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.

Zhugen 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 EPSRC, NERC, BBSRC, the Royal Academy of Engineering and industry, leading to over 50 referred articles (including PNAS, ES&T, Water Res, ACS Nano, Anal Chem, B&B, TrAC), several patents and a number of invited/keynote talks at international conferences.

Zhugen has served as editor of a special issue for TrAC -Trends in Analytical Chemistry (IF 12.3), and editor of a book on Comprehensive Analytical Chemistry (Elsevier). Selected editorial responsibility includes 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), Editor of Special Issue for Water (IF 3.8), MDPI. 

Research opportunities

We currently have fully funded UK PhD studentships and Masters by Research available. 

Research students (PhD/MRes) We are consistently recruiting talented PhD candidates in the areas of sensors, microfluidics, paper-based devices, molecular diagnosis, water quality, environmental health, wastewater-based epidemiology and illicit drugs. 

Masters and placements. If you are interested in a short-term project (minimum of three months), please get in touch. ​

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

Current activities

Dr Yang is currently heading the Sensors Laboratory at Cranfield Water Science Institute (CWSI). 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). 

Zhugen is recognised globally for his work in developing a low-cost paper origami device for the rapid diagnosis of infectious diseases. Zhugen’s 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.

Current projects

  • UK NERC NPIF Innovation Fellowship,  (PI, 2018 – 2021, NE/R013349/1, £506,452); with Scottish Water
  • UK Royal Academy of Engineering, (PI, 2020 – 2023, FF\1920\1\36, £310,286); with Nigeria & Cameron;
  • UK NERC, National COVID-19 Wastewater Epidemiology Surveillance Programme (N-WESP, Co-I, 2020 – 2021, NE/V010441/1, £791,191).
  • Anglian Water (Rapid Covid sensors, PI, 2020-2021)
  • Industry partner (Automatic detection of virus in sewage, PI, 2020-2021)
  • UK EPSRC DTP PhD studentship,  (Co-I, 2020-2023, £122,008), with Thames Water

Completed projects

  • UK BBSRC, (Co-I, 2018 – 2020, BB/S004335/1, £200,000); with Cefas, Cromarty Mussels Ltd.
  • UK Royal Academy of Engineering, (PI, 2018 – 2020, FoDSF\1819\1\8, £20,000); with Federal University Lafia
  • Oct 2020 - Mar 2021, University Grand Challenge (UGC): Smart Living project "Wastewater-based epidemiology for public health", Engaging regional policies in MK and Oxbridge Arc on public health, £7,000 (led Prof W Guo)
  • UK Royal Academy of Engineering, (Co-I, 2018 - 2019, FoEST1819\T6\4, £24,000); with Tran Hung Dao University Hospital, Vietnam;
  • UK Scottish Research Partnership in Engineering (PI, 2018 – 2019, PECRE1819/05, £3,500); with SUSTech, China


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


Articles In Journals