Anton Jensen
Assistant Professor
Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry
Chemically Modified DNA, DNA-Interacting Proteins, DNA Damage & Repair
Biosciences 4112

Dr. Zhao completed his B.S. in Chemistry from Jilin University in 2005 and Ph.D. in Bioanalytical Chemistry from University of Connecticut in 2010 under the supervision of James F. Rusling and John B. Schenkman. After a short stint of postdoctoral training at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine with F. Peter Guengerich and Martin Egli, he joined the faculty at Central Michigan University in Aug 2013. Dr. Zhao is the recipient of CMU Provost's Award for Outstanding Research in 2017.

Awards & Honors

  • CMU Provost’s Award for Outstanding Research and Creative Activity (2017)
  • Young Investigator Awards, 13th International Workshop on Radiation Damage to DNA (2014)
  • Best Postdoctoral Talk, Chemical Toxicology Division of American Chemical Society (2011)
  • 3rd Prize in Graduate Student Posters, Chemical Toxicology Division of American Chemical Society (2010)
  • 1st Place, University of Connecticut R.T. Major Symposium Poster Awards (2010


  • Postdoctoral, Biochemistry, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, Nashville, TN, 2010-2013 
  • Ph.D., Bioanalytical Chemistry, University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT, 2010 
  •  B.S., Chemistry, Jilin University, Changchun, Jilin, China, 2005


  • American Chemical Society
  • American Society of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
  • American Society of Mass Spectrometry

Teaching Areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Analytical Chemistry
  • General Chemistry

Research Interests

DNA is the blueprint of life. DNA undergoes chemical modification whereby cellular or foreign chemicals alter its structure and information content. Disruption of the genomic DNA structure or DNA metabolism has been implicated in many human diseases. Our research aims to understand the mechanism of genomic maintenance with a particular focus on DNA replication and repair. DNA replication copies the DNA, and DNA repair corrects the genetic errors. Several on-going projects seek to understand the kinetic basis of DNA polymerizing enzymes and to clarify the chemical and molecular mechanism of the interaction between modified DNA and DNA-repair proteins.

Selected Publications

For a complete list of publications, please click here to visit the Zhao lab website

  • Yockey, OP; Jha V; Ghodke PP; Xu, T; Xu, W; Ling, H; Pradeepkumar, PI; Zhao L* Mechanism of error-free DNA replication past lucidin-derived DNA damage by human DNA polymerase κ, Chem. Res. Toxicol. 2017, 30, 2023-2032.
  • Zhao, L* and Washington MT, Translesion synthesis: insights into the selection and switching of DNA polymerases, Genes (Basel), 2017, 8, 24.
  • Xu, W; Kool, D; O'Flaherty, DK; Keating AM; Sacre L; Egli, M; Noronha A; Wilds, CJ; Zhao, L* O6-2′-deoxyguanosine-butylene-O6-2′-deoxyguanosine DNA interstrand cross-links are replication-blocking and mutagenic DNA lesions. Chem. Res. Toxicol. 2016, 29, 1872-1882.
  • Xu, W; Ouellette, AM; Souradyuti Ghosh, Tylor CO; Greenberg MM; Zhao, L* Mutagenic bypass of an oxidized abasic lesion-induced DNA interstrand cross-link analogue by human translesion synthesis DNA polymerases. Biochemistry, 2015, 54, 7409-7422.
  • Xu, W; Ouellette, AM; Wawrzak, Z; Shriver SJ. Anderson, SM; Zhao, L*. Kinetic and structural mechanisms of (5'S)-8,5'-cyclo-2'-deoxyguanosine-induced DNA replication stalling, Biochemistry, 2015, 54, 639-651.
  • Zhao, L*; Pence, M; Eoff, R; Yuan S; Fercu, C; Guengerich, FP*. Elucidation of kinetic mechanisms of human tranlesion DNA polymerase kappa using tryptophan mutants. FEBS J, 2014, 281, 4394-4410.
  • Zhao, L.; Pence, MG; Christov, PP; Wawrzak, Z; Choi, JY; Rizzo, CJ; Egli, M; Guengerich, FP. Basis of miscoding of the DNA adduct N2,3-ethenoguanine by human Y-family DNA polymerases, J. Biol. Chem., 2012, 287, 33516-33526. (featured on the cover)
  • Zhao, L.; Christov, PP; Kozekov, ID; Pence, MG; Pallon, PS; Rizzo, CJ; Egli, M; Guengerich, FP. Replication of N2,3-ethenoguanine by DNA polymerases, Angew. Chem. Int. Ed., 2012, 51, 5466-5469.
  • Zhao, L.; Schenkman, JB; Rusling, JF. High throughput genotoxicity screening using magnetic bioreactors with LC-MS/MS, Anal. Chem., 2010, 82, 10172-10178.
  • Zhao, L.; Schenkman, JB; Rusling, JF. Screening for reactive metabolites using electro-optical arrays featuring human liver cytosol and microsomal enzyme sources and DNA, Chem. Comm., 2009, 5386-5388. (highlighted as hot article)
  • Zhao, L; Krishnan, S; Zhang, Y; Schenkman, JB; Rusling, JF. Differences in metabolite-mediated toxicity of tamoxifen in rodents versus humans elucidated with DNA/microsome electro-optical arrays and nanoreactors, Chem. Res. Toxicol., 2009, 22, 341-347.