Yi Zhang, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor
Research Interests:
Neurotechnology development, CRISPR-based molecular diagnostics, and wearable sensors
Lab website:
Science 1 Research Center
25 King Hill Rd
University of Connecticut
Storrs, CT 06269-3247
Office Phone: 860-486-9342
B.E. (Chemical Engineering) Dalian University of Technology, China
Ph.D. (Chemical Engineering) Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA
Postdoc (Bioelectronics) Northwestern University


Research Summary:
Today, humanity faces unprecedented challenges in the global distributions of energy, food, water, and healthcare. The mission of Dr. Zhang’s lab is to create an interdisciplinary and collaborative research environment to solve the grand challenges in human health. Dr. Zhang’s research focuses on three major fields: (I) Implantable neurochemical sensors; (II) CRISPR-based molecular diagnostics; (III) Wearable molecular sensors.

Honors and Awards:

  • NSF CAREER Award, 2023
  • UConn-AAUP Research Excellence Award –Early Career, 2023
  • UConn BME Early Career Faculty Scholar Award, 2023
  • NIH Brain Initiative R01 Awardee, 2020
  • BMES Career Development Award, Biomedical Engineering Society, 2019
  • Waldemar T. Ziegler Award for Best Research Paper, Georgia Tech, 2015
  • Exemplary Academic Achievement Award, Georgia Tech, 2013

Selected Publications:

Google Scholar Link

  1. J. Yang, Y. Song, X. Deng, J. A. Vanegas, Z. You, Y. Zhang, Z. Weng, L. Avery, K. D. Dieckhaus, A. Peddi, Y. Gao*, Y. Zhang*, X. Gao*, “Engineered LwaCas13a with enhanced collateral activity for nucleic acid detection”, Nature Chemical Biology 2023, 19, 45–54.
  2. G. Wu, I. Heck, N. Zhang, G. Phaup, X. Zhang, Y. Wu, D. E. Stalla, Z. Weng, H. Sun, H. Li, Z. Zhang, S. Ding, D. P. Li, Y. Zhang*, “Wireless, battery-free push-pull microsystem for membrane-free neurochemical sampling in freely moving animals”, Science Advances 2022, 8, eabn2277.
  3. G. Wu, N. Zhang, A. Matarasso, I. Heck, H. Li, W. Lu, G. Phaup, M. J. Schneider, Y. Wu, Z. Weng, H. Sun, Z. Gao, X. Zhang, S. G. Sandberg, D. Parvin, E. Seaholm, S. K. Islam, X. Wang, P. E. M. Phillips, D. C. Castro, S. Ding, D. P. Li, M. R. Bruchas, Y. Zhang*, “Implantable aptamer-graphene microtransistors for real-time monitoring of neurochemical release in vivo”, Nano Letters 2022, 22, 9, 3668–3677.
  4. H. Li, J. Yang, G. Wu, Z.  Weng, Y. Song, Y. Zhang, J. A. Vanegas, L. Avery, Z. Gao, H. Sun, Y. Chen, K. D. Dieckhaus, X. Gao*, Y. Zhang*, “Amplification-free detection of SARS-CoV-2 and respiratory syncytial virus using CRISPR Cas13a and graphene field-effect transistors”, Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2022, 61(32): e202203826. (Hot paper and selected as a back cover)
  5. H. Li, G. Wu, Z. Weng, H. Sun, R. Nistala, Y. Zhang*, “Microneedle-based potentiometric sensing system for continuous monitoring of multiple electrolytes in skin interstitial fluids”, ACS Sensors 2021, 6 (6), 2181-2190.