Bo Zhang

Bo ZhangAssociate Professor of Chemistry
Ph.D. University of Utah, 2006

(Analytical, Bioanalytical, and Electrochemistry)

(206) 543-1767

Zhang group website


Research Interests

Research in the Zhang group is primarily focused on fundamental and applied aspects of electrochemistry and bioanalytical chemistry utilizing materials of nanoscale dimensions. We are interested in developing novel electrochemical methods for the study of single molecules (e.g., redox, DNA and proteins) and single biological cells (e.g., neurons and neuron model cells). Current projects include electrochemistry and electrochemical sensing utilizing molecular/atomic scale electrodes, electrochemical imaging of single neurons and neural networks, and bioanalytical applications of solid-state nanopores. To accomplish these projects, various novel nanomaterials and nanodevices are developed and applied, including nanoelectrodes, nanowires, nanopores, nanochannels, and nanoporous membranes.


Electrochemistry and Electrochemical Sensing.

Nanoelectrodes are electrodes with radii between 1 and 100 nm. Nanoelectrodes are extremely useful in both fundamental electrochemical research and electrochemical sensing. We are interested in the development and electrochemical investigations of molecular-scale electrodes (e.g., a < 3 nm). These electrodes will allow us to study properties of single redox molecules and single metal nanoparticles.


Electrochemical Imaging of Single Neuronal Cells.

Neuronal communication is facilitated by the release of chemical messengers, often via a process called exocytosis. Electrochemical methods utilizing carbon-fiber microelectrodes have been extremely useful in the detection of easily oxidizable neurochemicals (e.g., dopamine, epinephrine, 5-hydroxytryptamine, histamine) from single neuronal cells. Such experiments provide valuable information such as chemical identity, amount of the neurotransmitter released, event frequency, and kinetic information relating to fusion pore opening. Novel electrochemical imaging methodologies with nanoscale spatial resolution and very high temporal resolution are currently developed in our lab for studying cellular secretions from single neurons. The goal of this research is to study subcellular spatial distribution of exocytotic events and secretory machinery on single neurons.


Solid-State Nanopores.

Nanometer-scale pores and channels offer tremendous opportunities in numerous analytical applications, such as single-molecule detection, and lab-on-a-chip devices. Silica-based nanopores are currently being developed to analyze single biomolecules (e.g., DNA, protein) and nanoparticles, and to study molecular interactions.

Representative Publications

Guerrette, J. P.; Percival, S. J.; Zhang, B. "Fluorescence coupling for direct imaging of electrocatalytic heterogeneity" J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2013, 135, 855-861.

Oja, S. M.; Wood, M.; Zhang, B. “Nanoscale Electrochemistry” Anal. Chem. 2013, 85, 473-486. (invited review).

Percival, S. J.; Zhang, B. “Nanoparticles: Imaging electrocatalysts in action” Nature Nanotech. 2012, 7, 615-616. (News and Views)

Cox, J. T.; Guerrette, J. P.; Zhang, B. “Steady-State Voltammetry of a Microelectrode in a Closed Bipolar Cell” Anal. Chem. 2012, 84, 8797-8804.

Cox, J. T.; Zhang, B. “Nanoelectrodes, Recent Advances and New Directions” Annul Rev. Anal. Chem. 2012, 5, 253-272. (invited)

Guerrette, J. P.; Oja, S. M.; Zhang, B. “Coupled Electrochemical Reactions at Bipolar Microelectrodes and Nanoelectrodes.” Anal. Chem., 2012, 84, 1609-1616.

Adams, K. L.; Jena, B. K.; Percival, S. J.; Zhang, B. “Highly-Sensitive Detection of Exocytotic Dopamine Release using a Gold-Nanoparticle-Network Microelectrode.” Anal. Chem. 2011, 83, 920-927.

Guerrette, J. P.; Zhang, B. “Scan-Rate Dependent Current Rectification of Cone-Shape Silica Nanopores in Quartz Nanopipettes.” J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2010, 132, 17088-17091.

Nelson, T.; Zhang, B.; and Prezhdo, O. V. “Detection of Nucleic Acids with Graphene Nanopores: Ab Initio Characterization of a Novel Sequencing Device.” Nano Lett. 2010, 10, 3237-3242.

Li, Y.; Cox, J. T.; and Zhang, B. “Electrochemical Response and Electrocatalysis at single Au Nanoparticles.” J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2010, 132, 3047-3052.

Zhang, B.; Wood, M.; Lee, H. “A Silica Nanochannel and Its Applications in Sensing and Molecular Transport.” Anal. Chem. 2009, 81, 5541-5548.


Li, Y.; Bergman, D.; and Zhang, B. “The Preparation and Electrochemical Response of 1-3 nm Pt Electrodes.” Anal. Chem. 2009, 81, 5496-5502.


Awards & Activities

  • 2013 Society for Electroanalytical Chemistry Young Investigator Award
  • 2012 Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellowship
  • University of Utah Graduate Travel Award
  • ACS Analytical Division Graduate Research Fellowship
  • Chinese Government Award for Outstanding Students Abroad
  • Wusi Fellowship, Peking University
  • Student Scholarship, Shandong University

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