Martin Zanni

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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

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

Vilas Associate Award, University of Wisconsin-Madison 2015
Award for Initiatives in Research, National Academy of Sciences 2011
Raymond and Beverly Sackler Prize in the Physical Sciences, Tel Aviv University 2011
Nobel Laureate Signature Award for Graduate Education in Chemistry, American Chemical Society 2010
Fellow, American Physical Society 2010