Zhiyuan Tian, Ph. D.
School of Chemical Sciences
University of Chinese Academy of Sciences (UCAS)
Telephone: 0086-10-69672554
Address: 19-A Yuquan Road, Shijingshan District, Beijing, China
Postcode: 100049

Research Areas

Our research group is interested in the photoactive functional materials and their potential applications. Specifically, we focus on the design and synthesis of functional materials with stimuli-response features to light and their potential applications in biological imaging (super-resolution fluorescence imaging and multimodality correlative imaging), biological optical detection (mapping of tumor markers) and treatment (photoactivated synergistic antitumor with multilevel mechanisms) and etc. Our research interests also include the optical/photonic properties of nanostructures and the potential application of these fundamental properties in the design of new classes of opto-functional materials. The ongoing projects in our group include: (1) dynamic contrast super-resolution fluorescence imaging and its applications in bioimaging, (2) fluorescent tags and sensors, and (3) photoactive materials and their application in diagnosis and treatment of cancers.


Ph. D. 2005, Institute of Chemistry, Chinese Academy of Sciences (ICCAS), Beijing, China 
B. Sc. 1995, Wuhan University, Wuhan, China


Working Experience

  • 2011.03-present: University of Chinese Academy of Sciences (UCAS), Professor of Chemistry;

  • 2005.11-2011.02: Queen's University (Canada); Washington State University (USA); University of Washington (USA); Clemson University (USA), Postdoctoral Research Associate; 

  • 2005.03-2005.04: Regensburg University (Germany), Visiting Student; 

  • 1995. 09-2000.07: State-Owned No. 752 Factory (Wuhan), Ministry of Electronic Industry, Assistant Engineer

Honors & Distinctions

  1. LiPei Outstanding Teacher Award, UCAS,2020

  2. Excellent Award of Education & Teaching Achievements, UCAS, 2020

  3. ZhuLiYueHua Outstanding Teacher Award, CAS,2020

  4. Baosteel Outstanding Teacher Award, Baosteel Education Fundation, 2019

  5. Recipient of "CAS Distinguished Research Fellow Program", 2017

  6. Rated as“Excellent”in the final review of CAS xx Plan Program, 2016

  7. Recipient of "CAS xx Plan Program", 2011

  8. Excellent Prize of the President Scholarship for Postgraduate Students, CAS, 2004. 


Monograph Chapters

  1. Z. Y. Tian, W. W. Wu, A. D. Q. Li, Photoswitchable Nanoprobes for Biological Imaging Applications (Chapter 1), in "Trace Analysis with Nanomaterials", Editor: David T. Pierce & Julia Xiaojun Zhao, Wiley-VCH, 3-30.
  2. W. W. Wu, Z. Y. Tian, A. D. Q. Li, Fluorescent Nanoparticles for Biological Imaging, in "Comprehensive Biomaterials", Editor: Paul Ducheyne, Elsevier, 393-403.
  3. Z. Y. Tian, Photoswitching-enabled Novel Optical Imaging: Innovative Solutions for Real-world Challenges in Fluorescence Detections, in "2014 Science Development Report", Editted by CAS, Science Press,120-125

Selected publications since 2011

  1. MOFs-based nanoagent enables dual mitochondrial damage in synergistic antitumor therapy via oxidative stress and calcium overload, Nature Communications, 2021, 12: 6399. Corresponding author

  2. Near-infrared light-triggered platelet arsenal for combined photothermal-immunothreapy against cancer, Science Advances, 2021, 7: eabd7614. Corresponding author

  3. Correlative dual-alternating-color photoswitching fluorescence imaging and AFM enable ultrastructural analyses of complex structures with nanoscale resolution, Nanoscale, 2020, 12, 17203. Corresponding author

  4. A long-wavelength turn-on fluorescent probe for intracellular nanomolar level peroxynitrite sensing with second-level response, Talanta, 2020, 219, 121354. Corresponding author

  5. Single-chromophore-based therapeutic agent enables green-light-triggered chemotherapy and simultaneous photodynamic therapy to cancer cells, ACS Appl. Bio Mater., 2019, 2, 3068. Corresponding author

  6. A single-chromophore-based agent enables rapid sensing of intracellular hypochlorous acid and in-situ photodynamic therapy to cancer cells, Anal. Chem. Acta, 2019, 1061, 142. Corresponding author

  7. A super-sensitive ratiometric fluorescent probe for monitoring intracellular subtle pH fluctuation, Sens. Actuators B: Chem. 2018, 273, 167. Corresponding author

  8. A turn-on fluorescent probe for detection of sub-ppm levels of a sulfur mustard simulant with high selectivity, Anal. Chem., 2018, 90, 5481. Corresponding author

  9. Cancer cell membrane-biomimetic nanoprobes with two-photon excitation and near-infrared emission for intravital tumor fluorescence imaging, ACS Nano, 2018, 12, 1350. Corresponding author

  10. A new colorimetric, near-infrared fluorescent probe for rapid detection of palladium with high sensitivity and selectivity, Talanta, 2018,183, 164. Corresponding author

  11. Beyond a carrier: graphene quantum dots as a probe for programmatically monitoring anticancer drug delivery, release, and response, ACS Appl. Mater. Interfaces, 2017, 9, 27396. Corresponding author

  12. A BODIPY-based fluorescent probe for detection of subnanomolar phosgene with rapid response and high selectivity, ACS Appl. Mater. Interfaces, 2017, 9, 13920. Corresponding author

  13. A flavone-basedturn-on fluorescent probe for intracellular cysteine/homocysteine sensing with high selectivity, Talanta, 2016,146, 41. Corresponding author

  14. Photoswitching near-infrared fluorescence from polymer nanoparticles catapults signals over the region of noises and interferences for enhanced sensitivity, ACS Appl. Mater. Interfaces, 2016, 8, 4399.   Corresponding author 

  15. Photoswitchable fluorescent nanoparticles and their emerging applications, Nanoscale, 2015, 7, 19342.  Corresponding author

  16. Conjugated polymer-based hybrid nanoparticles with two-photon excitation and near-infrared emission features for fluorescence bioimaging within the biological window, ACS Appl. Mater. Interfaces, 2015, 7, 20640. Corresponding author

  17. Erythrocyte membrane-coated NIR-triggered biomimetic nanovectors with programmed delivery for photodynamic therapy of cancer, Nanoscale, 2015, 7, 9806. Corresponding author

  18. Antiphase dual-color correlation in a reactant−product pair imparts ultrasensitivity in reaction-linked double-photoswitching fluorescence imaging, J. Am. Chem. Soc., 2015, 137, 4312. Corresponding author

  19. Single-fluorophore-based fluorescent probes enable dual-channel detection of Ag+ and Hg2+ with high selectivity and sensitivity, Anal. Chem. Acta, 2014, 839, 74. Corresponding author

  20. Al3+-induced far-red fluorescence enhancement of conjugated polymer nanoparticles and its application in live cell imaging, Nanoscale, 2013, 5, 9340, Corresponding author

  21. Development of polymeric nanoprobes with improved lifetime dynamic range and stability for intracellular oxygen sensing, Small, 2013, 9, 2639.  Corresponding author

  22. Photoswitching-enabled novel optical imaging: innovative solutions for real-world challenges in fluorescence detections, Acc. Chem. Res. 2013, 46, 269.  Corresponding author

  23. Photoswitching-induced frequency-locked donor-acceptor fluorescence double modulations identify the target analyte in complex environments,J. Am. Chem. Soc., 2011, 133, 16092. Corresponding author


  1. NSFC (grant No. 22077121,630,000 RMB), 2021--2024, PI

  2. NSFC (grant No. 21773241,650,000 RMB), 2018--2021PI

  3. NSFC (grant No. 21573234,800,000 RMB), 2016--2019 PI

  4. NSFC (grant No. 21373218,840,000 RMB), 2014--2017 PI

  5. NSFC (grant No. 21173262,620,000 RMB), 2012--2015 PI

  6. Instrument Developing Project of CAS (grant No. yz201455, 4190,000 RMB), 2015-2017PI


  1. Prof. Jiannian Yao (Academician of CAS), Prof. Yongsheng Zhao, Institute of Chemistry, Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), China. 

  2. Prof. Guanghui Ma (Academician of CAS), Prof. Wei Wei, Institute of Process Engineering, State Key Laboratory of Biochemical Engineering, Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) , China.

  3. Prof. Alexander. Li, Department of Chemistry and Center for Materials Research, Washington State University, Pullman, WA, U. S. A. 

  4. Chief Physician Zihui Meng, Department of Surgery of the Liver, Biliary and Pancreas, China-Japan Union Hospital of Jilin University, Changchun, China. 

Group members

  1. Ming Liu: Postdoctoral fellow (2021-2023)
  2. Weier Bao: Graduate student (Ph. D. candidate, 2018-2021)
  3. Jiaqi Meng: Graduate student (Ph. D. candidate, 2017-2022)
  4. Zicheng Wang: Graduate student (Ph. D. candidate, 2018-2023)
  5. Xiaojuan Li: Graduate student (Ph. D. candidate, 2019-2024)
  6. Mingqi Sun: Graduate student (M. Sc. candidate, 2019-2022)
  7. Zhecheng Ma: Graduate student (M. Sc. candidate, 2020-2023)

Academic Participation

  1. Acta Physio-Chimica Sinica (ISSN:1000-6818) Editorial board member (5th)
  2. Member of devision of molecular photonics & excited state chemistry (1st)​, Chinese Chemical Society