Wei Zhang, PhD

Research Professor, Department of Diagnostic and Biological Sciences

Wei Zhang

Contact Info


Office Phone 612-624-1996

Office Address:
Diagnostic and Biological Sciences
18-165 Moos Tower
515 Delaware St SE
Minneapolis, MN 55455

Mailing Address:
School of Dentistry
Room 15-229 MoosT
515 Delaware St SE
Minneapolis, MN 55455

PhD, Purdue University (Biological Sciences)

MS, Institute of Biophysics (Biophysics)

MS, Purdue University (Computer Science)

BS, Nankai University (Biophysics)

Post Doctoral, Purdue University (Biological Sciences)


Research Summary/Interests

We use cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM), cryo-electron tomography (cryo-ET) and three-dimensional reconstruction methods to study the structural information of enveloped viruses including alphaviruses and retroviruses during the virus life cycle. Specifically we are interested in the molecular mechanism of membrane fusion driving by the viral fusion proteins at the low pH condition. We also study retrovirus assembly and maturation by examining localization and arrangement of Gag polyproteins in the immature viruses and the molecular feature of capsid cores in the mature virus particles. In addition, we develop methods that facilitate cryo-EM, cryo-ET sample preparation, data collection, image processing and data interpretation. We aim to address questions related to structure and function relationship through depicting the atomic details of key viral proteins during a number of significant biological processes. 

Research Funding Grants

NIH R21 (PI)     05/01/15-04/30/17
Capturing Alphavirus Pre-Fusion Intermediates on a TEM Grid

NIH R01 (Co-Investigator)     09/28/12-05/31/17 
PI: Louis Mansky
HTLV-1 Particle Analysis and Gag Interactions


Cao S, Maldonado JO, Grigsby IF, Mansky LM, Zhang W. Analysis of human T-cell leukemia virus type 1 particles by using cryo-electron tomography. J Virol. 2015 Feb;89(4):2430-5. PubMed PMID: 25473052; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4338869.

Zhang W, Cao S, Martin JL, Mueller JD, Mansky LM. Morphology and ultrastructure of retrovirus particles. AIMS Biophys. 2015;2(3):343-369. PubMed PMID: 26448965; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4593330.

Cao S, Zhang W. Characterization of an early-stage fusion intermediate of Sindbis virus using cryoelectron microscopy. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2013 Aug 13;110(33):13362-7. PubMed PMID: 23898184; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3746934.

Zhang W, Kaufmann B, Chipman PR, Kuhn RJ, Rossmann MG. Membrane curvature in flaviviruses. J Struct Biol. 2013 Jul;183(1):86-94. PubMed PMID: 23602814; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4091808.

Complete List of Published Work in My Bibliography: