Jack Zhang, PhD, BS

Assistant Professor of Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry

Research Interests

Algorithms; Automatic Data Processing; Axonal Transport; Axonemal Dyneins; Axoneme; Axons; Biochemistry; Biophysics; Chlamydomonas; Cilia; Ciliary Motility Disorders; Cryoelectron Microscopy; Cytoskeleton; Dyneins; Flagella; Image Processing, Computer-Assisted; Imaging, Three-Dimensional; Machine Learning; Microscopy, Electron; Microscopy, Fluorescence; Microtubules; Molecular Biology; Nervous System Diseases; Protein Conformation; Protein Structure, Tertiary; Signal Processing, Computer-Assisted; Tetrahymena thermophila; Tomography

Research Summary

We long to understand why living cells are alive. The dream is to make clear how lifeless biomolecules work together to give birth to the real life of living cells and eventually form a meaningful organism. We believe the secret lies in the fundamental fact that the Life is eternally dynamic, moving hither and thither in a pre-programmed, interactive and highly regulable way. This is true from individual molecules to a whole cell and from the cells to the whole human body. Motor proteins are the ultimate performers that convert chemical energy to the Life's dynamic movement. 

Our lab focuses on the structural mechanisms of motor proteins and cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM) methods. The long-term aim is to elucidate the molecular mechanisms of motor-mediated high-level cellular activities from the very basic structural perspectives at atomic details. We are particularly interested in dyneins (and the related protein complexes) for their fascinating roles in intracellular/intraflagellar transport, cell division, organelle positioning, cell motility, neurodevelopment, neurodegeneration, viral infection and their elaborate mechanisms of regulation. In addition to dynein mechanisms and currently available techniques, we are also passionate about cryo-EM/ET methods development and interdisciplinary researches in depth in order to break the technical barriers to visualize atomic structures of large protein complexes as dynamic machinery both in vitro and in situ.

Selected Publications

Edit this profile


Yong Xiong

Contact Info

Jack Zhang, PhD, BS
Mailing Address
Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry266 Whitney Avenue
Bass Center 322

New Haven, CT 06511
An autoinhibition and activation mechanism of dynein-1

For details, see Zhang et al. Cell 2017, 169:1303-1314

A brief view of cryo-EM flow chart

A brief view of cryo-EM flow chart