Department of Chemistry

College of Letters & Science
Martin Zanni

Email address: zanni@chem.wisc.edu

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Zanni Group
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Chemical Biology

B.S., B.A. 1994, University of Rochester; Ph.D. 1999, University of California, Berkeley

V. W. Meloche-Bascom Professor of Chemistry

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Research Description

The Zanni group studies topics in biophysics and the energy sciences using 2D IR spectroscopy. We have research projects underway on carbon nanotube energy transfer, solar cell charge transfer, and the mechanism of protein aggregation in type 2 diabetes, to name only a few topics. We specialize in scientific problems in which structural dynamics and/or interfacial phenomena are important. Systems that have these characteristics are very difficult to study with more traditional structural methods, and so our techniques often provide some of the best available structural and dynamical information.

We are also very active in developing the technology behind multidimensional spectroscopies. These multidimensional spectroscopies include 2D IR spectroscopy, 2D sum-frequency generation spectroscopy, and (soon) 2D Vis spectroscopy. We develop new pulse sequences and new experimental methods for more easily and accurately collecting these spectra.

In tandem to our technological efforts, we also focus on adapting biochemical techniques to 2D IR spectroscopy, including protein expression, protein ligation and inorganic chemistry. For example, we have used expressed protein ligation to isotope label one of two domains in a lens protein. And we have synthesized inorganic probes of protein environment in analogy to EPR labels.

As a result of our wide ranging interests, students and postdoctoral researchers in our group obtain a range of experiences from technique development to synthesis or biosynthesis to topical applications. We also collaborate extensively with theorists, organic chemists and material scientists who are interested in simulating or using 2D IR spectroscopy for their research. Please see our website for more information.

Awards and Honors

Earle K. Plyler Prize for Molecular Spectroscopy & Dynamics 2021
American Academy of Arts and Sciences 2020
UPenn Chemistry Distinguished Alumni Award 2019
Fellow of the Optical Society of America 2018
Craver Award, Coblentz Society 2017

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