Zhang’s primary research focuses on crustal growth, evolution and deformational behavior during the Earth’s crustal evolution and its geodynamic linkage to the pre-plate tectonic regime. Zhang also focuses on structural geology and tectonic evolution of orogens through Archean (>2.5 billion years) to Proterozoic, with interests ranging from microscopic structures to lithosphere-scale tectonics and from field-based study to numerical modeling. His research interest in economic geology deals with structural controls and modifications of the mineral deposits in deformed regions. His current research areas include North China Craton, Superior Craton in North America, Central Asia Orogenic Belt in China and Mongolia and Limpopo Belt in South Africa, etc.

Zhang obtained his BSc in 2000 and MSc in 2003 from Peking University and PhD degree from The University of Hong Kong in 2007. He worked as a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Waterloo (Canada) and lecturer at The Chinese University of Hong Kong during 2008-2015. He joined Sun Yat-sen University as a full professor in 2016. He was awarded Young Scholar 1000 Talents Plan (2016), Pearl River Talent Plan (2017) and NSFC Award for Distinguished Young Scholar (2020). He joined The University of Hong Kong in 2023. He is now the editor-in-chief for Precambrian Research.