Dr. Mingzi Zhang

Mingzi Zhang, Ph.D.

Assistant Investigator
Institute of Molecular and Genomic Medicine


Ph. D., Chemical Biology, Rockefeller University (2012)
B. Sc., Bacteriology with Highest Distinction, University of Wisconsin-Madison (2006)


2018~ Assistant Investigator, Institute of Molecular and Genomic Medicine, NHRI
2017-2018 Scientist II, Science and Engineering Institutes, A*STAR, Singapore
2015-2017 Scientist I, Science and Engineering Institutes A*STAR, Singapore
2012-2015 Scientist I, Science and Engineering Institutes A*STAR, Singapore
2006-2007 Research Officer, Infectious Diseases Group, Genome Institute of Singapore, A*STAR, Singapore
2004-2005 Student Researcher, School of Plant Pathology, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI
2003-2004 Student Researcher, School of Pharmacy, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI


Cellular metabolism involves complex networks of modulated biochemical reactions that sustain essential cellular functions and may confer survival advantage to cells/organisms. We are interested in understanding and engineering cellular metabolism to uncover new therapeutic targets and bioactive molecules. Current projects in the laboratory include :

  1. Getting the skinny on fats: Posttranslational modifications increase proteome complexity and lipid modification of proteins affects protein function by modulating protein stability, trafficking and activity, as well as protein–protein and membrane–protein associations. Pervasive reversible lipid modifications like S-palmitoylation have the potential to orchestrate diverse biological processes as cells transition from one state to another. By integrating chemical and genetic approaches, we focus on elucidating palmitoylation events that are important for “decision-making” steps in mammalian cell differentiation and their links to lipid metabolism.
  2. Genomes-to-drugs: Microbial secondary metabolites are a major source of valuable chemicals with key applications in the food, agricultural, chemical, and pharmaceutical industries. While many effective drugs have been discovered in the past decades, there remains a huge demand for new chemicals and therapeutic agents against cancers and infectious diseases. An opportunity to meet this demand arose when advances in next-generation sequencing and genomics reveal that the number of uncharacterized natural product pathways substantially exceeds the number of known metabolites, offering a valuable source of small molecules with novel scaffolds and bioactivities. Harnessing synthetic biology tools, including those for DNA assembly and multiplex genome engineering, we focus on discovering novel bioactive secondary metabolites from uncharacterized biosynthetic gene clusters in microbial genomes.



2012 Keystone Symposia Travel Scholarship
2007-2012 National Science Scholarship (PhD), A*STAR, Singapore
2006 A*STAR Roll of Honor, Singapore
2004-2006 A*STAR Chairman’s Honor List, Singapore
2004-2006 Dean’s Honors List, University of Wisconsin-Madison
2006 Microbiology High Achievement Award, University of Wisconsin-Madison
2006 College of Agricultural and Life Sciences Outstanding Senior Award, University of Wisconsin-Madison
2004 L.R. Ingersoll Prize, University of Wisconsin-Madison
2003-2006 National Science Scholarship (BS), A*STAR, Singapore


  1. Wan Lin Yeo, Elena Heng, Lee Ling Tan, Yi Wee Lim, Yee Hwee Lim, Shawn Hoon, Huimin Zhao, Mingzi M. Zhang*, Fong Tian Wong*. Characterization of Cas proteins for CRISPR‐Cas editing in streptomycetes. 2019Biotechnology and Bioengineering. doi: 10.1002/bit.27021. [Epub ahead of print] (*Corresponding author)
  2. Jin Huei Wong, Mohammad Alfatah, Kiat Whye Kong, Shawn Hoon, Wan Lin Yeo, Kuan Chieh Ching, Corinna Jie Hui Goh, Mingzi M. Zhang, Yee Hwee Lim, Fong Tian Wong, Prakash Arumugam. Chemogenomic profiling in yeast reveals antifungal mode-of-action of polyene macrolactam auroramycin. 2019. PLoS One.14(6): e0218189.
  3. Yee Hwee Lim, Fong Tian Wong, Wan Lin Yeo, Kuan Chieh Ching, Yi Wee Lim, Elena Heng, Shuwen Chen, De‐Juin Tsai, Tsai‐Ling Lauderdale, Kak‐Shan Shia, Ying Swan Ho, Shawn Hoon, Ee Lui Ang, Mingzi M. Zhang*, Huimin Zhao*. Auroramycin: a potent antibiotic from Streptomyces roseosporusby CRISPR‐Cas9 activation. 2018ChemBioChem (*Corresponding author)
  4. Mingzi M. Zhang*, Fong Tian Wong*, Yajie Wang, Shangwen Luo, Ryan E. Cobb, Yee Hwee Lim, Wanlin Yeo, Elena Heng, Ee Lui Ang, Huimin Zhao.An efficient CRISPR-Cas9 mediated knock-in strategy for activation of Streptomycesbiosynthetic gene clusters for natural product discovery.2017. Nature Chemical Biology13:607-609.(*equal contribution)
  5. Shuobo Shi, Youyun Liang, Mingzi M. Zhang, Ee Lui Ang, Huimin Zhao. A highly efficient single-step, markerless strategy for multi-copy chromosomal integration of large biochemical pathways in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. 2015.Metabolic Engineering.33:19-27.
  6. Mingzi M. Zhang, Pei-Yun J. Wu, Felice D. Kelly, Paul Nurse, Howard C. Hang. Quantitative control of protein S-palmitoylation regulates meiotic entry in fissionyeast. 2013. PLoS Biology.11(7): e1001597.
  7. Mingzi M. Zhang*,Lun K. Tsou*, Guillaume Charron, Anuradha S. Raghavan, Howard C. Hang. Tandem fluorescence imaging of dynamic S-acylation and protein turnover. 2010. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA.107:8627-8632.(*equal contribution)
  8. Markus Grammel, Mingzi M. Zhang, Howard C. Hang. Orthogonal alkynyl amino acid reporter for selective labelling of bacterial proteomes during infection. 2010. Angew Chem Int Ed Engl.49:5970–5974.
  9. Guillaume Charron, Mingzi M. Zhang, Jacob S. Yount, John Wilson, Anuradha S. Raghavan, Eliah Shamir, Howard C. Hang. Robust fluorescent detection of protein fatty-acylation with chemical reporters. 2009.J Am Chem Soc.
  10. Lun K. Tsou, Mingzi M. Zhang, Howard C. Hang. Clickable fluorescent dyes for multimodal bioorthogonal imaging.2009. Org Biomol Chem.7:5055-5058.

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