The Zhang Group

@ Northeastern University        

Polymer chemistry research at the bio-materials interface

The overarching themes of the Zhang group research include materials science, polymer chemistry, and nanobiotechnology, all of which are underpinned by synthetic chemistries. Using a range of polymerization reactions, colloidal syntheses, and bioconjugation techniques, my group will explore the interface of materials science with chemistry and biology by creating functional and hierarchical nanostructures from relatively simple starting materials.  The ultimate goal is to build a scientific base for the synthesis of complex polymeric materials with specific properties that can be applied in many areas, such as medical diagnostics and therapeutics.

RESEARCH AREAS

Novel nucleic acid Delivery Systems

Novel degradable polymers of various degradation profiles will be synthesized and characterized. These polymers will be studied in the context of sensing and drug delivery applications. In the latter, the polymer will be used to temporarily stabilize drug carriers, thus providing a possibility to regulate the drug release action in a temporally controlled fashion.

Polymer/Metal Hybrid Nanostructures for Combination Therapy

Metal nanoparticles (NPs) rapidly convert absorbed photon energy into heat. This program exploits the use of this thermal energy to control the surface chemistry of the NPs in a regiospecific fashion. Fundamental knowledge gained about these photothermal reactions will be used to design new functional, metal-polymer hybrid materials that can be used in a broad range of fields. Specifically, NPs functionalized with thermally labile polymers will be explored as agents for synergistic chemo-photothermal therapies.

Synthetic Viral Capsid Mimics as Vaccines

Polyvalent nanoparticles displaying high-density antigens will be developed for vaccination applications. We will vary key parameters thought to have impact on the vaccines’ antigenicity to maximize the potency of our constructs. The structure-activity relationship will be studied in the context of understanding basic immunobiology and improving current vaccine efficacies.

Mugar Hall, Rm 204

 

Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology

 

Northeastern University

 

360 Huntington Avenue

 

Boston, MA 02115

 

​​Email: k.zhang (at) neu.edu Office: 617-373-4415