钟老师实验室以生物灵感工程准则为主线，以当代社会所面临的健康，能源和环境等方面的重大问题为导向，致力于下一代生物灵感材料，生物纳米技术或装置的开发和实际应用。具体包括以下几方面：1）生物和非生物界面交叉问题的探索以及相关前沿技术的开发； 2）发展新型的生物灵感性材料，生物仿生纳米技术及其在医药和其他重要技术领域的应用； 3）基于分子，细胞和组织等多级别的生物灵感分子器件和装置的开发及应用。
The Zhong lab at the Materials and Physical Biology Division in the School of Physical Science & Technology (SPST) aims to leverage the power of synthetic biology to develop an integrative bio-inspired molecular engineering (IBME) program, through which new materials, nanotechnologies and devices are created by adapting and applying the ways that living organisms develop and function. The ultimate goal of our research is to create stimuli-responsive, self-regenerating and life-enhancing functional materials and devices by integrating synthetic biology, microbial engineering, materials science, nanotechnology and modern manufacturing tools.
Our current research efforts are mainly focused on structural amyloids, emerging molecular materials with attributes including intrinsic self-assembly, ultra-stability, outstanding mechanical properties and tunable functionalities. Traditionally considered as mis-folded structures relevant to several neurodegenerative diseases in mammals, amyloids have been increasingly recognized as functional building blocks in organisms. For example, they are closely associated with the catalysis of melanin synthesis in mammalian melanosomes; they also constitute the primary structural proteins in bacterial biofilms, and functional components of underwater adhesives in marine species.
Taking inspiration from biology, our research program in harnessing functional amyloids for new biomaterials and bionanotechnologies comprise four main thrusts:
(1) Living Functional Materials;
(2) Bio-inspired Underwater Adhesives;
(3) Dynamic Complex Assemblies and Biofabrication;
(4) Biofilms-interfaced Biocatalysis & Artificial Photosynthesis.
Our research is committed to advancing the emerging field of synthetic biology and pushing new frontiers in biomaterials research and bionanotechnologies.
(1) Living Functional Materials
Stay Tuned ! ：）
(2) Bio-inspired Underwater Adhesives
Stay Tuned ! ：）
(3) Dynamic Complex Assemblies and Biofabrication
Biological materials and systems are replete with diverse self-assemblies, including both non-equilibrium and equilibrium systems. Self-assemblies constitute the basis of many complex supramolecular structures, providing extraordinary functional properties and playing important physiological roles for various molecular materials and biological machines. Characteristic of such biological self-assemblies is its dynamic, adaptive, and environmentally responsive nature, providing an unparalleled potential for a future repertoire of multifunctional materials and nanotechnologies.
In mimicking the diverse complex assembling systems in nature, we leveraged the intrinsic self-assembling propensity of the FUS LC domain, along with a modular genetic strategy, to construct tailor-designed supramolecular structures with variable functionalities. We demonstrate that this integrative strategy is suitable for creating random copolymer-like, multi-block, and self-sorted supramolecular fibers that displayed distinct fluorescent functionalities and allowed the spatially controlled assembly of nano-objects in structure-dependent fashions (Illustrated in A).
(4) Biofilms-interfaced Biocatalysis & Artificial Photosynthesis
Stay Tuned ! ：）
1. 2017年10月9日 崔孟奎、任苏苏及魏世操以“Natural and Bio-inspired Underwater Adhesives: Current Progress and New Perspectives”为题的文章，被 APL Materials 接收。
3. 2017年7月2日 15级硕士研究生张琛（右三）在第三届合成生物学青年学者论坛获“优秀墙报奖”。
1. Bolin An#, Xinyu Wang#, et al. and Chao Zhong*, Diverse Supramolecular Nanofiber Networks Assembled by Functional Low-Complexity Domains. ACS Nano 2017, 11(7), 6985-6995.
2. M. K. Cui#, S.S. Ren#, S. C. Wei#, C. J. Sun and C. Zhong*, Natural and Bio-inspired Underwater Adhesives: Current Progress and New Perspectives. APL Materials 2017. (Invited Review, Accepted)
3. X. Y. Wang, Y. F. Li, C. Zhong*, Amyloid-directed assembly of nanostructures and functional devices for bionanoelectronics. Journal of Materials Chemistry B. 2015, 3, 4953-4958. (Invited mini-review).
4. A. Chen, C. Zhong, T. K. Lu. Engineering living functional Materials, ACS Synthetic Biology 2015, 4, 8-11. (Perspective paper)
5. C. Zhong, T. K. Lu et al. Strong underwater adhesives made by self-assembling multi-protein nanofibres. Nature Nanotechnology 2014, 10, 858-866. (Highlighted in MIT News, the Scientist, Science Daily, Materials Today, MRS website and others)
6. C. Zhong, Y. X. Deng, A. Kapetanovic, M. Rolandi, A polysaccharide bioprotonic field-effect transistor. Nature Communications 2011, 2, 476. (Highlighted by MIT Tech Review, IEEE Spectrum, MRS website and others).
7. C. Zhong, A.Kapetanovic, Y. X. Deng, M. Rolandi, A chitin nanofiber ink for airbrushing, replica molding and microcontact printing of self-assembled macro-, micro- and nanostructures. Advanced Materials 2011, 23, 4776-4781. (Inside cover feature)
8. C. Zhong, C.C.Chu, Biomimetic mineralization of acid polysaccharide-based hydrogels: Towards porous 3-dimensional bone-like biocomposites. Journal of Materials Chemistry 2012, 22, 6080-6087. (Highlighted in Biomimetic Materials Collection on RSC Biomaterials Science Blog).
9. C. Zhong, C. C. Chu et al., Synthesis, characterization and cytotoxicity of photo-crosslinked maleic chitosan-PEGDA hybrid hydrogels, Acta Biomaterialia, 2010, 6, 3908-3918.
10. C. Zhong, M. Rolandi et al., A facile bottom-up route to self-assembled biogenic chitin nanofibers. Soft Matter 2010, 6, 5298-5301.
(＃equal contribution * corresponding author)