Y. Jessie Zhang

  • Professor
  • L. Leon Campbell, Ph.D. Distinguished Professorship in Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biosciences
Profile image of Y. Jessie Zhang

Contact Information


The transcription process in eukaryotic cells is controlled by the C-terminal domain of RNA polymerase II through its post-translational modification states. However enzymes that recognize the same phosphorylation site in CTD can lead to different transcriptional outcomes. To address the central question that how gene-specific regulation was achieved by CTD regulatory enzymes, the Zhang Lab investigates the structure function mechanism of CTD phosphatases. Specifically, a protein regulation prolyl isomerization state of the CTD proline residues can affect the transcription by controlling the availability of the substrate pools for the phosphatases. Members also develop chemical compounds as tools to understand the proline isomerization state specificity of CTD binding enzymes and chemical probes to promote neuron regeneration.

Research Areas

  • Biochemistry

Fields of Interest

  • Structural Biology and Biophysics
  • Biochemistry

Centers and Institutes

  • Interdisciplinary Life Sciences Graduate Programs


  • B.S., Tsinghuan University, China (1997)
  • M.S., University of Oregon (2000)
  • Ph.D., The Scripps Research Institute (2004)



  • Margaret C. Etter Early Career Award by American Crystallographic Association 2015
  • Professor of the Year 2017
  • NSF Teaching Excellence Award 2019