Qibin Zhang

Title: Associate Professor & Co-Director, Center for Translational Biomedical Research
Field: Analytical Chemistry
Room: 418 PAS Science Bldg.
Phone: 704.250.5803
Research Website:


B.S. Chemistry, Shandong Normal University, China, 1994
Ph.D. Analytical Chemistry, University of California at Riverside, 2005
Postdoctoral Fellow, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, 2005 – 2008


The Zhang research group focuses on the development of new capabilities for more accurate, more sensitive and higher throughput measurement of biomolecules, and the application of the most reproducible methods to characterize clinical specimen at proteomic, lipidomic and metabolomic levels for comprehensive identification of disease biomarkers, and systems biological understanding of the pathogenic mechanism underlying the complex human diseases.  Below are the brief descriptions of our research projects.

Development of Bioanalytical Capabilities

The specific functions of lipids are related to their chemical and physical properties and depend on specific molecular structures. We are funded by the NIH to develop a mass spectrometry based instrument platform that incorporates ozone induced dissociation (OzID) for unambiguous and comprehensive elucidation of lipid chemical structures, and high resolution field asymmetric waveform ion mobility spectrometry (FAIMS) technology for enhanced specificity in distinguishing lipid isomers. The resulting instrument platform is expected to have broad applications in structural identification of intact lipids and will aid the unambiguous identification of lipid biomarkers of diseases, and improve our understanding of the functional roles of diverse lipids in the disease process.

In addition, we are interested in the following and the new biology that are enabled by these new capabilities:

  • Development of high throughput, quantitative methods for characterization of oligosaccharides, and saccharolipids.
  • Development of chemical and antibody based enrichment strategies for quantitative characterization of novel protein post-translational modifications (PTMs) and proteoforms that are important to human diseases.

Biomarkers for Human Diseases

Type 1 diabetes (T1D) results from autoimmune destruction of insulin-producing pancreatic beta cells, novel biomarkers are greatly in need to indicate this destruction process. We are funded by the NIH for a comprehensive identification of biomarkers correlated to the progression of this disease, through proteomic, lipidomic, and metabolomic characterization of human pancreatic tissues and longitudinally collected serum samples, as well as for a comprehensive validation of the candidate markers in diseases that share the similar clinical and immunological outcomes with T1D.  The results not only can help to establish early diagnosis and risk assessment criteria for T1D, but also help to understand the pathogenesis of this disorder when combined with mechanistic studies using cell line and animal models.

The approach that we take for diabetes research can be applied to biomarkers research of other diseases.

Students and postdocs working in the group have access to state-of-the-art analytical instrumentation (including a Thermo QExactive HF and a Thermo TSQ Quantiva interfaced with FAIMS, nano-LC and UPLC, and a Leco GC-TOF), bioinformatics and statistics tools, and are exposed to a variety of other experimental techniques including biochemistry, physical chemistry and synthetic organic chemistry depends on their research interests.

For more information, please visit The Zhang Research Group.

Representative Publications

  1. Meng, D., Zhang, Q., Gao, X., Wu, S., and Lin, G. (2014) LipidMiner: a software for automated identification and quantification of lipids from multiple liquid chromatography/mass spectrometry data files, Rapid Commun Mass Spectrom 28, 981-985.
  2. Zhang, Q., Fillmore, T. L., Schepmoes, A. A., Clauss, T. R., Gritsenko, M. A., Mueller, P. W., Rewers, M., Atkinson, M. A., Smith, R. D., and Metz, T. O. (2013) Serum proteomics reveals systemic dysregulation of innate immunity in type 1 diabetes, J Exp Med 210, 191-203.
  3. Hu, Z. P., Kim, Y. M., Sowa, M. B., Robinson, R. J., Gao, X., Metz, T. O., Morgan, W. F., and Zhang, Q. (2012) Metabolomic response of human skin tissue to low dose ionizing radiation, Mol Biosyst 8, 1979-1986.
  4. Zhang, Q., Monroe, M. E., Schepmoes, A. A., Clauss, T. R., Gritsenko, M. A., Meng, D., Petyuk, V. A., Smith, R. D., and Metz, T. O. (2011) Comprehensive identification of glycated peptides and their glycation motifs in plasma and erythrocytes of control and diabetic subjects, J Proteome Res 10, 3076-3088.
  5. Kim, Y. M., Metz, T. O., Hu, Z., Wiedner, S. D., Kim, J. S., Smith, R. D., Morgan, W. F., and Zhang, Q. (2011) Formation of dehydroalanine from mimosine and cysteine: artifacts in gas chromatography/mass spectrometry based metabolomics, Rapid Commun Mass Spectrom 25, 2561-2564.
  6. Zhang, Q., Ames, J. M., Smith, R. D., Baynes, J. W., and Metz, T. O. (2009) A perspective on the Maillard reaction and the analysis of protein glycation by mass spectrometry: probing the pathogenesis of chronic disease, J Proteome Res 8, 754-769.
  7. Zhang, Q., Tang, N., Brock, J. W., Mottaz, H. M., Ames, J. M., Baynes, J. W., Smith, R. D., and Metz, T. O. (2007) Enrichment and analysis of nonenzymatically glycated peptides: boronate affinity chromatography coupled with electron-transfer dissociation mass spectrometry, J Proteome Res 6, 2323-2330.
  8. Zhang, Q., Qian, W. J., Knyushko, T. V., Clauss, T. R., Purvine, S. O., Moore, R. J., Sacksteder, C. A., Chin, M. H., Smith, D. J., Camp, D. G., 2nd, Bigelow, D. J., and Smith, R. D. (2007) A method for selective enrichment and analysis of nitrotyrosine-containing peptides in complex proteome samples, J Proteome Res 6, 2257-2268.
  9. Zhang, Q., and Wang, Y. (2005) Generation of 5-(2′-deoxycytidyl)methyl radical and the formation of intrastrand cross-link lesions in oligodeoxyribonucleotides, Nucleic Acids Res 33, 1593-1603.
  10. Zhang, Q., and Wang, Y. (2004) Independent generation of the 5-hydroxy-5,6-dihydrothymidin-6-yl radical and its reactivity in dinucleoside monophosphates, J Am Chem Soc 126, 13287-13297.