Shuguang Zhang grew up during the Cultural Revolution, which meant that he could not attend school consistently. Despite this handicap, he studied biochemistry at Sichuan University in Chengdu. He then went to the U.S. and received his Ph.D. from the University of California at Santa Barbara in 1988. He now works as a professor at the Center for Biomedical Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
In the course of what was initially purely basic research, Shuguang Zhang discovered a group of peptides that spontaneously organize into vesicular or tubular aggregates and networks under physiological conditions. The advantage of the discovery is that these nanostructures, which can be produced in a controlled manner, not only open up a new field of research but also enable broad commercial applications. He has received numerous recognitions and awards for his achievements to date.
Already, the patents filed and granted by Shuguang Zhang and his team are widely licensed internationally. Zhang also acts as a consultant to numerous companies worldwide. He also founded his own company, 3D Matrix, which uses some of his patents. It manufactures “self-assembly peptide nanofi brils scaffold structures” such as those needed for 3D tissue culture. 3D Matrix developed numerous products based on this technology for tissue regeneration and wound healing. Recently, a sensational procedure for nerve regeneration using the peptides developed by Zhang was published.
In animal models, it has already been possible to restore vision after severing the optic nerves with the help of the self-organizing peptides. The fact is that the peptide scaffold can bridge the gap between the severed nerves without scarring. Another advantage is that the peptide scaffold does not cause inflammation. This new revolutionary nano-technique can contribute to a revolution in reconstructive brain surgery, and especially in the treatment of brain damage caused by strokes.
Shuguang Zhang founded another company, NZ3i, for the exploitation of the peptide nanostructures, which has positioned itself in the market as a supplier for the cosmetics industry and the pharmaceutical industry.