Melissa Zhang

Contact Information


Department of Mathematics, UC Davis
One Shields Ave.
Davis, CA 95616-8633

About me

In Fall 2024, I will be joining the faculty at UC Davis as a tenure-track Assistant Professor. I am currently a Krener Assistant Professor in the Department of Mathematics at UC Davis.

Previously, I was a Viterbi Endowed Postdoctoral Fellow at MSRI/SLMath, in the Fall 2022 Floer Homotopy Theory semester program. Before that, I was a Limited Term Assistant Professor in the Department of Mathematics at the University of Georgia. I received my PhD in 2019 from Boston College under the supervision of J. Elisenda Grigsby and David Treumann, and spent my fifth year as a Visiting PhD Student at Columbia University.

My research is in the field of low-dimensional topology, which for me means knots, links, and their relationships with 3- and 4-dimensional spaces, sometimes with extra geometric structure. I focus on connections between two families of homology-type invariants: quantum link homology theories and Floer theories. In particular, I construct and study analogues to algebraic constructions from Heegaard Floer homologies in Khovanov homologies, in order to explore the depths of geometric and topological information captured within quantum invariants. My exploration has led me to become interested in tools from homotopy theory, representation theory, combinatorics, symplectic/contact geometry, and more!

[CV, updated February 2024]


Materials from Talks

Slides from some past talks

[JMM2024 Bridge Trisections with Divides]

Lecture Series on Annular Khovanov Homology

In August 2021, I gave a series of four lectures at the Perspectives on quantum link homology theories workshop organized by Lukas Lewark and Claudius Zibrowius and hosted by the University of Regensburg.

Videos of the lectures are available on their website:

Lecture 1: Basics of annular Khovanov homology

Lecture 2: AKh and periodic links

Lecture 3: sl(2) action on AKh, annular Khovanov-Lee homology

Lecture 4: A further sampling of applications of AKh

In Fall 2022, I organized a learning seminar at SLMath called [Homotopy Types in Low-Dimensional Topology]. Click on the link to visit the webpage containing resources for this seminar.


In my teaching, my first goal is to pique students' interest in the content, so that learning becomes a means to satisfy curiosity. In the classroom, I am currently focusing on active learning techniques, and like to give my students the time to think about questions — to ask and to answer — during our class meetings. I aim to support my students as a whole persons, as I recognize that everyone has unique struggles and needs which need to be resolved for learning to occur most efficiently.

Courses at UC Davis:

Winter Quarter 2024:
Fall Quarter 2023: Spring Quarter 2023: Winter Quarter 2023:

Other Stuff

[Math Code]


My partner Alex Wein is also a mathematician.
My sister-in-law Nicole Wein is a theoretical computer scientist.
My sister-in-law Natasha Wein is an artist. She works wonders with resin too.
My sister-in-law² Maya Hladisova is a designer.

[Round Animals]

I've been painting a lot of round animals.

[Mathematical Riddles]

I'm slowly curating my favorite mathematical riddles.

[Puzzles for K.]

These are some puzzles I worked on with an awesome middle schooler during the first year of the pandemic.

[5-minute talk timer]

[3-second talk timer demo]

[Bulk-delete Watch Later Playlist]

Sometimes I don't want to watch the dregs of my "Watch later" playlist and just want to delete them. But YouTube doesn't give you an easy way to do this. You can use AutoIt to bulk-delete unwatched videos on your YouTube "Watch later" playlist.

[Chatbot Recipes]