Associate Professor (with Tenure)
Department of Chemical Biology
College of Chemistry and Molecular Engineering
PKU-Tsinghua Center for Life Sciences
PKU-IDG/McGovern Institute for Brain Research
Synthetic and Functional Biomolecules Center
Room A319, College of Chemistry
Peking University, Haidian District
Beijing, 100871, China
Born and raised in Beijing, Peng Zou was drawn to science as early as in high school. He was a gold medalist in Chinese Chemistry Olympiad and a silver medalist in Chinese Mathematics Olympiad in 2003. Peng attended Peking University from 2003 to 2007 and received his B.S. degree in Chemistry, with a double major in Physics. At PKU, Peng did his undergraduate research in Prof. Bin Xia's group, where he learnt to use nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy to solve the three-dimensional structure of proteins. This experience has sparked his interest in applying physical and chemical tools to understand biological functions.
After graduation, Peng moved to the U.S. and joined Prof. Alice Ting’s lab at Massachusetts Institute of Technology as a graduate student, where he worked on protein engineering, proteomics, and super-resolution imaging. His thesis led to the development of enzyme-based reporters for mapping proteome and imaging proteins in living cells. Peng obtained his Ph.D. in Biological Chemistry from MIT in 2012. He then worked with Prof. Adam Cohen at Harvard University as a postdoc fellow. His research was focused on developing fluorescent probes for imaging neural activity and applying these tools to study human disease model (e.g. amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) and animal model (e.g. zebrafish brain). These research projects have exposed Peng to a diverse array of disciplines, from protein engineering and cell biology to microscopy and programming.
Peng joined Peking University in 2015 as an Assistant Professor in the College of Chemistry and Molecular Engineering. He was also appointed as a Principal Investigator at the PKU-Tsinghua Center for Life Sciences and the PKU-IDG/McGovern Institute for Brain Research. His lab focuses on developing chemistry-enabled tools for mapping neuronal signaling with high spatial and temporal resolutions. Peng was selected as one of C&EN's Talented 12 in 2019, and was appointed as a Young Investigator of Chinese Institute for Brain Research in 2020. He was the recipient of OKeanos-CAPA Young Investigator Award at the Chemical and Biology Interface and Bayer Investigtor Award in 2020. In 2021, Peng was promoted to Associate Professor with tenure at Peking University.