Theoretical and Computational Biophysics Group

The Center for the Physics of Living Cells

Beckman Institute, RM 3161

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

405 N. Mathews Ave., Urbana, IL 61801

Email Address:

Office Phone: 217-244-4361

Zhe Wu received his Bachelor degree from the University of Science and Technology of China, and obtained his Ph. D from the University of Wisconsin - Madison in 2012 (co-advised by Arun Yethiraj and Qiang Cui). Interested in understanding various biophysical phenomena with theoretical approaches, he focused on both computational model development and biomolecular simulations. Specifically, he is the developer of the BMW-MARTINI coarse-grained force field, and he contributes in understanding the origin of entropy driven hydrophobic interactions in water, the ion Hofmeister effects in water dynamics, and the microscopic mechanisms in peptide-induced membrane remodeling process. As a continuation of his endeavor, he joins the TCB group in 2012 as a postdoctoral fellow in the Center for the Physics of Living Cells, and his study will mainly focus on extending understandings in the membrane fusion processes.


  • Ph.D, Chemistry, 2012.
  • University of Wisconsin - Madison, Department of Chemistry. co-advised by: Prof. Arun Yethiraj and Prof. Qiang Cui

  • B.S., Chemistry, 2007.
  • University of Science and Technology of China, Department of Chemical Physics

Research Interests

  • Membrane remodeling induced by proteins, peptides and nano materials
  • Coarse-grained,implicit solvent/membrane and physics-based model development
  • Biomaterial self-assembly
  • Hydrophobic solvation and interaction


  • The Water Permeability and Pore Entrance Structure of Aquaporin-4 Depend on Lipid Bilayer Thickness
  • J. Tong*, Z. Wu*, M. M. Briggs, K. Schulten, T. J. McIntosh Biophys. J., 2016, 111, 90-99 (*=equal contribution)
  • Trimodal Therapy: Combining Hyperthermia with Repurposed Bexarotene and Ultrasound for Treating Liver Cancer
  • S. K. Misra, G. Ghoshal, M. R. Gartia*, Z. Wu*, A. K. De*, M. Ye*, C. R. Bromfield, E. M. Williams, K. Singh, K. V. Tangella, L. Rund, K. Schulten, L. B. Schook, P. S. Ray, E. C. Burdette, D. Pan, ACS Nano, 2015, 9, 10695-10718 (*=equal contribution)
  • Gas-phase ion isomer analysis reveals the mechanism of peptide sequence scrambling
  • C. Jia, Z. Wu, C. B. Lietz, Z. Liang, Q. Cui, L. Li., Anal. Chem., 2014, 86, 2917-2924 (Cover Article)
  • Driving force for the association of hydrophobic peptides: The importance of electrostatic interactions in coarse-grained water models
  • Z. Wu, Q. Cui, A. Yethiraj., J. Phys. Chem. Lett. 2011, 2, 1794-1798