• Research

    We are engineering enzymes for advanced biomanufacturing.

    Enzymes are specialized proteins within living cells that are tasked with performing chemical reactions. They play not only a central role in physiological processes, but also essential catalysts in industrial biotransformation, laundry detergents, clinical diagnosis, etc. Recent developments in materials science, nanotechnology and synthetic biology are advancing the applications of enzymes from the aqueous condition to non-aqueous conditions, from a single enzymatic reaction to multienzyme reactions, and from catalysis to smart, programmable and controllable applications. Engineering enzymes for practical applications will reshape many traditional processes (such as pharmaceutical, food industry, environmental remediation, etc) toward greener, smarter and more efficient processes.

    Enzyme Engineering and Immobilization

    Frequently native enzymes are not suitable for industrial or clinical use due to their low activity and/or stability. We engineer enzymes through rational mutation and immobilization to improve their activity, stability and reusability. Usually, the incorporation of functional supporting materials renders enzymes with new properties in addition to catalysis and thus opens new avenues for advanced applications. The obtained enzyme catalysts are applied to the synthesis of fine chemicals or biosensing.

    Interfacial Enzyme Catalysis

    The implementation of enzymes at interfaces (e.g. air-water, water-oil, water-solid interfaces) is of particular interest when dealing with insoluble substrates such as oils, lignocelluloses, plastics and so forth. The catalytic behaviors of enzymes at the interfaces are often different from that in bulk solutions. We try to understand the mechanism of interfacial enzymatic catalysis from aspects of structural changes of proteins and the interplay between reaction and diffusion.

    Multienzyme and Chemoenzymatic Catalysis

    Cascade reactions catalyzed by multiple enzymes (or sometimes combined with organic synthesis) hold new opportunities in biotransformation and have attracted interest from both academia and industry. Our research focuses on both understandings of cascade reaction kinetics and the construction of high-efficiency multienzyme processes. We are also interested in constructing enzyme reaction networks capable of performing emergent, programmable and predictable functions.

    Flow-Chemistry for Biocatalysis

    Continuous-flow biocatalysis is the state-of-the-art in the synthesis of pharmaceuticals, chiral intermediates, and other high-value-added chemicals. Enzymes are often immobilization and placed in packed bed reactors, and the starting materials and reagents are continuously flown through the reactors with pumping systems. In this way, reaction and separation can take place simultaneously, thus enormously simplifying and intensifying the process.

  • Members

    We are a group of youths for innovation, entertainment, and most importantly, self-development.


    Yifei Zhang

    Principal Investigator


    Beijing University of Chemical Technology


    2015—2020, Postdoctoral Research Scientist, Columbia University, NYC, NY, USA

    2010—2015, Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering, Tsinghua University, Beijing, China

    2006—2010, B.S. in Chemical Engineering, Tsinghua University, Beijing, China

    张一飞,北京化工大学教授,博士生导师,国家海外高层次人才计划青年项目入选者,国家重点研发计划青年项目首席科学家。清华大学化学工程系学士(2010)、博士(2015),美国哥伦比亚大学博士后(2015-2020),2020年底加入北京化工大学、北京软物质科学与工程高精尖创新中心。长期从事生物催化、固定化酶以及多酶体系反应动力学的基础和应用研究,致力于为绿色生物催化过程提供催化剂制备方案和过程控制方法。在Nature Catalysis (封面)、Nature Communications、Nature Reviews Chemistry、ACS Central Science、ACS Catalysis、ACS Nano等高水平期刊发表论文40余篇,授权专利3项。部分研究成果被中国国际电视台CGTN、The Conversation、Phys.org、Inkjet Wholesale News等知名媒体以及官方博客如 In The Pipeline、Columbia Engineering等报道。 担任Science, JACS, ACS Catalysis等学术期刊审稿人。2019年在Publons全球审稿人数据库中被评为生物与生物化学领域的前1% 审稿人。凭借其在生物催化领域做出的系列工作,获得美国2020年布拉瓦尼克区域青年科学家奖最终提名奖(Finalist of the 2020 Blavatnik Regional Awards For Young Scientists)。

    Graduate Students

    Hao Xing


    PhD Student (2021)

    Zhenkun Zhang


    PhD Student (2021)

    Ning Nie


    PhD Student (2021)

    Guozheng Zhu


    Master Student (2020)

    Ziyi Tong


    Master Student (2021)

    Xinwei Li


    Master Student (2021)

    Yujing Ding


    PhD Student (2022)

    Shengyan Hou


    Master Student (2022)

    Yinchen Zhang


    Master Student (2020)

    Ekram Akram


    Master Student (2021)

    Wenhao Meng


    PhD Student (2022)

    Shanshan Zhang


    PhD Student (2022)

    Yunzhenshan Gao


    Master Student (2022)

    Ziye Zhao


    Master Student (2021)

    Yongjie Wang


    Master Student (2021)

    Chaosheng Peng


    PhD Student (2022)

    Yujin Xia


    Master Student (2022)

    Undergraduate Students


    Haoran Wang (2021)

  • Publications

    We gain insights and knowledge through research!

    2021 - now

    Yifei Zhang*. A relay for improving the catalytic efficiency and thermostability of PET hydrolases. Chem Catalysis, 2022, 2, 2420-2422. DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.checat.2022.09.029

    Yifei Zhang, Henry Hess*. Converting microscale linear to rotary motion in kinesin-powered systems. Supramolecular Materials. 2022, 1, 100022. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.supmat.2022.100022

    Yan Xiong, Stanislav Tsitkov, Henry Hess, Oleg Gang*, Yifei Zhang*. Microscale colocalization of cascade enzymes yields activity enhancement. ACS Nano, 2022, 16, 10383

    Chang Ge, Zheng Yu, Huakang Sheng, Xiaolin Shen, Xinxiao Sun, Yifei Zhang, Yajun Yan, Jia Wang*, Qipeng Yuan* Redesigning regulatory components of quorum-sensing system for diverse metabolic control. Nature Communications. 2022, 13, 2182.

    Yinchen Zhang, Ning Nie, Yifei Zhang*. Toward modular construction of cell-free multienzyme systems. Chinese Journal of Catalysis. 2022, 43 (7), 1749-1760.

    Yifei Zhang*, Yunzhenshan Gao, You Yong, Lectin-mediated coimmobilization of cascade glycoenzymes, Methods in Molecular Biology, 2022, 2487, 189–195.

    Yifei Zhang*, Henry Hess*. Chemically powered swimming and diffusion in the microscopic world. Nature Reviews Chemistry, 2021, 5, 500–510.

    Yifei Zhang*, Henry Hess*. Actuating macroscopic machines with nanoscopic engines, Matter, 2021, 4, 1-2.

    Before 2020

    Yifei Zhang*, Henry Hess. Inhibitors in commercially available 2,2'-azino-bis(3-ethylbenzothiazoline-6- sulfonate) affect enzymatic assays, Analytical Chemistry, 2020, 92, 1502–1510.

    Stanislav Tsitkov, Yuchen Song, Juan B Rodriguez III, Yifei Zhang, Henry Hess*. Kinesin-Recruiting Microtubules Exhibit Collective Gliding Motion while Forming Motor Trails. ACS Nano, 2020, 14, 16547–16557.

    Yifei Zhang*, Henry Hess. Microenvironmental engineering: an effective strategy for tailoring enzymatic activities. Chinese Journal of Chemical Engineering, 2020, 28, 2028-2036 (Invited contribution to the Special Issue on Biocatalysis).

    Yifei Zhang, Henry Hess*. Enhanced diffusion of catalytically active enzymes. ACS Central Science, 2019, 5, 939-948.

    Weina Xu, Zhongwang Fu, Gong Chen, Zheyu Wang, Yupei Jian, Yifei Zhang, Guoqiang Jiang, Diannan Lu, Jianzhong Wu, Zheng Liu*. Graphene oxide enabled long-term enzymatic transesterification in an anhydrate gas flux. Nature Communications, 2019, 10, 2684.

    Yifei Zhang, Megan J. Armstrong, Neda M. Bassir Kazeruni, Henry Hess*. Aldolase does not show enhanced diffusion in dynamic light scattering experiments. Nano Letters, 2018, 18, 8025–8029.

    Yifei Zhang, Stanislav Tsitkov, Henry Hess*. Complex dynamics in a two-enzyme reaction network with substrate competition, Nature Catalysis, 2018, 1, 276–281.

    Amy Tsui-Chi Lam, Stanislav Tsitkov, Yifei Zhang, Henry Hess*. Reversibly bound kinesin-1 motor proteins propelling microtubules demonstrate dynamic recruitment of active building blocks. Nano Letters, 2018, 18, 1530–1534.

    You Yong, Rui Su, Xuerun Liu, Weina Xu, Yifei Zhang, Rui Wang, Pingkai Ouyang, Jianzhong Wu, Jun Ge*, Zheng Liu*. Lectin corona enhances enzymatic catalysis on the surface of magnetic nanoparticles. Biochemical Engineering Journal, 2018, 129, 26–32.

    Yifei Zhang, and Henry Hess*. Toward rational design of high-efficiency enzyme cascade. ACS Catalysis, 2017, 7, 6018–6027.

    Yifei Zhang, Qin Wang, Henry Hess*. Increasing enzyme cascade throughput by pH-engineering the microenvironment of individual enzymes. ACS Catalysis, 2017, 7, 2047–2051.

    Yifei Zhang, Stanislav Tsitkov, Henry Hess*. Proximity does not contribute to activity enhancement in the glucose oxidase-horseradish peroxidase cascade. Nature Communications, 2016, 7, 13982.

    Yifei Zhang#, You Yong#, Jun Ge, Zheng Liu*. Lectin agglutinated multienzyme catalyst with enhanced substrate affinity and activity. ACS Catalysis, 2016, 6, 3789−3795.

    Oda Yuki, Yifei Zhang, Jun Ge, Zheng Liu*. Epoxidation of fatty acids by pluronic-conjugated lipase in organic media. Catalysis Letters, 2016, 146, 1073−1078.

    Hou Miao, Rui Wang, Xiaoling Wu, Yifei Zhang, Jun Ge*, Zheng Liu. Synthesis of lutein esters by using a reusable lipase-pluronic conjugate as the catalyst. Catalysis Letters, 2016, 145, 1825−1829.

    Yifei Zhang, Jun Ge*, Zheng Liu*. Enhanced activity of immobilized or chemically modified enzymes. ACS Catalysis, 2015, 5, 4503−4513. (Invited Review, ESI highly cited paper)

    Highlighted by Prof. Christopher W. Jones, the Editor-in-Chief of ACS Catalysis, this paper was among the most cited papers in ACS Catalysis with corresponding authors from China. Also, it was the most cited paper in biocatalysis and enzymology by Feburary 2020.

    For more details: ACS Catalysis Highlights Its Most Cited Papers from Around the Globe: China


    ACS Catal. 2020, 10, 4, 2762–2763.


    张一飞,戈钧*,刘铮. 基于刺激响应性高分子的智能酶催化剂研究进展. 高分子通报, 2015, 9, 198−209.

    Xiaoling Wu, Jun Ge*, Jingying Zhu, Yifei Zhang, You Yong, Zheng Liu*. A general method for synthesizing enzyme-polymer conjugates in reverse emulsions using pluronic as a reactive surfactant. Chemical Communications, 2015, 51, 9674−9677.

    Zongjun Li, Yifei Zhang, Diannan Lu*, Zheng Liu*, Uniform mPEG-b-PMETAC enables pH-responsive delivery of insulin. Journal of Applied Polymer Science, 2015, 132, 42596.

    Yifei Zhang, Fengjiao Lyu, Jun Ge*, Zheng Liu*. Ink-jet printing an optimal multi-enzyme system. Chemical Communications, 2014, 50, 12919−12922. (Highlighted by Chemical Communications Blog; Reported by news outlets such as The Conversation, Phys.org, Inkjet Wholesale News and etc.)

    Rui Wang, Miao Hou, Yifei Zhang, Jun Ge*, Zheng Liu*. Enzymatic Synthesis of Lutein Dipalmitate in Organic Solvents. Catalysis Letters, 2015, 145, 995–999.

    Fengjiao Lyu, Yifei Zhang, Richard N. Zare, Jun Ge*, and Zheng Liu*. One-pot synthesis of protein-embedded metal-organic frameworks with enhanced biological activities. Nano Letters, 2014, 14, 5761–5765. (ESI highly cited paper)

    Zhixian Li, Yifei Zhang, Yechao Su, Pingkai Ouyang, Jun Ge*, Zheng Liu*. Spatial co-localization of multi-enzymes by inorganic nanocrystal-protein complexes. Chemical Communications, 2014, 50, 12465.

    Rui Wang, Yifei Zhang, Jun Ge*, Zheng Liu*. Activation of enzyme nanogel in organic solvents by PEG-substrate joint imprinting. RSC Advances, 2014, 4, 40301−40304.

    Xiaoling Wu, Rui Wang, Yifei Zhang, Jun Ge*, Zheng Liu*. Enantioselective ammonolysis of phenylglycine methyl ester with lipase–pluronic nanoconjugate in tertiary butanol. Catalysis Letters, 2014, 144, 1407−1410.

    Yifei Zhang, Qile Chen, Jun Ge* and Zheng Liu*. Controlled display of enzyme activity with a stretchable hydrogel. Chemical Communications, 2013, 49, 9815−9817.

    Yifei Zhang, Kehang Han, Diannan Lu* and Zheng Liu*. Reversible encapsulation of lysozyme within mPEG-b-PMAA: experimental observation and molecular dynamics simulation. Soft Matter, 2013, 9, 8723−8729.

    Yifei Zhang, Yang Dai, Miao Hou, Tian Li, Jun Ge*, Zheng Liu*. Chemo-enzymatic synthesis of valrubicin using pluronic conjugated lipase with temperature responsiveness in organic media. RSC Advances, 2013, 3, 22963−22966.

    Jingying Zhu, Yifei Zhang, Diannan Lu, Richard N. Zare, Jun Ge*, and Zheng Liu*. Temperature-responsive enzyme-polymer nanoconjugates with enhanced catalytic activities in organic media. Chemical Communications, 2013, 49, 6090−6092.

    Rui Wang, Yifei Zhang, Jinhai Huang, Diannan Lu, Jun Ge* and Zheng Liu*. Substrate imprinted lipase nanogel for one-step synthesis of chloramphenicol palmitate. Green Chemistry, 2013, 15, 1155−1158.

    Rui Wang, Yifei Zhang, Diannan Lu, Jun Ge*, Zheng Liu*, Richard N. Zare*. Functional protein- organic/inorganic hybrid nanomaterials. Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Nanomedicine and Nanobiotechnology, 2013, 5, 320−328.

    Zhixian Li, Yifei Zhang, Pingkai Ouyang, Mengmeng Lin, Jun Ge*, and Zheng Liu*. Lipase-catalyzed one-step and regioselective synthesis of clindamycin palmitate. Organic Process Research & Development, 2013, 17, 1179−1182.

    Lin Zhu, Lu Gong, Yifei Zhang, Rui Wang, Jun Ge*, Zheng Liu*, Richard N. Zare*. Rapid detection of phenol using a membrane containing laccase nanoflowers. Chemistry–An Asian Journal, 2013, 8, 2358−2360.

    Mengmeng Lin, Diannan Lu, Jingying Zhu, Cheng Yang, Yifei Zhang and Zheng Liu*. Magnetic enzyme nanogel (MENG): a universal synthetic route for biocatalysts. Chemical Communications, 2012, 48, 3315−3317.

  • Lab News

    News, media, and updates


    Jan 1, 2023, Wish everyone a healthy, happy, and prosperous new year!


    October 14, 2022, Congratulations to Yinchen Zhang for receiving the National Scholarship for Graduate Students.

    September 1 2022 - The Zhang Group warmly welcomes all fresh graduates!

    August 1 - 4, 2022 - Yinchen Zhang won the Best Poster Award in the 5th Young Scholar Forum of Biochemical Engineering (第五届生物化工青年学者论坛暨第十届生物化工技术创新及产业发展研讨会), Congratulations! 

    July 26 - 27, 2022 - The 2022 China-US Symposium on metabolic engineering and green manufacturing was held virtually. Prof. Yifei Zhang Chaired the first session of the wonderful event.

    July 10, 2022 - Prof. Zhang gave an invited talk at the 1st Western China Symposium on the Internatinal Frontier of Synthetic Biomanufacturing, and won the Excellent Presentation Award.

    June 2022 - The protocol paper by Yifei Zhang, Yunzhenshan Gao and You Yong has been online.

    May 2022 - The paper that we collaborated with Prof Gang from Columbia University has been accepted by ACS Nano. Congratulations to Dr. Xiong and Dr. Tsitkov! This paper was featured as a supplementary Cover in ACS Nano.

    May 2022 - A review paper entitled "Toward modular construction of cell-free multienzyme systems" was published online in Chinese Journal of Catalysis. Congratulations to Yinchen and Ning Nie!

    March 2022 - The commencement of the project 2021YFC2104100 supported by the National Key R&D Program was held. The Advisory Committee is composed of 17 experts including 14 academicians.

    Jan 2022 - Prof. Zhang was appointed as a member of editorial board for Food Bioengineering!


    December 2021 - As the project leader, Prof. Yifei Zhang successfully won the National Key R&D funding for Young Scientists, rank 1/15. We thank our collaborators Prof. Yunting Liu from HEBUT and Prof. Hui Li from NJUT.

    October 2021 - Dr. Tao Cai was invited by Prof. Yifei Zhang to give a talk at BUCT, introducing his latest Science paper Cell-free chemoenzymatic starch synthesis from carbon dioxide.

    September 2021 - The vedio Meet the Chemistry Honorees of the 2020 Blavatnik Regional Honorees was released, please check on the official website at http://blavatnikawards.org/honorees/profile/yifei-zhang/ (which is on YouTube).

    September 2021 - Prof. Yifei Zhang participated in The Science and Technology in Society forum (2021 STS forum) virtually.

    September 2021 - Hao Xing, Zhenkun Zhang, Ning Nie, Yongjie Wang, Ziyi Tong, Ziye Zhao and Ekram Akram joined the lab!

    August 2021 - Prof. Zhang received his first NSFC grand!

    July 2021 - Prof. Yifei Zhang was appointed as a doctoral supervisor.

    May 2021 - Zhang and Hess published a Perspective in Nature Review Chemistry.

    March 2021 - Together with Professor Henry Hess, we published a Preview in Matter.

    Feb 2021 - Guozheng Zhu joined the lab!


    December 2020 - Yinchen Zhang joined the lab, welcome!

    November 2020 - Dr. Yifei Zhang started his own lab, the Laboratory of Green Biocatalysis, at BUCT, although the construction took for months due to the pandemic.

    November 2020 - Dr. Yifei Zhang was appointed as Professor at Beijing University of Chemical Technology.

    October 2020 - Dr. Yifei Zhang joined in Beijing Advanced Innovation Center for Soft Matter Science and Technology, Beijing University of Chemical Technology

    September 2020 - Dr. Yifei Zhang was hornered as one of the finalist of the 2020 Blavatnik Regional Award for Young Scientists.

    In the Media

    软物质高精尖中心张一飞教授在《Nature Reviews Chemistry》和《Matter》期刊发表综述和评论

    张一飞教授与Henry Hess教授合作,系统地总结了微观世界中化学反应驱动的扩散或泳动现象的尺寸效应,讨论了常见的微纳机器自推动的机制,辨析了以酶为代表的生物大分子的扩散增强现象。

    Meet the Chemistry Honorees of the 2020 Blavatnik Regional Honorees

    Recognizing the Tri-State area’s most talented and promising postdoctoral researchers, the Blavatnik Regional Awards named three honorees in the chemistry category.

    Chinese scientists bag all Chemistry accolades in New York Awards

    This year, Chinese scientists swept the regional chemistry division that covers New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, taking the top prize as well as two finalist positions.

    Now you can turn your inkjet printer into a chemistry lab and use it to diagnose diabetes

    Also see Chinese Innovators Use Colour Printers to Study Biochemical Processes in Inkjet Wholesale News.

  • Join Us

    We are seeking creative and energetic researchers!


    Postdoctoral Position

    We have 1-2 postdoctoral positions available. Doctors with a degree of chemical engineering, bioengineering, biochemistry, chemistry, synthetic biology or related fields are encouraged to apply.




       (1)“博学”青年学者:用于引进各类博士后人才项目入选者,或其他具有突出业绩和发展潜力的青年人才,基础年薪税前 50 万元。“博学”青年学者可突破年限等要求,根据出站考核情况,给以编制留校或按照青年后备或高端人才引进。

       (2)普通博士后:分为 A、B、C 三类,基础年薪分别为税前25、20、18万,本实验室将根据工作能力和贡献提供额外丰厚补贴;博士后人员在站期间取得突出成绩,满足学校公开招聘专任教师任职条件者,可优先聘任至校内相应岗位。


    Faculty or Stuff

    Interested in joining us as a new faculty member or administrative professional? We currently have one faculty position (lecturer, assistant professor or associate professor) available. The applicants should meet the employment standards of Beijing University of Chemical Technology. The interview will be conducted by the Talent Introduction Office and the office of Innovation Center.


  • Contact

    Thank you for your interest in our research. Please feel free to contact!