Prof. Dr. Kai Zhang

Group Leader

Kai did his undergraduate and master study in Chemistry at the University of Cologne, Germany. After completing his PhD in Cologne and partially at University of Strathclyde in Glasgow, UK, he worked as a postdoctoral researcher at the Max Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces in Potsdam, Germany. In the spring of 2013, he joined the MPI-P as a research group leader.

Cyrine Ayed

Doctoral Researcher

Cyrine undertook a National Diploma in Industrial Chemistry at the National Institute of Applied Sciences and Technology in Tunis (INSAT), Tunisia. She joined our group at the beginning of 2017, where she is a PhD candidate. Her research interests focus on porous hybrid materials for catalysis.

Niklas Huber

Doctoral Researcher

Niklas studied Chemistry at the LMU in Munich, including two research projects abroad with Prof. Timothy Swager at MIT in Boston and Prof. Dieter Schlüter at ETH Zürich. After joining BASF USA for an internship, he started his PhD in the Zhang group in March 2018. Niklas looks into the development of new polymer designs for heterogeneous photocatalysis.

Wenxin Wei

Doctoral Researcher

Wenxin did his undergraduate in chemistry at the College of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, Xiamen University in China. After getting his master degree in the same university, he joined our group in October 2017, pursuing his PhD. His research interests are focused on porous materials for catalytic applications.

Thomas Kuckhoff

Doctoral Researcher

Thomas studied chemistry at the Johannes Gutenberg University in Mainz. He joined Zhang`s group as doctoral candidate in summer 2019. In his research he focuses on the synthesis of heterogeneous photocatalyst by integrating single photocatalytic units into classic polymer structures.



Check out our "Open Positions"

We are always looking for talented an highly-motivated students interested in our working group. Check out the "open positions" page for more information.


  • Dr. Calum Ferguson, Postdoc, 2020 (now: independet GL at Max-Planck-Institute for Polymer Research (MPI-P)
  • Dr. Jeehye Byun, Postdoc, 2018 (now:  Senior Researcher at Korean Institute of Science and Technology (KIST))
  • Dr. Olaia Alvaréz-Bermudez, PhD, 2019
  • Zhian Lan, Joint PhD, 2018
  • Ting Zhou, PhD Student, 2018 (Fudan University, Shanghai, China)
  • Dr. Wei Huang, PhD, 2017 (now at: Soochow University, China)
  • Dr. Run Li, PhD, 2017, (now: Assistant Professor at Hunan University, China)
  • Dr. Lei Wang, PhD, 2017 (now at: Southern University of Science and Technology, China)
  • Dr. Beatriz Ma, PhD, 2016 (now at: Dow Chemicals)
  • Dr. Saman Ghasimi, PhD, 2016
  • Dr. Zi Jun Wang, PhD, 2016
  • Eleni Tzeiranidou, Bachelor Student, 2015 
  • Fabian Wittmann, Bachelor Student, 2015 
  • Kim Garth, Diploma Student, 2014 
  • Esther Riga, Diploma Student, 2014

Kai Zhang is a professor of chemistry and research group leader at the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research (MPIP), Mainz, Germany. He is a polymer and materials chemist by training. From 2002 to 2007, Kai did his undergraduate study and master degree in chemistry at the University of Cologne in Germany. He completed his PhD by the end of 2010 in the group of Professor Bernd Tieke in Cologne, and partly in the group of Professor Peter Skabara at the University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, UK, working on novel conjugated polymers for photovoltaic applications.  From 2011 to 2013, he worked as a postdoctoral researcher with Professor Markus Antonietti at the Max Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces in Potsdam, Germany. In the beginning of 2013, he joined the Department of Physical Chemistry of Polymer under Prof. Katharina Landfester at the MPIP as a research group leader. His research activity is mainly focused on photoactive porous polymer materials for catalytic studies.

Kai is currently associate editor of the journal Polymer International (Wiley). He holds a Guest Professorship “la chaire TOTAL de la Fondation Ballard” at Pole Chimie, University of Montpellier, Montpellier, France. He was selected to the “Young Leaders in Science” by the Schering Foundation, Germany in 2016, and awarded with the Grants for outstanding young university teachers and professors of chemistry, German Chemical Industry Association (VCI) . In 2018, he was selected as 2018 Emerging Investigator by Royal Chemical Society (RSC), in Materials Science (Journal of Materials Chemsitry). He also received several travel grants from the German Chemical Society (GDCh) and the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC), UK.

Professional Career and Education

2013 – today: Research Group Leader, Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research, Germany

2011-2012: Postdoctoral Fellow with Prof. Markus Antonietti, Max Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces, Department of Colloid Chemistry, Potsdam, Germany

2007-2010: PhD in Physical Chemistry with Prof. Bernd Tieke, Department of Chemistry, University of Cologne, Cologne, Germany and with Prof. Peter Skabara, Department of Pure and Applied Chemistry, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, UK
2002-2007: Undergraduate and Master study (German Diplom) in Chemistry, University of Cologne, Department of Chemistry, Cologne, Germany