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Zhen Yang Associate Professor

Academic Area: 
  • Environmental Engineering
  • Applied Chemistry
  • Polymer
Research Interests: 
  • Environmental-friendly flocculants and adsorbents for water treatment
  • Novel nano-materials in water remediation
  • Solid waste treatment
  • Indoor air pollution control (elimination of formaldehyde, VOCs, etc.)


  1. PhD, Chemistry, Nanjing University, China (2009-2014)
  2. Visiting Student, Ecole des Mines d'Ales, France (2013)
  3. BA, Chemistry, Nanjing University, China (2005-2009)

Professional positions

  1. Associate Professor, Nanjing Normal University, China (2017-)
  2. Lecturer, Nanjing Normal University, China (2014-2017)

Research Projects

  1. National Natural Science Foundation of China (General Project), PI, 51978341, 2020-2023
  2. Natural Science Foundation of Jiangsu Province of China for Excellent Young Scholars, PI, 2019-2022
  3. Advanced Entrepreneurial Talents of Nanjing, PI, 2017-
  4. Young Academic Leaders of Nanjing Normal University, PI, 2019-2022
  5. National Natural Science Foundation of China (Young Scholar Fund), PI, 51608275, 2017-2019
  6. Natural Science Foundation of Jiangsu Province of China (Young Scholar Fund), PI, BK20150981, 2015-2018 
  7. Natural Science Foundation of the Jiangsu Higher Education Instituations (General Project), PI, 15KJB610009, 2015-2017
  8. Priming Scientific Research Foundation for Advanced Talents of Nanjing Normal University (2014103XGQ0196), PI, 2014-2017
  9. Foundation of Jiangsu Collaborative Innovation Center of Biomedical Functional Materials (for twice), PI, 2014-2015, 2018-2019
  10. Teaching Reform Project of Nanjing Normal University, PI, 2015-2017
  11. Open Fund by Jiangsu Key Laboratory of Atmospheric Environment Monitoring and Pollution Control, PI, 2017-2019
  12. National Major Project of Science and Technology Ministry of China, Key researcher, 2017ZX07202-004, 2017-2020
  13. National Natural Science Foundation of China (General Project), Participator (3/10), 51578295, 2016-2019
  14. National Natural Science Foundation of China (General Project), Participator (3/9), 21575067, 2016-2017
  15. Project for Comprehensive Management of Tai Lake Water Environment in Jiangsu Province, Key researcher (3/21), TH2018201, 2018-2020
  16. Project for Comprehensive Management of Tai Lake Water Environment in Jiangsu Province, Key researcher (4/11), TH2014206, 2014-2016

Selected Publications (as the first author or (co-)coresponding author)

36)    T.Y. Hou, H.W. Du, Z. Yang*, Z.Q. Tian, S.C. Shen, Y.X. Shi, W.B. Yang*, L.M. Zhang. Flocculation of different types of combined contaminants of antibiotics and heavy metals by thermo-responsive flocculants with various architectures, Separation and Purification Technology, 2019, 223, 123-132.
35)    B Bian, X Hu, S Zhang, C Lv, Z Yang*, W Yang, L Zhang. Pilot-scale composting of typical multiple agricultural wastes: Parameter optimization and mechanisms, Bioresource Technology, 2019, 287, 121482
34)    J.Q. Chen*, Y. Yu, J.G. Han, Y. Guo, Z. Yang*, Q.Q. Shang, C.G. Liu, Mechanochemical esterification of waste mulberry wood by wet ball-milling with tetrabutylammonium fluoride, Bioresource Technology, 2019, 285, 121354
33)    X Zhou, Y Yang, C Li, Z Yang*, W Yang*, Z Tian, L Zhang, T Tao. Environmental-friendly one-step fabrication of tertiary amine-functionalized adsorption resins for removal of benzophenone-4 from water, Journal of Cleaner Production, 2018, 203, 655-663
32)    N Yao#, X Zhang#, Z Yang*, W Yang*, Z Tian, L Zhang. Norfloxacin and Bisphenol‑A Removal Using Temperature-Switchable Graphene Oxide, ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces, 2018, 10, 29083-29091
31)    B Bian, L Zhang*, Q Zhang, S Zhang, Z Yang*, W Yang*. Coupled heating/acidification pretreatment of chemical sludge for dewatering by using waste sulfuric acid at low temperature, Chemosphere, 2018, 205, 260-266
30)    J Chen*, C Zhu, Z Yang*, P Wang, Y Yue, T Kitaoka*. Thermally tunable pickering emulsions stabilized by carbon-dot-incorporated core−shell nanospheres with fluorescence “on−off” Behavior, Langmuir, 2018, 34, 273-283
29)    J Shen, X Wang, L Zhang*, Z Yang*, W Yang, Z Tian, J Chen*, T Tao. Size-selective adsorption of methyl orange using a novel nanocomposite by encapsulating HKUST-1 in hyper-crosslinked polystyrene networks, Journal of Cleaner Production, 2018, 184, 949-958
28)    X Zhou#, C Dong#, Z Yang*, Z Tian, L Lu, W Yang*, Y Wang, L Zhang, A Li, J Chen*. Enhanced adsorption of pharmaceuticals onto core-brush shaped aromatic rings-functionalized chitosan magnetic composite particles: Effects of structural characteristics of both pharmaceuticals and brushes, Journal of Cleaner Production, 2018, 172, 1025-1034
27)    H Du, Z Yang*, Z Tian, M Huang, W Yang*, L Zhang, A Li. Enhanced removal of trace antibiotics from turbid water in the coexistence of natural organic matters using phenylalanine-modified-chitosan flocculants: Effect of flocculants’ molecular architectures, Chemical Engineering Journal, 2018, 333, 310-319
26)    S Zhang, H Qu, Z Yang*, C Fu, Z Tian, W Yang*, Scale inhibition performance and mechanism of sulfamic/amino acids modified polyaspartic acid against calcium sulfate, Desalination, 2017, 419, 152-159
25)    X Wang, N Zhuo, C Fu, Z Tian, H Li, J Zhang, W Wu, Z Yang*, W Yang*, Enhanced selective adsorption of benzotriazole onto nanosized zeolitic imidazolate frameworks confined in polystyrene anion exchanger, Chemical Engineering Journal, 2017, 328, 816-824
24)    K Ren#, H Du#, Z Yang*, Z Tian, X Zhang, W Yang*, J Chen, Separation and sequential recovery of tetracycline and Cu(II) from water using reusable thermoresponsive chitosan-based flocculant. ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces, 2017, 9, 10266-10275
23)    N Zhuo, Y Lan, W Yang*, Z Yang*, X Li, X Zhou, Y Liu, J Shen, X Zhang. Adsorption of three selected pharmaceuticals and personal care products (PPCPs) onto MIL-101(Cr)/natural polymer composite beads. Separation and Purification Technology, 2017, 177, 272-280
22)    X Zhang#, J Shen#, N Zhuo, Z Tian, P Xu, Z Yang*, W Yang*. Interactions between antibiotics and graphene-based materials in water: A comparative experimental and theoretical investigation. ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces, 2016, 8, 24273-24280
21)    Z Yang, K Ren, E Guibal, S Jia, J Shen, X Zhang, W Yang*. Removal of trace nonylphenol from water in the coexistence of suspended inorganic particles and NOMs by using a cellulose-based flocculant. Chemosphere, 2016, 161, 482-490
20)    S Zhang, Y Dong, Z Yang*, W Yang*, J Wu, C Dong. Adsorption of pharmaceuticals on chitosan-based magnetic composite particles with core-brush topology. Chemical Engineering Journal, 2016, 304, 325-334
19)    S Jia, Z Yang*, K Ren, Z Tian, C Dong, R Ma, G Yu, W Yang*. Removal of antibiotics from water in the coexistence of suspended particles and natural organic matters using amino-acid-modified-chitosan flocculants: A combined experimental and theoretical study. Journal of Hazardous Materials, 2016, 317, 593-601
18)    S Jia, Z Yang*, W Yang*, T Zhang, S Zhang, X Yang, Y Dong, J Wu, Y Wang. Removal of Cu(II) and tetracycline using an aromatic rings-functionalized chitosan-based flocculant: Enhanced interaction between the flocculant and the antibiotic. Chemical Engineering Journal, 2016, 283, 495-503
17)    Z Yang, N Zhuo, S Zhang, Y Dong, X Zhang, J Shen, W Yang*, Y Wang, J Chen. A pH- and Temperature-Responsive Magnetic Composite Adsorbent for Targeted Removal of Nonylphenol. ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces, 2015, 7, 24446-24457
16)    Z Yang, S Jia, T Zhang, N Zhuo, W Yang*, Y Wang. Flocculation of copper(II) and tetracycline from water using a novel pH- and temperature-responsive flocculants. Chemosphere, 2015, 141, 112-119
15)    Z Yang, S Jia, T Zhang, N Zhuo, Y Dong, W Yang*, Y Wang. How heavy metals impact on flocculation of combined pollution of heavy metals–antibiotics: A comparative study. Separation and Purification Technology, 2015, 149, 398-406
14)    T Zhang, M Wang, W Yang*, Z Yang*, Y Wang, Z Gu. Synergistic Removal of Copper (II) and Tetracycline from Water Using an Environmentally Friendly Chitosan-Based Flocculant. Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research, 2014, 53 (39), 14913-14920
13)    Z Yang, B Yuan, H Li, Y Yang, H Yang, A Li, R Cheng. Amphoteric starch-based flocculants can flocculate different contaminants with even opposite surface charges from water through molecular structure control. Colloids and Surfaces A: Physicochemical and Engineering Aspects, 2014, 455, 28-35
12)    Z Yang, H Li, H Yan, H Wu, H Yang, Q Wu, H Li, A Li, R Cheng. Evaluation of a novel chitosan-based flocculant with high flocculation performance, low toxicity and good floc properties. Journal of Hazardous Materials, 2014, 276, 480-488
11)    Z Yang, JR Degorce-Dumas, H Yang, E Guibal, A Li, R Cheng. Flocculation of Escherichia Coli using a quaternary ammonium salt grafted carboxymethyl chitosan flocculant. Environmental Science & Technology, 2014, 48 (12), 6867-6873
10)    Z Yang, H Wu, B Yuan, M Huang, H Yang, A Li, J Bai, R Cheng. Synthesis of amphoteric starch-based grafting flocculants for flocculation of both positively and negatively charged colloidal contaminants from water. Chemical Engineering Journal, 2014, 244, 209-217
09)        Z Yang, H Yang, Z Jiang, T Cai, H Li, H Li, A Li, R Cheng. Flocculation of both anionic and cationic dyes in aqueous solutions by the amphoteric grafting flocculant carboxymethyl chitosan-graft-polyacrylamide. Journal of Hazardous Materials, 2013, 254, 36-45
08)        Z Yang, H Yan, H Yang, H Li, A Li, R Cheng. Flocculation performance and mechanism of graphene oxide for removal of various contaminants from water. Water Research, 2013, 47 (9), 3037-3046
07)        Z Yang, H Yang, Z Jiang, X Huang, H Li, A Li, R Cheng. A new method for calculation of flocculation kinetics combining Smoluchowski model with fractal theory. Colloids and Surfaces A: Physicochemical and Engineering Aspects, 2013, 423, 11-19
06)        Zhen Yang, Yabo Shang, Xin Huang, Yichun Chen, Yaobo Lu, Aimin Chen, Yuxiang Jiang, Wei Gu, Xiaozhi Qian, Hu Yang, Rongshi Cheng. Cationic content effects of biodegradable amphoteric chitosan-based flocculants on the flocculation properties. Journal of Environmental Sciences, 2012, 24 (8), 1378-1385
05)        Zhen Yang, Chengang Zhou, Hu Yang, Tao Cai, Jun Cai, Haibo Li, Dao Zhou, Bifeng Chen, Aimin Li, Rongshi Cheng. Improvement of the compatibilization of high-impact polystyrene/magnesium hydroxide composites with partially sulfonated polystyrene as macromolecular compatibilizers. Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research, 2012, 51 (27), 9204-9212
04)        Z Yang, Bo Yuan, X Huang, J Zhou, J Cai, H Yang, A Li, R Cheng. Evaluation of the flocculation performance of carboxymethyl chitosan-graft-polyacrylamide, a novel amphoteric chemically bonded composite flocculant. Water Research, 2012, 46 (1), 107-114.
03)        Zhen Yang, Yabo Shang, Yaobo Lu, Yichun Chen, Xin Huang, Aimin Chen, Yuxiang Jiang, Wei Gu, Xiaozhi Qian, Hu Yang, Rongshi Cheng. Flocculation properties of biodegradable amphoteric chitosan-based flocculants. Chemical Engineering Journal, 2011, 172 (1), 287-295
02)        Z Yang, C Zhou, J Cai, H Yan, X Huang, H Yang, R Cheng. Effects of macromolecular compatibilizers containing epoxy groups on the properties of linear low-density polyethylene/magnesium hydroxide composites. Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research, 2010, 49 (14), 6291-6301
01)        Z Yang, J Cai, C Zhou, D Zhou, B Chen, H Yang, R Cheng. Effects of the content of silane coupling agent KH-560 on the properties of LLDPE/magnesium hydroxide composites. Journal of Applied Polymer Science, 2010, 118 (5), 2634-2641