Wei Zhang

Picture of Wei Zhang

Wei Zhang

Cryo-electron Microscopy Specialist, Cryo-TEM on bio and soft materials, tomography/3D reconstruction


Nils Hasselmo Hall
Room 1-236
312 Church St SE
Minneapolis, MN 55455


  • Ph.D. in Structural Biology, Purdue University
  • M.S. in Computer Science, Purdue University
  • M.S. in Biophysics, Institute of Biophysics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, China
  • B.S. in Biophysics, Nankai University, China

Professional Background

  • 2020: Research Professor, Department of Diagnostic and Biological Sciences
  • 2016 - 2020: Research Associate Professor, Department of Diagnostic and Biological Sciences
  • 2008 - 2016: Research Assistant Professor, Department of Diagnostic and Biological Sciences, School of Dentistry
  • 2008 - present: Cryo-electron microscopy specialist, Characterization Facility, College of Science and Engineering; Research Assistant Professor, Institute for Molecular Virology, Department of Diagnostic and Biological Sciences, School of Dentistry, University of Minnesota
  • 2004 - 2008: Associate Research Scientist, Department of Biological Sciences, Purdue University
  • 2002 - 2004: Assistant Research Scientist, Department of Biological Sciences, Purdue University
  • 2001 - 2002: Postdoctoral Research Scientist with Dr. Timothy S. Baker, Purdue University
  • 1996 - 2001: Graduate Research Assistant, Department of Biological Sciences, Purdue University
  • 1994 - 1996: Graduate Teaching Assistant, Department of Psychological Sciences, Purdue University
  • 1992 - 1994: Research Associate, Department of Neurobiology, Institute of Biophysics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, China


Dr. Wei Zhang is the Characterization Facility lead Research Associate active in cryo-TEM on biological and soft materials systems. She oversees the new FEI F30 FEG TEM in Nils Hasselmo Hall. Her principal activity will include cryo-TEM of biological and soft synthetic materials and electron tomography.

Dr. Zhang holds a joint position as a Research Professor, in the Department of Diagnostic and Biological Sciences within the University of Minnesota's School of Dentistry. Her research program focuses on the fundamental mechanisms of virus assembly and virus-cell interaction.

Selected Publications

  • Guefrachi ,Y., G. Sharma, D. Xu, G. Kumar, K.P. Vinter, O.A. Abdelrahman, X. Li, S. Alhassan, P.J. Dauenhauer, A. Navrotsky, W. Zhang and M. Tsapatsis (2020) Steam-Induced Coarsening of Single-Unit-Cell MFI Zeolite Nanosheets and Its Effect on External Surface Brønsted Acid Catalysis. Angew Chem Int Ed Engl PubMed PMID: 32115827.
  • Bhatt, V., K. Shi, D.J. Salamango, N.H. Moeller, K.K. Pandey, S. Bera, T.E. Bohl, F. Kurniawan, K. Orellana, W. Zhang, D.P. Grandgenett, R.S. Harris, A.C. Sundborger-Lunna and H. Aihara (2020) Structural basis of host protein hijacking in human T-cell leukemia virus integration. Nat Commun. 11(1):3121. PMID: 32561747; PMCID: PMC7305164.
  • Zhang, W., L.M. Mendonça, and L.M. Mansky (2018) The retrovirus Capsid Core. Virus Protein and Nucleoprotein Complexes. Edited by J. Robin Harris and David Bhella. Springer. ISBN 978-981-10-8456-0.
  • Shang, J., Y. Zheng, Y. Yang, C. Liu, Q. Geng, W. Tai, L. Du, Y. Zhou, W. Zhang W and F. Li (2018) Cryo-Electron Microscopy Structure of Porcine Deltacoronavirus Spike Protein in the Prefusion State. Journal of virology. 92(4). PMID:29070693, PMCID: PMC5790952
  • Martin, J.L., L.M. Mendonça, I. Angert, J.D. Mueller, W. Zhang, L.M. Mansky (2017) Disparate Contributions of Human Retrovirus Capsid Subdomains to Gag-Gag Oligomerization, Virus Morphology, and Particle Biogenesis. Journal of virology. 91(14). PMID: 28446667, PMCID: PMC5487576
  • Christenson, J.K., M.R. Jensen, B.R. Goblirsch, F. Mohamed, W. Zhang, C.M. Wilmot, L.P. Wackett (2017) Active Multienzyme Assemblies for Long-Chain Olefinic Hydrocarbon Biosynthesis. Journal of Bacteriology. 199(9). PMID: 28223313, PMCID: PMC5388818
  • Maldonado, J.O., S. Cao, W. Zhang, L.M. Mansky (2016) Distinct Morphology of Human T-Cell Leukemia Virus Type 1-Like Particles. Viruses. 8(5). PMID:27187442, PMCID: PMC4885087 
  • Cao, S., J.O. Maldonado, I.F. Grigsby, L.M. Mansky and W. Zhang (2015) Analysis of human T-cell leukemia virus type 1 particles by using cryo-electron tomography. J. Virol. 89:2430-2435. PMID: 25473052. PMC4338869.
  • Zhang, W., S. Cao, J.L. Martine, J.D. Muller and L.M. Mansky (2015) Morphology and ultrastructure of retrovirus particles. AIMS Biophys. 2(3): 343-369. 
  • Cao, S., M. Saha, W. Zhao, P. Jardine, W. Zhang, S. Grimes, and M.C. Morai (2014) Insights into the structure and assembly of the bacteriophage Φ29 dsDNA packaging motor. J. Virol. 88:3986-3996. PMID: 24403593. PMC3993773.
  • Cao, S. and W. Zhang (2013) Characterization of an Early-Stage Membrane Fusion Intermediate of Sindbis Virus using Cryo-electron Microscopy. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S. A. 110: 13362-13367. PMID: 23898184. PMC3746934. 
  • Kadiu, I, P. Narayanasamy, P. K. Dash, W. Zhang and H.E. Gendelman (2012) Biochemical and Biological Characterization of Exosomes and Microvesicles as Facilitators of HIV-1 Infection in Macrophages. J Immunology. 189: 744-754. PMID: 22711894. PMC3786185 
  • Zhang, W., B. Kaufmann, P.R. Chipman, R.J. Kuhn and M.G. Rossmann (2013) Membrane Curvature in Flaviviruses. J.  Strut. Biol. 183: 86-94. PMID: 23602814. PMC4091808.  
  • Yu, I.-M., W. Zhang, H.A. Holdaway, L. Li, V.A. Kostyuchenko, P.R. Chipman, R. J. Kuhn, M.G. Rossmann and J. Chen (2008) Structure of immature dengue virus at low pH primes proteolytic maturation. Science. 319: 1834-1837. PMID18369148. 
  • Zhang, W., P.R. Chipman, J. Corver, P.R. Johnson, Y.Zhang, S. Mukhopadhyay, T.S. Baker, J.H. Strauss, M.G. Rossmann and R.J. Kuhn. (2003) Visualization of membrane protein domains by cryo- electron microscopy of dengue virus.  Nat. Struct. Biol.  10: 907-912. PMID 14528291. PMC4148076.