Professor

Dr. Zoya Leonenko

BIOGRAPHY

Professor Zoya Leonenko is a well-known expert in biophysics and scanning probe microscopy and is the author of over 60 scientific publications and several book chapters.

Leonenko leads a nanoscale biophysics research group at the University of Waterloo. She uses advanced scanning probe microscopy methods to study biophysics of lipids and lipid-protein interactions, interactions of nanoparticles with lipid membrane and monolayers, and to develop novel application of lipid films in biomedical nanotechnology and biosensing.

Leonenko is a Professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy holding a joint position with Department of Biology. Dr Leonenko joined the University of Waterloo in 2007. Prior to this, she worked at the University of Maryland at Baltimore and the University of Calgary as an Assistant Professor. She was also a recipient of an Invited Professorship Award from the University of Burgundy, Dijon, France in 2006. Leonenko’s laboratory in the Department of Physics and Astronomy was established in 2007 and is supported by Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) and Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI)/Ontario Research Fund (ORF) funds. The laboratory is equipped with two advanced scanning probe microscopes from Agilent Technologies and JPK Instruments, complimented by optical and fluorescence microscopy and Langmuir-Blodgett instrumentation.

EDUCATION

  • PhD, Chemical Physics, Institute of Chemical Kinetics and Combustion, Novosibirsk State University, Russia
  • Diploma (MS), Physical Chemistry, Novosibirsk State University, Russia

RESEARCH

Studying Biophysics of Lipids and Lipid-Protein Interactions

Scanning Probe Microscopy (SPM) methods, including atomic force microscopy, provide a powerful way for imaging and manipulations of matter at the nanoscale and are especially useful in life sciences and bionanotechnology. Professor Leonenko’s research program employs SPM methods to study biophysics of lipids and lipid-protein interactions, the role of structural changes and physical properties of lipid template in controlling biological processes and diseases.

Investigation of Lipid Membrane as an Important Part of Every Living Cell

Amyloid fibrils are insoluble protein aggregates that associated with several neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease. Professor Leonenko’s research team studies the structure and physical properties of the model and cell membrane in relation amyloid fibril formation and toxicity. These studies will aid in understanding of complex mechanism of amyloidoses and will help to develop novel methods for early detection and prevention of Alzheimer’s disease.

Additional Research Projects

Professor Leonenko’s research group will also investigate the following: structure and function of pulmonary surfactant and interaction of surfactant with nanoparticles; application of lipid films in biomedical nanotechnology and biosensor development; interactions of nanoparticles with lipid membrane and development of novel scanning probe force microscopy methods and novel applications of these methods for bio-and -nanotechnologies.

RESEARCH INTERESTS

  • Biophysics of lipids and lipid-protein interactions in relation to Alzheimer’s disease
  • Study of antimicrobial peptides and drugs
  • Application of lipid films in biomedical nanotechnology and nanosensor development
  • Developing of novel scanning probe microscopy methods and their applications
Affiliation: 
University of Waterloo