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Prof. ZHANG Na





Principal Investigator

Education Background



Structural Biology



Visit the website of Dr. ZHANG Na's laboratory 


Biography & Introduction

ZHANG Na received his B.S. degree in chemistry from Chemistry Department of Nankai University in 1989, his M.S. degree in organic synthesis from Chemistry Department of Brigham Young University in 1999, and his Ph.D. degree in biochemistry & structural biology from Cornell University Graduate School of Medical Sciences in 2005. Subsequently he pursued a two-year postdoc fellowship at BCMP Department, Harvard Medical School and then a four-year HHMI postdoc fellow as a research associate at Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard Medical School. In 2012, Na joined High Magnetic Field Laboratory, Chinese Academy of Sciences in Hefei as an associate professor and was promoted to a full professor a year later.

During his Ph.D. study and postdoctoral work, Na has been applying NMR to identify the interactions between carcinogenic small molecules binding with DNA/RNA; to solve 3D structures of DNA-drug complex and the higher order DNA architectures of G-quadruplex formed by guanine-rich sequences, including the fragment of human telomeric DNA repeats; and to characterize the self-chemical replication of nucleic acid systems which function as a key component of a primitive cell in origin of life.

Currently in ZHANG Na's group, nucleic acid structural biology is the main scheme. In particular, the solution NMR will be used as a primary tool to understand the structure, dynamics and function of biologically significant RNA and DNA, as well as their corresponding complexes interacted with protein or small molecule ligand.


Postdoc/assistant professor/associate professor positions are available. Postdocs, Ph.D and M.D students with strong background in biology, chemistry are very welcome, especially with hand-on experiences in macromolecular NMR, structural biology and/or RNA/DNA biology are highly preferred. If interested, please send your CV to




Selected Publications

  1. Zhang N, Phan A, Patel D. (3+1) assembly of three human telomeric DNA repeats into an asymmetrical dimeric G-quadruplex. J Am Chem Soc. (2005) 127, p17277-17285.
  2. Zhang N, Zhang SL, Szostak JW. Activated ribonucleotides undergo a sugar pucker switch upon binding to a single-stranded RNA template. J Am Chem Soc. (2012) 134, p3691-3694.
  3. Zhang S, Zhang N, Blain JC, Szostak JW. Synthesis of N3′-P5′-linked Phosphoramidate DNA by Nonenzymatic Template-Directed Primer Extension. J Am Chem Soc. (2013), 135, p924-932.
  4. Trevino S, Zhang N, Elenko M, Lupták A, Szostak JW. Evolution of functional nucleic acids in the presence of nonheritable backbone heterogeneity. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA (2011) 108, p13492-13497.
  5. Zhu TF, Adamala K, Zhang N, Szostak JW. Photochemically driven redox chemistry induces protocell membrane pearling and division. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA (2012) 109, p9828-9832.
  6. Khutsishvili I, Zhang N, Marky LA, Crean C, PatelDJ, Geacintov NE, Shafirovich V. Thermodynamic profiles and nuclear magnetic resonance studies of oligonucleotide duplexes containing single diastereomeric spiroiminodihydantoin lesions. Biochemistry. (2013) 52, p1354-1363.
  7. Zhang N, Ding S, Kolbanovskiy A, Shastry A, Kuzmin VA, Bolton JL, Patel DJ, Broyde S, Geacintov NE. NMR and computational studies of stereoisomeric equine estrogen-derived DNA cytidine adducts in oligonucleotide duplexes: opposite orientations of diastereomeric forms. Biochemistry (2009) 48, p7098-7109.
  8. Zhang N, Lin Y, Xiao Z, Jones GB, Goldberg IH. Solution structure of a designed spirocyclic helical ligand binding at a two-base bulge site in DNA. Biochemistry (2007) 46, p4793-4803.
  9. Xiao Z, Zhang N, Lin Y, Jones GB, and Goldberg IH. Spirocyclic helical compounds as binding agents for bulged RNA, including HIV-2 TAR, Chem. Commun. (2006) 42, p4431-4433.
  10. Zhang N, Chin L, Patel D. Methylation of cytosine in a C-[BP]G sequence context selectively switches the conformation of (-)-trans-anti-[BP]G adduct, but not its (+)-trans-anti counterpart, from a minor groove alignment of the BP adduct, to intercalation with base displacement alignment. J Mol Biol. (2005) 346, p951-965.
  11. Zhang N, Gorin A, Patel D. Dimeric DNA quadruplex containing major groove-aligned A-T-A-T and G-C-G-C tetrads stabilized by inter-subunit Watson-Crick A-T and G-C pairs. J Mol Biol. (2001) 312, p1073-1088.
  12. Zhang N, Gorin A, Patel D. V-shaped scaffold: a new architectural motif identified in an A?(G?G?G?G) pentad-containing dimeric DNA quadruplex involving stacked G(anti)?G(anti)?G(anti)?G(syn) tetrads. J Mol Biol. (2001) 311, p1063-1079.