Contact Dr Zhugen Yang

Areas of expertise

  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Biosensors & Diagnostics
  • Environment and Health
  • Food Safety
  • Instrumentation, Sensors and Measurement Science
  • Monitoring and Environmental Informatics
  • Water Science and Engineering


Dr Zhugen Yang was awarded a prestigious UK NERC Fellowship in 2018, where he led a group in developing advanced sensors for water-environment-health-nexus. Before joining Cranfield University in 2019, Zhugen was a lecturer at the James Watt School of Engineering at the University of Glasgow.

Dr Yang completed his postdoc at the University of Cambridge and was an EU Marie Curie Fellow at the Universities of Bath and Glasgow. He completed his PhD at the University of Lyon (Ecole Centrale, France), MSc (SYSU) and BEng (HIT) in China.

His research has been sponsored by a variety of sources (~£2.5m) including UKRI (EPSRC, NERC, BBSRC), the Royal Academy of Engineering, and industry and governmental sectors (UK HSA, EA), leading to over 60 referred articles (including PNAS, Nat Commun, ES&T, Water Res, ACS Nano, Anal Chem), several UK/PCT patents and a number of invited/keynote talks at international conferences. 

Dr Yang serves as editor of a special issue for TrAC -Trends in Analytical Chemistry (IF 12.3), Chemosphere, Associate Editor on Biosensors and Biomolecular, Frontiers in Bioengineering and Biotechnology (IF 5.6); Editorial Advisory Board for Advance in Sample Preparation (Elsevier),  ECR Editorial Advisory Board for Environment Science & Ecotechnology (Elsevier) and editor of a book on Comprehensive Analytical Chemistry (Elsevier). 

Research opportunities

We are consistently recruiting talented researchers/students in the areas of sensors, microfluidics, paper-based devices, molecular diagnosis, water quality, environmental health, and wastewater-based epidemiology, please get in touch for the potential funding opportunities.

  • PhD candidates (3- 4 years), 
  • MSc by Researcher (12 months, with the option to extend two years more for a PhD degree), and
  • Visiting Fellows/scholars 
  • Visiting research students/placements/internships (no less than three months, ideally 6 months or more)

Postdoc and Fellowship: We have no openings at the moment but we are always keen to support talented scientists to apply for a third funding source (e.g. Leverhulme Trust, Royal Commission 1851, UK Newton fellowship, EU Marie Curie) to explore the exciting scientific research.

Current activities

Dr Yang is currently leading the Sensors Laboratory at Cranfield University sponsored by UKCRIC. His multidisciplinary team 'Advanced Sensors for Water-Environment-Health nexus',  focuses on the development of low-cost, rapid and point-of-use sensors and devices for environmental science (e.g. microbial contamination in drinking water), public health (e.g. infectious, illicit drugs), and biomedical diagnostics (e.g. infectious disease and cancer). 

Dr Yang is recognised globally for his work in developing a low-cost paper origami device for the rapid diagnosis of infectious diseases. His work has received international media coverage from BBC News, Science Action, Washington Post, Yahoo and China Daily when he developed the device for rapid testing of sewage for early warning of Covid-19 within the population. His work has been recognised by many awards including a recent James J Morgan ACS ES&T Early Career Award- Honorable Mention 2021.

Current Project

  1. UK Royal Academy of Engineering Frontier Follow-on scheme, Low-cost paper-based biosensors for rapid monitoring of water quality in LMICs, (PI, 2020 – 2024, FF\1920\1\36, £310,286); in collaboration with Federal University Lafia, Nigeria & Cameron
  2. UK Home Office/ACE, Automation for wastewater surveillance, 2021-2022 (Co-I, £247,620)
  3. UK Higher Education Innovation Fund (HEIF), Research England, Commercialization of origami-paper device for wastewater surveillance, (PI, 2022-2022)
  4. Research England via Cranfield University, Smart Living Grand Challenges, (Co-I, 2020-2022)
  5. Africa Honey Consortium, Establishing a rapid testing system for contaminant detection in African honey (Co-I,2021-2022)
  6. UK EPSRC DTP PhD studentship, (Co-I, 2020-2023), with Thames Water

Completed Project

  1. UK NERC NPIF Innovation Fellowship, Lab-on-a-Paper for Point-of-Use Microbial Source Tracking (PI, 2018 – 2021, NE/R013349/1, £537,033); 
  2. UK NERC, National COVID-19 Wastewater Epidemiology Surveillance Programme (Co-I, 2020 – 2021, NE/V010441/1, £791,191).
  3. UK BBSRC, (Co-I, 2018 – 2020, BB/S004335/1, £200,000); with Cefas, Cromarty Mussels Ltd.
  4. UK DEFRA - Deloitte MCS Limited, Exploring the development opportunities around the Covid19 WasteWater Sampling, (Co-I, 2022-2022)
  5. UK Home Office/ACE, Paper-origami device for rapid detection of SARS-CoV-2 in wastewater, (PI, 2021-2022)
  6. UK Home Office/Health Security Agency, Post-pandemic sensors for wastewater, PI, 2021-2022)
  7. Anglian Water, Rapid Covid sensors, PI, 2020-2021
  8. Industry partner, Automatic detection for sewage virus, PI, 2020-2022
  9. UK Royal Academy of Engineering, (PI, 2018 – 2020, FoDSF\1819\1\8); with Federal University Lafia
  10. UK Royal Academy of Engineering, (Co-I, 2018 - 2019, FoEST1819\T6\4); with Tran Hung Dao University Hospital, Vietnam
  11. UK Scottish Research Partnership in Engineering, Rapid monitoring of water contamination using cost-effective sensors, (PI, 2018 – 2019, PECRE1819/05)
  12. EU Marie Curie Research Fellow, EU (2013- 2015), University of Bath, UK


NERC, EPSRC, BBSRC, Royal Academy of Engineering, Home Office, EA, Scottish Partnership of Research Funds, Scottish Water, Anglian Water and other industry


Articles In Journals