Zhikai (Kate) Zeng

Graduate Student Researcher

Office Location

PSBN 4653



Kate focuses on understanding the aggregation of tau, an intrinsically disordered protein (IDP) implicated in neurodegenerative diseases including Alzheimer`s Disease. She is interested in how tau can form extraordinarily stable amyloid fibrils, and aim to understand its aggregation behavior and seeding from a structural point of view. Currently, she is working on (1) seeding tau monomer with tau amyloid fibrils and (2) investigating the amyloid structure and fibril stability. She utilizes a number of biophysical techniques in her projects including ThT fluorescence, EPR, and DEER. With the background of polymer materials and engineering, she can provide new insights into biochemical and biophysical problems. 


  • 2012 - 2016: B.S., Polymer Science and Engineering, South China University of Technology, Guangzhou, China. (Advisors: Prof. Qing-Hua Xu, and Prof. Fei Huang)
  • 2016 - present: Graduate Student Researcher, Chemistry, University of California - Santa Barbara (Advisor: Prof. Songi Han)



  • 2015: National Scholarship
  • 2015: Jingbo Cup - The 3rd Chinese Polymer Material Innovation and Enterpreneurship Contest for College Students (First Prize)
  • 2013, 2014, 2015: Student Merit Award of the University


  1. Lin, Y.; Chen, Y. Z.; Zeng, Z. K.; Zhu, J. R.; Wei, Y.; Li, F. C.; Liu, L. Effects of ZnO Nanoparticles Doped Graphene on Static and Dynamic Mechanical Properties of Natural Rubber Composites. Compos. Pt. A Appl. Sci. Manuf. 2015, 70, 35-44.
  2. Lin, Y.; Zeng, Z. K.; Zhu, J. R.; Chen, S.; Yuan, X.; Liu, L. Graphene Nanosheets Decorated with ZnO Nanoparticles: Facile Synthesis and Promising Appplication for Enhancing the Mechanical and Gas Barrier Properties of Rubber Nanocomposites. RSC Adv. 20155 (71), 57771-57780. 
  3. Lin, Y; Zeng, Z. K.; Zhu, J. R.; Wei, Y.; Chen, S.; Yuan, X.; Liu, L. Facile Synthesis of ZnAl-Layered Double Hydroxide Microspheres with Core-Shell Structure and Their Enhanced Adsorption Capability. Mater. Lett. 2015156, 169-172.
  4. Jiang, X. F.; Zeng, Z. K.; Li, S.; Guo, Z. N.; Zhang, H.; Huang, F.; Xu, Q. H. Tunable Broadband Nonlinear Optical Properties of Black Phosphorus Quantum Dots for Femtosecond Laser Pulses. Materials 201710 (2).