018) Prof. Zhang received a Tier 1 award as a co-PI with Prof. Jeff Agar. Good job, Jeff!

(Nov, 2017) Prof. Zhang is selected to participate in the ReDI Leadership Program at Northeastern University.

(Nov, 2017) Dali's first paper here, "Precision tuning of DNA- and poly(ethylene glycol)-based nanoparticles via co-assembly for effective antisense gene regulation", has just been accepted in Chemistry of Materials! Congrats Dali!

(Sep, 2107) Prof. Zhang received an R01 grant from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences of the National Institutes of Health

(Aug, 2017) Our DFCI-NEU Cancer Grant is renewed for a 2nd year of support!

(Jun, 2017) Fei defended his thesis, “Improving the biopharmaceutical properties of oligonucleotides and oligopeptides through polymer conjugation and architecture design”, with flying colors! He is to join Prof. Robert MacFarlane’s group at MIT. Congratulations Fei!

(Jul, 2017) Fei is on a roll too! His third paper, “Depth-profiling the nuclease stability and the gene silencing efficacy of brush-architectured poly(ethylene glycol)-DNA conjugates”, is accepted for publication in JACS! Congrats Fei!

(Jun, 2017) The manuscript by Xueyan and Xueguang, “Modulating the cellular immune response of oligonucleotides by brush polymer-assisted compaction”, is accepted for publication in Small! We are so glad that Xueyan get to bring home the fruit of her short stay in Boston as a visiting scholar.

(Jun, 2017) Prof. Ke Zhang is promoted to associate professor.

(Apr, 2017) Xuyu won a Best Oral Presentation Award at the Annual Northeast Student Chemistry Research Conference! Good job Xuyu!

(Apr, 2017) Xueguang successfully defended his PhD thesis, “Investigation of brush polymers for nucleic acid delivery and self-assembly”. He is to join Prof. Robert Langer’s group at MIT. Such a bitter-sweet day. Sweet mostly.

(Apr, 2017) Hao Lu officially joins our group as a first-year PhD student! Welcome Hao!

(Feb, 2017) Prof. Lanxia Liu from the Institute of Biomedical Engineering, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences & Peking Union Medical College has joined us for a one-year stay as a visiting scholar. Welcome Lanxia!

(Dec, 2016) I’m thrilled that Xueguang won the coveted Provost Office’s Dissertation Completion Fellowship! The fellowship is highly-competitive and is reserved for students of the highest caliber. We are proud of you, Xueguang!

(Dec, 2016) Fei’s excellent in-depth study on pacDNA thermodynamics is accepted for publication in Angewandte Chemie International Edition! The paper is titled “Effect of PEG architecture on the hybridization thermodynamics and protein accessibility of PEGylated oligonucleotides”. Fantastic job, Fei!

(Nov, 2016) Xueguang is selected to present in the 2017 "Excellence in Graduate Polymer Research Symposium" at the ACS meeting. Selection to this symposium is a distinct honor and recognition in the polymer community.

(Aug, 2016) We really appreciate the continued support from the DFCI-NEU Cancer Research program with Prof. Jean Zhao at DFCI!

(Aug, 2016) Xuyu’s paper, “Blurring the role of oligonucleotides: spherical nucleic acids as a drug delivery vehicle”, received overwhelmingly positive reviews and is published as-is in JACS without any revision. Just. Amazing.

(Jul, 2016) Xueguang is on a roll! His third JACS paper, “Effective antisense gene regulation via non-cationic, polyethylene glycol brushes” is just accepted!

(Apr, 2016) Xueguang won the College of Science Dean’s Award for Graduate Student Excellence in Research. Only one student from five departments gets it per year. Congratulations Xueguang!

(Mar, 2016) Prof. Xueyan Cao from Donghua University in Shanghai joined us for a one-year stay as a China Scholarship Council-supported visiting scholar! Welcome Xueyan!

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Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology


Northeastern University


360 Huntington Avenue


Boston, MA 02115


​​Email: k.zhang (at) Office: 617-373-7089

Last Updated: Feb 2020