Professor, School of Chemical Engineering and Technology, Tianjin University
Ph.D. Princeton University Princeton, New Jersey 2001 - 2006
M.Sc. Eng. Beijing University Beijing, China PR 1998 - 2001
B.S. Beijing University Beijing, China PR 1994 - 1998
Our research interests lie at the interface between biology and physics at the mesoscopic scale. The objective of my research is to understand and engineer the behavior of complex matter at this length. Toward this goal, our research is rooted on a multidisciplinary team-work with our group members (and collaborators) from Physics, Chemistry, Microbiology, Mathematics and Engineering. Currently we are studying self-organization in two model complex systems - complex fluids and microbial systems, by tracking particles and microbes using advanced optical microscopy techniques. Our research will have applications in broad areas like fabrication of metamaterial/biomaterial, treatment of bacterial infections, biofouling control, sustainable bioenergy and water remediation.
Characterization and applications of microbial systems
Bacterial imaging and tracking
Bacterial self-organization and social interactions
Cell-substrate interactions: bacterial-matrix interactions, biomechanics of biofilms
Applications in biotechnology
Sustainable bioenergy, water quality control, biofilm control
Physical chemistry of soft materials
Directed self-assembly of custom-shaped building blocks
Membrane active peptide-based biomaterials
Antimicrobial peptides for resistant infections
Cell penetrating peptides for drug delivery
Microrheology of complex fluids
Kun Zhao* and T. G. Mason*. “Shape-designed frustration by local polymorphism in a near-equilibrium colloidal glass”, Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 112(39), 12063-12068 (2015)
Luca Canzian, Kun Zhao, Gerard C. L. Wong, and Mihaela van der Schaar. “A dynamic network formation model for understanding bacterial self-organization into micro-colonies”, in Molecular, Biological and Multi-Scale Communications, IEEE Transactions on, Vol. 1, No. 1, pp. 76-89 (2015)
Yun Luo, Kun Zhao, Amy Baker, Sherry Kuchma, Kimberly Coggan, Matthew Wolfgang, Gerard Wong, and George O’Toole. “A hierarchical cascade of second messengers regulates Pseudomonas aeruginosa surface behaviors”, mBio 6(1):e02456-14 (2015)
Kun Zhao and T. G. Mason. “Self-organized chiral colloidal crystals of Brownian square crosses”, J. Phys.: Condens. Matter 26, 152101(2014)
Slected as cover paper for Volume 26, Issue 15, 16 April 2014
Selected in IOPselect
Kun Zhao, B. S. Tseng, B. Beckerman, F. Jin, M. L. Gibiansky, J. J. Harrison, E. Luijten, M. R. Parsek and G. C. L. Wong. “Psl trails guide exploration and microcolony formation in Pseudomonas aeruginosa biofilms”, Nature 497, 388-391 (2013)
American Public Media's Marketplace Morning Report (Listen to the report for May 10, 2013 at the 6 minute 19 second mark)
Recommended by Faculty of 1000, http://f1000.com/prime/718008684
Also highlighted by Nature News & Views “Microbiology: Bacterial communities as capitalist economies”, Nature 497, 321-322 (2013)
Kun Zhao and T. G. Mason. “Twinning of rhombic colloidal crystals”, J. Am. Chem. Soc. 134, 18125-18131(2012)
N. W. Schmidt, M. Lis, Kun Zhao, G. H. Lai, A. N. Alexandrova, G. N. Tew, and G. C. L. Wong. “Molecular basis for nanoscopic membrane curvature generation from quantum mechanical models and synthetic transporter sequences”, J. Am. Chem. Soc. 134, 19207-19216 (2012)
Kun Zhao, Uh-Joo Choe, D. T. Kamei and G. C. L. Wong. “Enhanced activity of cyclic transporter sequences driven by phase behavior of peptide-lipid complexes”, Soft Matter 8, 6430-6433 (2012)
Kun Zhao, R. Bruinsma, and T. G. Mason. “Local chiral symmetry breaking in triatic liquid crystals”, Nat. Commun. 3, 801(2012).
Also highlighted in Nature Physics 8, 442 (2012):
N. W. Schmidt, K. P. Tai, K. Kamdar, A. Mishra, G. H. Lai, Kun Zhao, A.J. Ouellette, G. C. L. Wong. “Arginine in α-defensins: differential effects on bactericidal activity correspond to geometry of membrane curvature generation and peptide-lipid phase behavior”, J. Biol. Chem. 287, 21866-21872 (2012)
Kun Zhao, R. Bruinsma, and T. G. Mason. “Entropic Crystal-Crystal Transitions of Brownian Squares”, Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 108, 2684-2687(2011).
Kun Zhao and T. G. Mason. “Frustrated Rotator Crystals and Glasses of Brownian Pentagons”, Phys. Rev. Lett. 103, 208302(2009).
Kun Zhao and T. G. Mason. “Suppressing and enhancing depletion attractions between surfaces roughened by asperities”, Phys. Rev. Lett. 101, 148301(2008).
Kun Zhao and T. G. Mason. “Directing colloidal self-assembly through roughness-controlled depletion attractions”, Phys. Rev. Lett. 99, 268301(2007).
Kun Zhao, C. Harrison, D. Huse, W. B. Russel and P. M. Chaikin. “Nematic and almost-tetratic phases of colloidal rectangles”, Phys. Rev. E 76, 040401 (2007)
C. J. Hernandez, Kun Zhao, and T. G. Mason. “Well-deposition particle templating: Rapid mass-production of lithoparticles without mechanical imprinting”, Soft Mater. 5, 13-31(2007)
C. J. Hernandez, Kun Zhao, and T. G. Mason. “Pillar-deposition particle templating: A high-throughput synthetic route for producing lithoparticles”, Soft Mater. 5, 1-11 (2007)
M. T. Sullivan, Kun Zhao, A. D. Hollingsworth, R. H. Austin, W. B. Russel, and P. M. Chaikin. “An electric bottle for colloids”, Phys. Rev. Lett. 96, 015703(2006)
M. T. Sullivan, Kun Zhao, C. Harrison, R. H. Austin, M. Megens, A. D. Hollingsworth, W. B. Russel, Z. Cheng, T. G. Mason, P. M. Chaikin. “Control of Suspensions with Gravity, Temperature Gradients, and Electric Fields”, J. Phys. Condens. Matter 15, S11 (2003)
Kun Zhao, Zhu-F, Wang-LF, Meng-TJ, Zhang-BC, Zhao-K. “Investigations of TiO2 films prepared by reactive magnetron sputtering”, Acta Phys. Sin. 50, 1390-1395 (2001)
Hao-JK, Zhao-K, Zhang-BC, Xie-DL, Wang-LF, Quan-SW, Shen-ZL, Tang-YX, Zhang-YC, Yang-X, Hu-YL, Kun Zhao. “Researches and preliminary experiments on copper-niobium sputtered low-beta superconducting resonator”, High Energ. Phys. Nuc. 25, 582-587 (2001)
Tang-YX, Kun Zhao, Hao-JK, Wang-LF, Quan-SW, Yang-X, Zhang-YC, Zhang-BC, Zhao-K. “Experimental study of new-type Cs+ ion-implanted Mg photocathode”, Acta Phys. Sin. 49, 1002-1005 (2000)
Zhao-K, Hao-JK, Tang-YX, Kun Zhao, Wang-LF, Zhang-BC, Chen-J. “Researches on new photocathode for RF electron gun”, Nucl. Instrum. Meth. A 445, 394-398 (2000)