Wen Zhang

Contact Info

Title: Associate professor
Email: wen.zhang@njit.edu
Office: Colton Hall, Room 211
Hours: Email to schedule: wen.zhang@njit.edu
Phone: 973-596-5520
Dept: Civil and Environmental Engineering
Webpage: http://www.wenresearch.com

About Me

Wen Zhang is currently an associate professor of NJIT’s Newark College of Engineering in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. Wen is a licensed Professional Engineer (P.E.) registered in the States of New Jersey and Delaware. Dr. Zhang's research integrates nanotechnology into environmental engineering to develop innovative solutions for environmental sustainability and challenges in water-energy nexus (WEN). His PhD work focused on the environmental fate and transport of engineered nanoparticles, biological interactions, as well as nanomaterial characterization at biointerfaces. At NJIT, Wen leads major efforts in the sustainable design of visible light-driven photocatalytic systems for harnessing solar energy, hydrogen evolution, and efficient degradation of emerging water contaminants. Moreover, he develops novel multifunctional nanomaterials for antimicrobial applications, microalgae harvesting for biofuel production, and reactive electrochemical membrane systems. Wen is the recipient of a number of national awards in the US, including the 2011 Simon Karecki Award from the Global Research Collaboration and SEMATECH Engineering Research Center for Environmentally Benign Semiconductor Manufacturing, the 2012 CH2M Hill/AEESP Outstanding Doctoral Dissertation Award from the Association of Environmental Engineering and Science Professors (AEESP), the 2013 CIBA/ACS Younger Chemists Committee (YCC) Young Scientist Travel Award, and the 2016 ASCE New Jersey Section's Educator of the Year.


  • Ph.D. Environmental Science and Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology 2011 
  • M.S. Environmental Science and Engineering, Tongji University 2007  
  • B.S. Environmental Science and Engineering, Tsinghua University, 2004





1. Environmental Engineering (EnE 262)

2.  Fundamental Engineering Design (FED 101)

3.  Nanotechnology minor Course (NANO 488)

4. Environmental Microbiology (EnE 662)


Research Interests

Dr. Wen Zhang’s research focuses on environmental nanotechnology, photocatalysis, and sustainable nanomaterials for water treatment, disinfection, and renewable energy production.

Selected Research Projects

1.  PI. Imaging and Quantifying Chemically Modified Polymer Membrane Properties at Nanoscale (#15-3). MAST CENTER, Membrane Science, Engineering and Technology, NSF Industry/University Cooperative Research Center, $165,000. Duration: 09/01/2015-8/31/2018
2.  Co-PI. EPA P3 grant: Low Cost Family Water Filter for Developing Countries ($15,000 Phase I). EPA Agreement Number: SU835994. PI: Jay Meegoda
3.  PI. NSF I-Corps Site Award ($1500) at NJIT (ID# F2015-2): Development of Multifunctional Reactive Electrochemical Membranes (REM) for Biomass Recovery with Fouling Reduction, Water Reuse, and Cell Pretreatment for Lipid Extraction.
4.  PI. 2015 Undergraduate Research and Innovation Student Seed Grant (Phase I: $500 and Phase II: $3000): Development of Multifunctional Reactive Electrochemical Membranes for Biomass Recovery with Fouling Reduction, Water Reuse, and Cell Pretreatment.
5.  In situ Characterization of Visible-Light-Responsive Photocatalysts for H2 Production and Pollutant Degradation using Atomic Force Microscope (AFM). Faculty Seed Grant (FSG), $7500. Duration: 11/15/2014-6/30/2015
6.  PI. Switchable hydrophobic-hydrophilic magnetic nanoparticles for sustainable algal harvesting. NCE Research Planning Grant, $7000. Duration: 01/01/2013-6/30/2014
7.  Co-PI. Investigation of alternative measures for flood mitigation in the Hackensack/Moonachie/Little Ferry area. 2013. The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) has awarded NJIT a $289,000. Duration: 09/01/2013-12/31/2013
8.  Co-PI (PI: Yongsheng Chen). Method Development for Quantification of Physicochemical Properties of Engineered Nanoparticles and Their Local-Scale Biological Effects. 2012 NSF CBET. $300,000. Duration: 09/2012-09/2015.


Selected Journal Publications

1.           Liyuan Kuang, Wen Zhang. Enhanced Hydrogen Production by Carbon-doped TiO2 Decorated with Reduced Graphene Oxide (rGO) under Visible Light Irradiation. RSC Advances, 2016.6, 2479-2488.
2.           Ghadimkhani, A., Zhang, Wen, Marhaba, T. Ceramic membrane defouling (cleaning) by air Nano Bubbles. Chemosphere, 2016.146, 379-384.
3.           Liyuan Kuang; Yaping Zhao; Wen Zhang, Shijian Ge. Roles of Reactive Oxygen Species and Holes in the Photodegradation of cationic and anionic dyes by TiO2 Under UV Irradiation. Journal of Environmental Engineering (an ASCE journal). 2016 142:2.
4.           Hua, L., Guo, L., Thakkar, M., Wei, D., Agbakpe, M., Kuang, L., Magpile, M., Chaplin, B.P., Tao, Y., Shuai, D., Zhang, X., Mitra, S., Zhang, W*. Effects of anodic oxidation of a substoichiometric titanium dioxide reactive electrochemical membrane on algal cell destabilization and lipid
              extraction. Bioresource Technology, 2015.203, 112-117
5.           Shijian Ge, Michael Agbakpe, Wen Zhang*, Liyuan Kuang, Heteroaggregation between PEI-coated Magnetic Nanoparticles and Algae: Effect of Particle Size on Algal Harvesting Efficiency. ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces. 2015. DOI: 10.1021/acsami.5b00572.
6.           Shijian Ge, Michael Agbakpe, Wen Zhang*, L Kuang, Z Wu, X Wang Recovering Magnetic Fe3O4-ZnO Nanocomposites from Algal Biomass Based on Hydrophobicity Shift under UV Irradiation. ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces, 2015, 7 (21), pp 11677–11682
7.           Shijan Ge, Michael Agbakpe, Zhiyi Wu, Liyuan Kuang, Wen Zhang*, Xianqin Wang. Efficient Algal Harvesting with Magnetite Nanoparticles: Effects of Surface Coating, UV Irradiation and Magnetic field. Environmental Science and Technology. 2015. 49 (2), pp 1190–1196 DOI: 
8.           Wen Zhang*, Xuezhi Zhang. Adsorption of MS2 on Oxide Nanoparticles Affects Chlorine Disinfection and Solar Inactivation. Water Research. 2014. 69: 59–67
9.           Michael Agbakpe, Shijian Ge, Wen Zhang*, Xuezhi Zhang, Patricia Kobylarz, Algae harvesting for biofuel production: Influences of UV irradiation and polyethylenimine (PEI) coating on bacterial biocoagulation. Bioresource Technology 2014, DOI: 10.1016/j.biortech.2014.05.060.
10.         Wen Zhang, Yongsheng Chen. Experimental Determination of Conduction and Valence Bands of Semiconductor Nanoparticles using Kelvin Probe Force Microscopy. Journal of Nanoparticle Research. 2013. DOI: 10.1007/s11051-012-1334-2.
11.         Wen Zhang, Yang Li, Junfeng Niu, and Yongsheng Chen. Photogeneration of reactive oxygen species on uncoated silver, gold, nickel, and silicon nanoparticles and their antibacterial effects. Langmuir. 2013. DOI: 10.1021/la400500t
12.         Yang Li, Wen Zhang, Junfeng Niu, and Yongsheng Chen. Surface-Coating-Dependent Dissolution, Aggregation, and Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS) Generation of Silver Nanoparticles under Different Irradiation Conditions. Environmental Science and Technology. 2013, 47 (18), 10293–10301
13.         Wen Zhang, Joseph B Hughes, and Yongsheng Chen. Impacts of hematite nanoparticle exposure on biomechanical and surface electrical properties of E. coli cells. Applied Environmental Microbiology, 2012. DOI: 10.1128/AEM.00193-12.
14.         Wen Zhang, John Crittenden, Kungang Li, and Yongsheng Chen. Attachment efficiency of nanoparticle aggregation in aqueous dispersions: modeling and experimental validation. Environmental Science and Technology, 2012, DOI: 10.1021/es203623z.
15.         Wen Zhang, Bruce Rittmann, and Yongsheng Chen. Size effects on adsorption kinetics of hematite NPs on E. coli cells. Environmental Science and Technology, 2011, 45 (6): 2172-2178.
16.         Wen Zhang, Ying Yao, Nicole Sullivan, Yongsheng Chen. Modeling the primary size effects of citrate-coated silver nanoparticles on their ion release kinetics. Environmental Science and Technology, 2011, 45 (10), 4422–4428.
17.         Wen Zhang, Ying Yao, and Yongsheng Chen. Quantifying and Imaging the Morphology and Nanoelectric Properties of Soluble Quantum Dot Nanoparticles Interacting with DNA. Journal of Physical Chemistry C, 2011, 115(3):599-606.
18.         Wen Zhang, Ying Yao, Kungang Li, Ying Huang, Yongsheng Chen. Influence of dissolved oxygen on aggregation kinetics of citrate-coated silver nanoparticles. Environmental pollution. 2011, 159 (12): Pages 3757–3762.
19.         Wen Zhang, Andrew Stack, and Yongsheng Chen. Interaction force measurement between E. coli cells and nanoparticles immobilized surfaces by using AFM. Colloids and Surfaces B: Biointerfaces, 2011, 82(2): 316-324.