Zachary Schultz

Zachary Schultz

Nanoscale Spectroscopic Imaging


Adjunct Associate Professor
Associate Professor, University of Notre Dame
Concurrent Associate Professor, Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, University of Notre Dame
Concurrent Assistant Professor, Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, University of Notre Dame
Assistant Professor, University of Notre Dame
Research Fellow, National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, NIH
NRC Postdoctoral Fellow, National Institute of Standards and Technology
Ph.D. in Analytical Chemistry, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
B.S. in Chemistry, The Ohio State University

Selected Awards

Cottrell Scholar Award
NIH Pathway to Independence Award

Research Interests

In the Schultz Lab, we believe the new scientific breakthroughs will be enabled by state of the art chemical measurement. Our research focuses on developing new tools for identifying molecules relevant to biomedical diagnostics and other applications. To do this, we build and develop instrumentation that takes advantage of chemical properties to characterize complex samples. The interaction between lasers and molecules provides unique information for detecting and identifying the components in complex systems. Understanding the basic science involved in chemical detection and manipulating these interactions has led to breakthrough technologies with tremendous potential. We are actively pursuing problems in metabolomics, protein receptor signaling, and active plasmonics.

Metabolomics. The ability to specifically identity and quantify the 40,000+ metabolites in the human body is essential for a systems biology approach to health care. Changes in biochemical pathways can be distinguished provided enough intermediate molecules can be monitored accurately. Current technologies can identify about 20% of the metabolites in biological samples. Our lab invented and is developing sheath-flow surface enhanced Raman scattering, which uses the unique pattern of scattered light associated with the structure of molecules, to improve molecular identification. We combine Raman detection with capillary electrophoresis, liquid chromatograpy, and other techniques. This methodology is orthogonal to existing technologies and should extend coverage of number of detectable metabolites. 

Protein Receptor Signaling. Proteins on the surface and embedded with cellular membranes are key to communicating environmental signals to the machinery within cells and are thus often drug targets. The ability to study the interaction of small molecules with receptors is a significant scientific challenge. By combining nanomaterials and state of the art spectroscopy and microscopy techniques, such as atomic force microscopy and tip-enhanced Raman scattering (TERS), we are able to monitor chemical signals associated with molecules interacting with specific proteins in intact cells. Understanding how molecules interact with signaling proteins offers promise to improve drug targeting as well as further investigate the role of membrane proteins in disease.

Active Plasmonics. Underlying all the problems we investigate is the basic science relevant to the signal enhancements incorporated into our measurements. We are interested in understanding how nanomaterials interact with light, particularly with respect to how these properties alter the response from nearby molecules. This basic science serves as the basis for the development of future measurement techniques.


Recent Papers

  • Xiao, L.; Schultz, Z. D. "Spectroscopic Imaging at the Nanoscale: Technologies and Recent Applications." Anal. Chem. 2018, 90, 440-458.
  • Bailey, K. A.; Klymenko, Y.; Feist, P. E.; Hummon, A. B.; Stack, M. S.; Schultz, Z. D. "Chemical Analysis of Morphological Changes in Lysophosphatidic Acid-Treated Ovarian Cancer Cells." Scientific Reports 2017, 7, 15295.
  • Kim, J.; Zeng, Z.; Xiao, L.; Schultz, Z. D. "Elucidating Protein/Ligand Recognition with Combined Surface Plasmon Resonance and Surface Enhanced Raman Spectroscopy." Anal. Chem. 2017, 89, 13074-13081.
  • Nguyen, A. H.; Peters, E. A.; Schultz, Z. D. "Bioanalytical applications of surface- enhanced Raman spectroscopy: de novo molecular identification." Rev. in Anal. Chem. 2017, 36, UNSP 20160037.
  • Xiao, L.; Bailey, K. A.; Wang, H.; Schultz, Z. D. "Probing Membrane Receptor-Ligand Specificity with Surface- and Tip-Enhanced Raman Scattering." Anal. Chem. 2017, 89, 9091-9099.
  • Zeng, Z.; Wang, H.; Johns, P.; Hartland, G. V.; Schultz, Z. D. "Photothermal Microscopy of Coupled Nanostructures and the Impact of Nanoscale Heating in Surface-Enhanced Raman Spectroscopy." J. Phys. Chem. C 2017, 121, 11623-11631.

Contact Information

Primary Research Areas

Research Specialties