Zou, Yike

Organic Chemistry
Enzyme Catalysis
Theory & Computation

Contact Information

3077B Young Hall

Short Biography

Yike Zou completed his PhD in Organic Chemistry at the University of Pennsylvania in 2017. He is a postdoctoral research associate at UCLA since 2018 and a lecturer of organic chemistry at UCLA since 2021.   


Yike Zou was born in Chengdu, China. He came to the United States in 2010 joining University of Mississippi’s School of Pharmacy as a visiting researcher. There he developed a strong interest in marine natural product research focusing in isolation and structural elucidation of marine natural products from cold-water sponges residing in the Aleutian Islands marine environment. 
During that research period, he discovered Aleutianamine, a natural product selectively inhibits PANC-1 solid tumor cell lines. He then attended the University of Pennsylvania in 2012 for graduate school, where he focused on the total synthesis of architecturally complex natural products. His PhD dissertation comprised the total synthesis of the nodulisporic acid family of indole terpenes, under the supervision of Prof. Amos B. Smith, III.
After graduation, he joined Prof. Ken Houk research group at UCLA focusing on applied computational chemistry. His research works at UCLA involve computational studies on catalytic reactions comprising transition metal catalysis, organocatalysis, and enzyme catalysis. He has developed a strong interest in enzyme design. He has co-authored more than 40 publications so far and have co-mentored multiple undergraduate and graduate students.


[Selected Publications]

  • 1 Zou, Y.; Houk, K. N., Mechanisms and Dynamics of Synthetic and Biosynthetic Formation of Delitschiapyrones: Solvent Control of Ambimodal Periselectivity. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2021, 143(30), 11734-11740. doi.org/10.1021/jacs.1c05293
  • 2 Wan, L.-Q.; Zhang, X.; Zou, Y.; Shi, R.; Cao, J.-G.; Xu, S.-Y.; Deng, L.-F.; Zhou, L.; Gong, Y.; Shu, X.; Lee, G. Y.; Ren, H.; Dai, L.; Qi, S.; Houk, K. N.; Niu, D., Nonenzymatic Stereoselective S-Glycosylation of Polypeptides and Proteins. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2021, 143(31), 11919-11926. doi.org/10.1021/jacs.1c05156
  • 3 Anthony, S. M. ; Tona, V. ; Zou, Y. ; Morrill, L. A.; Billingsley, J. M.; Lim, M.; Tang, Y.; Houk, K. N.; Garg, N. K., Total Synthesis of (−-Strictosidine and Interception of Aryne Natural Product Derivatives “Strictosidyne” and “Strictosamidyne”. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2021, 143, 7471-7479. doi.org/10.1021/jacs.1c02004
  • 4 Basler, S.; Studer, S.; Zou, Y.; Mori, T.; Ota, Y.; Camus, A.; Bunzel, A.; Helgeson, R.; Houk, K. N.; Jiménez-Osés, G.; Hilvert, D. Nature Chemistry 2021, 13, 231-235. “Efficient Lewis acid catalysis of an abiological reaction in a de novo protein scaffold”doi.org/10.1038/s41557-020-00628-4
    Highlighted on UCLA News Report and C&EN news
  • 5 Liu, L.; Zou, Y.; Bhattacharya, A.; Zhang, D.; Lang, S. Q.; Houk, K. N.; Devaraj, N. K. Nature Chemistry 2020, 12, 1029-1034. “Enzyme-free synthesis of natural phospholipids in water” doi.org/10.1038/s41557-020-00559-0
  • 6 Zou, Y.; Yang, S.; Sanders, J. N.; Li, W.; Yu, P.; Wang, H.; Tang, Z.; Liu, W.; Houk, K. N. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2020, 142, 20232-20239. “Computational Investigation of the Mechanism of Diels–Alderase PyrI4” doi.org/10.1021/jacs.0c10813
  • 7 Zou, Y.; Wong, J.; Houk, K. N. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2020, 142, 38, 16403–16408. “Computational exploration of a redox-neutral organocatalytic Mitsunobu reaction” doi.org/10.1021/jacs.0c07487
  • 8 Low, Z. J. #; Ma, G.-L. #; Tran, H. T. #; Zou, Y. #; Xiong, J.; Pang, L.; Nuryyeva, S.; Ye, H.; Hu, J.-F.; Houk, K. N.; Liang, Z.-X. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2020, 142, 1673-1679. “Sungei¬dines from a non-canonical enediyne biosynthetic pathway” doi.org/10.1021/jacs.9b10086
  • 9 Zou, Y.; Chen, S.; Houk, K. N. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2019, 141, 12382-12387. “Origins of selective formation of 5-vinyl-2-methylene furans from oxyallyl/diene (3+2) cycloadditions with Pd(0) catalysis” doi.org/10.1021/jacs.9b05762
  • 10 Zou, Y.; Xue, X.-S.; Deng, Y.; Smith, A. B.; Houk, K. N. Org. Lett. 2019, 21, 5894-5897. “Factors controlling reactivity in the hydrogen atom transfer and radical addition steps of a radical relay cascade” doi.org/10.1021/acs.orglett.9b02023
  • 11 Zou, Y. ; Wang, X. ; Sims, J.; Wang, B.; Pandey, P.; Welsh, C. L.; Stone, R. S.; Avery, M. A.; Doerksen, R. J.; Ferreira, D.; Anklin, C.; Valeriote, F. A.; Kelly, M.; Hamann, M. T. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2019, 141, 4338-4344. “Computationally-assisted discovery and assignment of a highly strained and PANC-1 selective alkaloid from Alaska’s deep ocean” doi.org/10.1021/jacs.8b11403
  • 12 Zou, Y.; Li, X.; Yang, Y.; Berritt, S.; Melvin, J.; Gonzales, S.; Spafford, M.; Smith, A. B. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2018, 140, 9502. “Total synthesis of (−)-nodulisporic acids D, C, and B: evolution of a unified synthetic strategy” doi.org/10.1021/jacs.8b04053
  • 13 Zou, Y.; Gutierrez, O.; Sader, A. C.; Patel, N. D.; Fandrick, D. R.; Busacca, C. A.; Fandrick, K. R.; Kozlowski, M.; Senanayake, C. H. Org. Lett. 2017, 19, 6064. “A computational investigation of the ligand-controlled Cu-catalyzed site-selective propargylation and allenylation of carbonyl compounds” doi.org/10.1021/acs.orglett.7b02845
  • 14 Zou, Y.; Smith, A. B. J Antibiot 2017, 30, 94. “Total synthesis of architecturally complex indole terpenoids: strategic and tactical evolution” doi.org/10.1038/ja.2017.94 – Special issue in honor of Professor K. C. Nicolaou
  • 15 Zou, Y.; Melvin, J. E.; Gonzales, S. S.; Spafford, M. J.; Smith, A. B. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2015, 137, 7095. “Total synthesis of (−)-nodulisporic acid D” doi.org/10.1021/jacs.5b04728
      Selected by D. F. Taber, Organic. Chemistry Highlights 2015, September 7.
      Selected by Synfacts, Carreira, E. M.; Fischer, S. Synfacts 2015, 11, 0796. 
  • “Synthesis of (–)-Nodulisporic Acid D” doi.org/10.1055/s-0034-1381168
      Included in the book “Organic Synthesis: State of the Art, 2013-2015”
  • 16 Zou, Y.; Hamann, M. T. Org. Lett. 2013, 15, 1516. “Atkamine: a new pyrroloiminoquinone scaffold from the cold water Aleutian Islands Latrunculia sponge” doi.org/10.1021/ol400294v