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Francesco Zonta

Associate Professor

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Research activity per year

Personal profile

Personal profile

My scientific background is Theoretical and Mathematical Physics and in particular Statistical Mechanics and Thermodynamics.In 2004, I was admitted to the Ph.D. school in Physics at Padua University under the supervision of Prof. Attilio L. Stella and Prof. Enzo Orlandini. I focused on the connection between statistical and topological properties of polymers. During the Ph.D. my research interests gradually shifted towards the simulation of biological macromolecules, DNA and proteins.As a post-doctoral fellow and young researcher (2007-2015), I joined the laboratory of Prof. Fabio Mammano at the Venetian Institute of Molecular Medicine (VIMM, Padua), where I started to work on a computational model, based on Quantum Mechanics and Molecular Dynamics simulations, of a gap-junction hemichannel.In 2015 I moved to the Shanghai Institute for Advanced Immunochemical Studies (SIAIS) of Shanghaitech University as Research Associate Professor. From 2015 to 2018 I have been a Research Associate Professor in the Phenotypic Screening lab of Prof. Guang Yang and the director of the Informatics and Computation Platform.In 2018 I joined as Co-PI the newly established Laboratory of Computational Biology in SIAIS, and initiated my collaboration with Prof.Michael Levitt. In 2023 I moved to XJTLU as Associate Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences. Here my research is focused on the development computer-aided methods for drug design (in particular antibodies), multiscale simulations of biological systems, and of machine learning force fields.

Research interests

My research focus on modeling of biological systems using Molecular Dynamics simulations with focus on important drug targets. Since 2007 I have been working on Connexin hemichannels, to understand how mutations change their permeation properties causing major diseases. From 2015 I have been working on modeling and designing antibodies that can interact with the connexin hemichannels (and other targets) aiming at the treatment of some incurable genetic diseases. I have been also working on the development of new force fields using Machine Learning. Finally, since 2019 I am working on modeling COVID-19 spread in the population, to understand how intervention can be used to mitigate the infections.


2023 - Associate Professor, XJTLU, Department of Biological Sciences

2015-2023 - Research Associate Professor, ShanghaiTech University, SIAIS

2011-2015 - Young Researcher, Padova University, Department of Physics and Astronomy

2007 - 2011 - Post Doc, Venetian Institute for Molecular Medicine


2023/24 BIO311 Modeling for Computational Biology

2023/24 SCI002 Scientific Principles and Methods

2022/23 APH408 Computer-assisted Drug Development

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being

Education/Academic qualification

Ph.D. in Physics, Padova University, 2007

MSc in Physics, Padova University, 2003

External positions

Adjunct Lecturer, Taylor's University Malaysia

1 Jan 202431 Dec 2025

Person Types

  • Staff


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Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

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