Wen Zhang, PhD, has been appointed to the faculty of NJIT’s Newark College of Engineering in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering as an assistant professor. His talents will join those of more than 20 new faculty members and add momentum to NJIT’s strategic plan for making a major impact on the quality of life in the 21st century. This interdisciplinary initiative is focused on three vital areas: convergent life science and engineering, “digital everyware” — ubiquitous computing — and sustainable systems.The women and men joining NJIT to serve a growing student body bring expertise that spans diverse supporting clusters. These include advanced manufacturing, architecture design and construction, big data, biochemistry, business systems, material science and engineering, and sensing and control.
“NJIT’s academic status and interdisciplinary strategy have attracted people at various stages of their careers, and who offer NJIT both distinctive abilities and new resources,” says Provost Ian Gatley. “Enthusiasm for NJIT’s interdisciplinary commitment was apparent during the search process. Everyone interviewed spoke about how the problems they work on are inherently interdisciplinary, how they like to work on teams, how they look forward to collaborating with colleagues across disciplines.”
Donald Sebastian, NJIT’s senior vice president for research and development, emphasizes that connecting with real-world issues is at the heart of expectations for a technological research university. “Academic disciplines are the core of the university and the framework for learning. However, their alignment with industries of the future is not as obvious as with those sectors that have prevailed over the last century. Our strategic research thrusts are designed to make those 21st-century connections explicit.” Convergent life science and engineering, digital everyware and sustainable systems — themes that transcend departments or colleges — shaped NJIT’s hiring plan, he adds.
Zhang’s areas of interest include sustainable water-energy-environment systems and sustainable design and manufacturing. He also wants to integrate cutting edge research from diverse disciplines into environmental science and engineering curricula.
Since 2011, Zhang has worked as a research engineer in the laboratories of Drs. Yongsheng Chen and John Crittenden at Georgia Institute of Technology, where he continued his doctoral research on the applications and implications of nano-materials in environmental systems. His doctoral studies focused on developing multi-disciplinary approaches to address the issues of nano-materials in the environment and were supported by the EPA’s Science to Achieve Results (STAR) program.
Zhang was a funded Fellow from the Semiconductor Research Corporation. In 2011, he received the Simon Karecki Award from the Global Research Collaboration and SEMATECH Engineering Research Center for Environmentally Benign Semiconductor Manufacturing. Zhang has published more than 19 scientific papers in many prominent journals that include ACS Nano, Environmental Science and Technology and The Journal of Physical Chemistry. He received his PhD in Environmental Engineering from Georgia Institute of Technology.