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Professor Zhen Huang from Georgia State University visited IBP and gave the Shizhang Bei Lecture

Updated: 2015-06-10

On June 8, 2015, Zhen Huang, Professor of Georgia State University, visited Institute of Biophysics, Chinese Academy of Sciences and gave the Shizhang Bei Lecture  entitled “Selenium Nucleic Acids for Chemical and Structural Biology” in the library. Professor Yanli Wang hosted this lecture, and many researchers and graduate students participated this interesting report.
Professor Zhen Huang got his PhD degree from Swiss Federal Institute of Technology and then pursued a postdoctoral training in Professor Jack Szostak’ lab at Harvard Medical School. Now he is the professor in the Department of Chemistry, Georgia State University. Professor Zhen Huang pioneered and developed atom-specific substitution of nucleic acid oxygen with selenium, which can be used as an atomic probe for structure and function studies of nucleic acids

During his lecture, Professor Zhen Huang gave a brief introduction of substitution of nucleic acid oxygen with selenium. As oxygen and selenium are in the same elemental family, the atom specific substitution by replacing nucleotide oxygen with selenium or tellurium has revealed novel chemistry, structure, function and mechanism of nucleic acids and their protein complexes. Professor Zhen Huang also demonstrated that selenium-nucleic acid (SeNA) strategy has great potentials as a general methodology for structure and function studies of RNAs as well as their protein complexes. Moreover, Professor Zhen Huang’ group found that the Se-derivatized RNAs have virtually identical structures to the corresponding natives and the Se-derivatization can facilitate crystallization, phase determination, and high-resolution structure determination. Recently, Professor Huang’s group has determined a RNA/DNA-protein complex via the nucleic acid Se-derivatization and proved that this approach can served as a very useful tool for structural biology research.

This lecture was inspiring and very impressive for all the audience. After the lecture, Professor Zhen Huang and the audience shared their views and interests on the issues of both concern.

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