Zuoyu Zhang

Doctoral candidate at Institute of Chemical Research of Catalonia (ICIQ)

About me

I got my Bachelor of Science at the Northeast Forestry University in China. During my undergraduate academic study, I was obsessed with courses of organic chemistry, inorganic chemistry, and physicochemical chemistry. These courses equipped me with a basic understanding and insight into chemistry. The degradation of Congo red dye by BiVO4 became the research topic for my thesis, which I later turned into an article published in a Chinese magazine.

Later, I got the opportunity to pursue my MSc studies at the Shanghai Institute of Organic Chemistry, Chinese Academy of Sciences and joined Prof. Shu-Li You’s group. At the institute, I acquired knowledge of metal-organic chemistry, physical organic chemistry, asymmetric synthesis and other disciplines, which helped me to better understand organic chemistry. My Master’s thesis mainly focused on Rh-catalyzed asymmetric sp3 C-H arylation. Because I majored in materials and chemical engineering, I also did some work in materials, mainly synthesising organic optoelectronic materials.

What I expect from the BREAKthrough project is, first of all, to learn about skills in biology and chemical biology and to ultimately obtain my PhD. I also hope to synthesise molecules with potential drug activity, which will allow me to predict the drug activity of lead compounds based on their structural characteristics. Meanwhile, I look forward to communicating with experts and professors from different sectors.

About my project
DC08: Synthesis of innovative Bam inhibitors passing the OM

In this project, the synthesis of compounds permeable through the cell wall of gram-negative bacteria will be carried out, offering a significant step forward in overcoming antimicrobial resistance. The main objectives of this organic synthesis project are to deconvolute known Bam inhibitors into fragments and incorporate SPPR for design of novel compounds, synthesise key small compounds to inhibit Bam, and support the generation of the SPPR library.