Contact Dr Zhugen Yang

Areas of expertise

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


Dr Zhugen Yang is a UK NERC Fellow and Lecturer (US Assistant Professor) in Sensor Technology, heading the sensors lab at Cranfield Water Science Institute (CWSI). The lab's mission is to explore the fundamental science and a wide range of applications in the water sector, environmental health and biomedical diagnosis. He is a multidisciplinary researcher, and his main research interests focus on low-cost, rapid and point-of-use sensors and devices for environmental science (e.g. microbial contamination in drinking water), public health (e.g. illicit drug of abuse), and biomedical diagnostics (e.g. infectious disease and cancer). 

Dr Yang received a prestigious UK NERC Fellowship to start his independent academic career and established the Sensors for Environment and Health Research Group. He was appointed Lecturer at James Watt School of Engineering at the University of Glasgow before the group moved to Cranfield University. He was a Marie Curie Fellow at the University of Bath after completing a postdoc within the Department of Chemistry at the University of Cambridge. He earned his PhD in Micro and Nanotechnology from the University of Lyon (Ecole Centrale) in France, and his MSc (SYSU) and BEng (HIT) in China. He also held a visiting position at the Norwegian Institute of Water Research (NIVA) in Oslo, Norway. 

His research has been sponsored with nearly £1 million, including funding from UK research councils (NERC, BBSRC), the Royal Academy of Engineering and the Scottish Partnership of Research Funds. The research output has led to over 30 referred articles (including high ranking journals such as PNAS, ACS Sensors, Analytical Chemistry, ES&T, Water Res), one book on microarray technology, one patent, and over 50 conference presentations. 

Research opportunity

PhD students, postdoctorates and visiting fellows

The Sensors for Environment and Health Research Group has consistently recruited talented PhD candidates in the areas of chemical, biological and microbial sensors, paper-microfluidics devices, molecular diagnosis, water quality, environmental health, analytical chemistry and illicit drugs of abuse. Please contact Dr Yang for futher discussion. 

Currently, the group has no openings for postdoctorates 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 has developed a low-cost paper origami device for rapid diagnosis of infectious disease and tested it in India, as well as using it to conduct tests for malaria in Uganda, Africa. He holds a prestigious UKRC independent research fellowship, which aims to develop easy-to-use paper-based devices for the rapid monitoring of microbial contamination in drinking water, in collaboration with industry partner Scottish Water (NE/R013349/1, £508k).

He also co-leads a BBSRC/NERC project (BB/S004335/1, £200k) focusing on the rapid diagnosis of infectious disease in agriculture (shellfish), in collaboration with the UK Centre for Environment Fisheries Aquaculture Science (CEFAS).

He is working on the development of low-cost sensors for the rapid monitoring of water quality in low- and middle-income countries, sponsored by the Royal Academy of Engineering (FoDSF\1819\1\8, £20k).

During his Marie Curie Fellowship, he proposed the unique concept of community sewage sensors and demonstrated them in the practical analysis of illicit drugs (e.g. cocaine) in wastewater to understand the community-level drug consumption pattern. This enabled a rapid and cost-effective way to monitor illicit drug use trends across Europe, in collaboration with EU SEWPROF and COST Action (ES1307).


NERC, BBSRC, Royal Academy of Engineering, Scottish Partnership of Research Funds, Scottish Water


Articles In Journals