Shiyu Zhang

Shiyu Zhang

Shiyu Zhang

Assistant Professor


282 CBEC Building
151 W Woodruff Ave
Columbus, OH 43210

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Areas of Expertise

  • Inorganic
  • Organic


Shiyu Zhang obtained B.S. in Chemistry and Biology from Jilin University, China (2010) and Ph.D. in Chemistry from Georgetown University (2015). As a graduate student, he worked in the group of Prof. Timothy Warren where he was awarded the ACS DIC Young Investigator Award in recognition of his work in the bioinorganic chemistry of nitric oxide. From 2015 to 2017, Shiyu conducted postdoctoral research under the joint supervision of Prof. Christopher Cummins at MIT and Prof. Daniel Nocera at Harvard, where he had the opportunity to develop novel electrolytes for electrochemical energy storage systems, such as Li-ion, Li-Air and redox flow batteries.

Research Summary

Cooperative Reactivity of Bimetallic Complexes

Metalloenzymes play a crucial role in multi-electron transfer reactions that are fundamental to all domains of life. These challenging cellular reactions, such as hydrocarbon oxidation and CO2 reduction, are driven by the cooperative reactivity of bimetallic protein sites composed of Earth-abundant transition metals. The Zhang group aims to synthetically model biological centers with high reactivities that have yet to be replicated by synthetic systems. We aim to (1) understand the fundamental bioinorganic chemistry underlying the bimetallic synergy, (2) mimic the enzymatic reactivities with synthetic bimetallic or trimetallic catalysts, and (3) develop new reactions that are beyond the scope of what biology accomplishes itself.

Sustainable Organic Battery Materials

Conversion and storage of renewable energy to electrical power are key challenges across the world for realizing net zero carbon emission. On a smaller scale, further breakthroughs of secondary batteries are required to fulfill the future desires for electric vehicles. With the driving range of commercial EV now approaches 300 miles, the slow charging rate of the current lithium-ion battery technology has become one of the most pressing issues that the electric vehicle industry faces today. The Zhang lab seeks to develop a general approach to prepare high rate organic radical battery. Our goal is to synthesize redox-active molecules with multiple reversible redox couples and systematically optimize their performance in batteries.

C-H Functionalization

Despite the growing interest in the synthesis of fluorinated organic compounds, few methods can incorporate fluoride ion directly into alkyl C−H bonds. We are developing C(sp3)−H fluorination methods with formally copper(III) fluoride complexes. Quantum chemical calculations reveal significant fluorine radical character for copper(III) fluoride, suggesting their ability to initiate and terminate a C(sp3)-H fluorination sequence. The capability of copper(III) fluoride to perform both hydrogen atom abstraction and radical capture was leveraged to enable fluorination of allylic and benzylic C−H bonds and α-C−H bonds of ethers at room temperature.


Bower J. K., Cypcar, A. D., Henriquez, B., Stieber, S. C. E., Zhang, S. “C(sp3)-H Fluorination with a Copper(II)/(III) Redox Couple” J. Am. Chem. Soc., 2020, 142, 8514–8521.

Tuttle, M. R., Zhang, S. “Bisthiazolyl Quinones: Stabilizing Organic Electrode Materials with Sulfur-Rich Thiazyl Motifs” Chem. Mater. 2020, 32, 255-261.

Tao, W., Bower, J. K., Moore, C. E., Zhang, S. Dicopper m-Oxo, m-Nitrosyl Complex from the Activation of NO or Nitrite at a Dicopper Center” J. Am. Chem. Soc., 2019,141, 10159-10164.

Bower, J. K., Sokolov, A. Yu. Zhang, S. “A Four-Coordinate Copper Halonitrosyl {CuNO}10 Complex” Angew. Chem., Int. Ed., 2019, 58, 10225–10229. 

Stauber J. M., Zhang, S., Jiang, Y., Avena, L., Stevenson, K. G., Cummins, C. C., “Cobalt and Vanadium Trimetaphosphate Polyanions: Synthesis, Characterization and Electrochemical Evaluation for Non-Aqueous Redox-Flow Battery Applications,” J. Am. Chem. Soc., 2018, 140, 538-541.

Zhang, S.†; Nava, M. J.†; Chow, G. K.; Britt, R. D.; Nocera, D. G.*; Cummins, C. C.*, “On the Incompatibility of Metal-Air Battery Technology with CO2.” Chem. Sci., 2017, 8, 6117 – 6122. † equal contribution.

Zhang, S.; Fallah, H.; Gardner, E. J.; Kundu, S.; Bertke, J. A.; Cundari, T. R.; Warren, T. H. “A Dinitrogen Dicopper(I) Complex via a Mixed-Valence Dicopper Hydride.” Angew. Chem., Int. Ed. 2016, 55, 9927 –9931.

Zhang, S.; Melzer, M. M.; Sen, S. N.; Çelebi-Ölcü̧m, N.; Warren, T. H. “A Motif for Reversible Nitric Oxide Interactions in Metalloenzymes.” Nat. Chem. 2016, 8, 663-669.

Zhang, S.; Çelebi-Ölcü̧m, N.; Melzer, M. M.; Houk, K. N.; Warren, T. H. “Copper(I) Nitrosyls from Reaction of Copper(II) Thiolates with S‑Nitrosothiols: Mechanism of NO Release from RSNOs at Cu.” J. Am. Chem. Soc., 2013, 135, 16746-16749.

Zhang, S.; Warren, T.H. “Three Coordinate Model for CuA Electron-Transfer Site.” Chem. Sci., 2013, 4, 1786-1792.

The Zhang group is looking for graduate and undergraduate students who are interested in synthetic chemistry, bioinorganic chemistry, energy conversion, or energy storage. Contact Shiyu for more information.

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