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 earned his PhD in Micro and Nanotechnology from the University of Lyon (Ecole Centrale) in France, and MSc (SYSU) and BEng (HIT) in China. After completing a postdoc at the University of Cambridge, he was awarded EU Marie Curie Fellow at the University of Bath, when he was seconded to Norwegian Institute of Water Research (NIVA) in Oslo, Norway. 

He received a prestigious UK NERC Fellowship in 2018 to start his independent academic career  and established the research group of Advanced Sensors for Water-Environment-Health nexus. He was appointed as a Lecturer at James Watt School of Engineering at the University of Glasgow before the group moved to Cranfield University in 2019. 

His research has been sponsored with over £2.5 million, from UKRI (EPSRC, NERC, BBSRC), Royal Academy of Engineering and industry, leading to over 40 referred articles (including PNAS, ACS Nano ES&TWater Res, TrAC, ACS Sensors, Anal ChemBiosens Bioelectron). 

Research opportunity

PhD students 

We currently have fully funded UK/oversea PhD students (UK/oversea) starting in Fall 2020. 

We are consistently recruited talented PhD candidates in the areas of chemical, biological and microbial sensors, microfluidics, paper-based devices, molecular diagnosis, water quality, environmental health, analytical chemistry and illicit drugs of abuse. Please contact Dr Yang for query. 

Postdoc and visiting fellows

Currently, the group has no openings for postdoc but we are always keen to support talented scientists in applying the third funding source (e.g. Leverulme Trust, Royal Commission 1851, UK Newton fellowship, EU Marie Curie) to explore exciting areas of scientific research.

Master's and placements

If you are interested for an inter or short-term project (no shorter than three months), please contact Dr Yang for further discussion. ​

Current activities

Dr Yang is currently heading the sensors lab at Cranfield Water Science Institute (CWSI). His multidisciplinary team 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). 

He has recently developed a low-cost paper origami device for rapid diagnosis of infectious disease in India and field-tested malaria in Uganda, Africa. His Fellowship aims to develop lab-on-a-paper for and microbial source tracking and monitoring microbial contamination in drinking water. The device has been recently used for early warning COVID-19 with wastewater-based epidemiology, and featured in Science AAAS and other public media. 

Current Project

  • £506,452, UK NERC NPIF Innovation Fellowship,  (PI, 2018 – 2021, NE/R013349/1); with Scottish Water
  • £310,286, UK Royal Academy of Engineering, (PI, 2020 – 2023, FF\1920\1\36); with Nigeria & Cameron;
  • £791,191, UK NERC, National COVID-19 Wastewater Epidemiology Surveillance Programme (N-WESP, Co-I, 2020 – 2021, NE/V010441/1).
  • £200,000, UK BBSRC, (Co-I, 2018 – 2020, BB/S004335/1); with Cefas, Cromarty Mussels Ltd.
  • £122,008, UK EPSRC DTP PhD studentship,  (Co-I, 2020-2023), with Thames Water

Completed Project

  • £20,000, UK Royal Academy of Engineering, (PI, 2018 – 2020, FoDSF\1819\1\8); with Federal University Lafia
  • £24,000, UK Royal Academy of Engineering, (Co-I, 2018 - 2019, FoEST1819\T6\4); with Tran Hung Dao University Hospital, Vietnam;
  • £3,500 UK Scottish Research Partnership in Engineering (PI, 2018 – 2019, PECRE1819/05); with SUSTech, China
  • Marie Curie Research Fellow, EU (2013- 2015), University of Bath, UK


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


Articles In Journals