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Ruobo Zhou

Assistant Professor of Chemistry and of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Ruobo Zhou

Professional Appointments and Affiliations

Assistant Professor of Chemistry, Eberly College of Science

Assistant Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Eberly College of Science

Assistant Professor of Biomedical Engineering, College of Engineering

Molecular Cellular and Integrative Bio-Sciences graduate program, Huck Institutes of the Life Sciences

Bioinformatics and Genomics graduate program, Huck Institutes of the Life Sciences

Neuroscience graduate program, Huck Institutes of the Life Sciences

Integrative and Biomedical Physiology graduate program, Huck Institutes of the Life Sciences

Penn State Cancer Institute


305 Chemistry Building


Post doc, Chemistry and Chemical Biology, Harvard University

Ph.D., Physics, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

B.S., Applied Physics, University of Science and Technology of China

Honors and Awards

2023, Scialog Fellow for Advancing Bioimaging

2021, NIH Maximizing Investigators' Research Award (MIRA)

2014-2017, Life Sciences Research Foundation (LSRF) Postdoctoral Fellowship

2012, NSF Center for the Physics of Living Cells (CPLC) Fellowship

2012, Chinese Government Award for Outstanding Self-Financed Students Studying Abroad

2010, Yee Memorial Fellowship

2008, I2CAM-FAPERJ Biological Physics Spring School Travel Award, 2008

2005, Samsung Award


Selected Publications (#: Corresponding author)

J Fei , R Zhou#. "Watching biomolecules stride in real time." Science 379, 986-987 (2023)

R Zhou#, B Han, R Nowak, Y Lu, E Heller, C Xia, AH Chishti, VM Fowler, X Zhuang. “Proteomic and functional analyses of the periodic membrane skeleton in neurons.Nature Communications 13, 3196 (2022)

R Zhou, B Han, C Xia, X Zhuang. “Membrane-associated periodic skeleton is a signaling platform for RTK transactivation in neurons.Science 365, 929-934 (2019)

R Zhou#, O Yang, AC Déclais, et al. “Junction resolving enzymes use multivalency to keep the Holliday junction dynamic.Nature Chemical Biology 15, 269-275 (2019)

Y Sigal, R Zhou, X Zhuang. “Visualizing and discovering cellular structures with super-resolution microscopy.” Science 361, 880-887 (2018)

B Han, R Zhou# (co-first author), C Xia, X Zhuang, “Structural organization of the actin-spectrin–based membrane skeleton in dendrites and soma of neurons” PNAS 114,6678-6685 (2017)

J He, R Zhou (co-first author), Z Wu, et al., “Prevalent presence of periodic actin–spectrin-based membrane skeleton in a broad range of neuronal cell types and animal species.” PNAS 113, 6029-6034 (2016)

C Wang, B Han, R Zhou, X Zhuang. “Real-time imaging of translation on single mRNA transcripts in live cells.” Cell 165, 990-1001 (2016)

TTM Ngo, Q Zhang, R Zhou, JG Yodh, T Ha. “Asymmetric unwrapping of nucleosomes under tension directed by DNA local flexibility.” Cell 160, 1135-1144 (2015)

R Zhou, J Zhang, ML Bochman, VA Zakian, T Ha. “Periodic DNA patrolling underlies diverse functions of Pif1 on R-loops and G-rich DNA.” eLife 3, e02190 (2014)

R Zhou, AG Kozlov, R Roy, J Zhang, S Korolev, TM Lohman, T Ha. “SSB functions as a sliding platform that migrates on DNA via reptation.” Cell 146, 222-232 (2011), selected as the Cell PaperFlick (video) of the issue (youtube)

R Zhou, S Kunzelmann, M Webb, T Ha. “Detecting intramolecular conformational dynamics of single molecules in short distance range with sub-nanometer sensitivity.” Nano Letters 11, 5482-5488 (2011)

C Grashoff , BD Hoffman, MD Brenner, R Zhou, M Parsons, MT Yang, M A. McLean, SG Sligar, CS Chen, T Ha, MA Schwartz. “Measuring mechanical tension across vinculin reveals regulation of focal adhesion dynamics.” Nature 466, 263–266 (2010)

S Hohng, R Zhou, MK Nahas, J Yu, K Schulten, DMJ Lilley, T Ha. “Fluorescence-force spectroscopy maps two-dimensional reaction landscape of the Holliday junction.” Science 318, 279-283 (2007)