Dr Zhiling Zhiling Guo PhD

Dr Zhiling Zhiling Guo

School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences
Research Fellow

Contact details

School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Dr. Zhiling Guo is an Associate Editor for Frontiers in Toxicology. She is an environmental toxicologist interested in understanding the connection between human exposure to pollutants (nanomaterial, micro/nano-plastic, air pollutant, organic pollutant, heavy metal, virus, pollen, and emerging pollutants) and life-long health, and the potential underlying mechanisms. Her research also focuses on establishing the 3R alternatives (i.e. in vitro barrier model, organ-on-chip) as enabling technologies to link across different research areas. She is also interested in understanding the effects of pollutants on ecosystems (terrestrial, aquatic, and marine ecosystem), and developing biosensors to detect the traditional and emerging pollutants in the environmental and biological samples.

She has multidisciplinary expertise in different areas including environmental health, plant science, material science, environmental toxicology, molecular toxicology, neurotoxicology, nanotoxicology, and aquatic toxicology. She has published over 40 papers in top-tier journals including Nature Protocol, Nature Plants, Nature Communication, PNAS, Water Research, ES&T, Nano Today, ES&T letter, etc.


BSc. Biotechnology (2008)

PhD Marine Ecology (2014)


Dr. Zhiling Guo undertook her PhD project in Marine Ecology at University of Connecticut, USA looking at the climate change effects on the phytoplankton community and prey diversity of zooplankton in the marine water. She subsequently did her postdoctoral research at Research Center for Eco-Environmental Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences, China, investigating the mechanisms of heavy metal -induced skin diseases. Then she received an international postdoctoral fellowship to work in McGill University, Canada, for two years on the effects of prenatal infection on offspring brain health. In 2017 she returned to Research Center for Eco-Environmental Sciences investigating the neurotoxicity of organic pollutants using in vitro models. In April 2018, she joined the University of Birmingham as a Marie Curie Research Fellow at Environmental Nanosciences, mainly working on developing the in vitro blood brain barrier model to study the transport behavior of nanomaterials across the blood brain barrier using single cell and single particle ICP-MS combined with synchrotron-based techniques. She becomes Lecture in 2022.

Postgraduate supervision

Dr. Guo supervises PhD projects on a range of topics, including:

  • Impacts of microplastic on Daphnia
  • Fate and transformation of nanoparticles in the plant
  • Development of in vitro blood brain barrier model
  • Cytotoxicity and genotoxicity of nanoparticle
Interested students, including those with existing funding (e.g. CSC, UK, European scholarship) or applying for funding, are welcome to contact Dr. Guo by email to discuss potential projects.


Research Interests:

Molecular toxicity of environmental pollutants (e.g., organic pollutants, nanomaterials, heavy metals); Functional genomics/Genomics/Proteomics/Metabonomics;

Research Gate profile:


Other activities

  • Associate Editor for Frontiers in Toxicology
  • Guest Editor for Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety
  • Editorial Board member for Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety
  • Full Member of Society of Toxicology
  • Member of Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry
  • Full Member of Chinese Society of Toxicology


Recent publications


Abdolahpur Monikh, F, Guo, Z, Zhang, P, Vijver, MG, Lynch, I, Valsami-Jones, E & Peijnenburg, WJGM 2022, 'An analytical workflow for dynamic characterization and quantification of metal-bearing nanomaterials in biological matrices', Nature protocols, vol. 17, no. 9, pp. 1926-1952. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41596-022-00701-x

Cai, R, Ren, J, Guo, M, Wei, T, Liu, Y, Xie, C, Zhang, P, Guo, Z, Chetwynd, A, Lynch, I, Ke, PC & Chen, C 2022, 'Dynamic intracellular exchange of nanomaterials' protein corona perturbs proteostasis and remodels cell metabolism', Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, vol. 119, no. 23, e2200363119. https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.2200363119

Xie, C, Guo, Z, Zhang, P, Yang, J, Zhang, J, Ma, Y, He, X, Lynch, I & Zhang, Z 2022, 'Effect of CeO2 nanoparticles on plant growth and soil microcosm in a soil-plant interactive system', Environmental Pollution, vol. 300, 118938. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.envpol.2022.118938

Zhou, P, Long, B, Wang, R, Jiang, Y, Zhao, W, Li, Y, Li, M, Zhiling, G, Zhang, P, Rui, Y & Lynch, I 2022, 'Increase in the active ingredients of traditional Chinese medicine <i>Isatis indigotica</i> through iron nanoparticles supplementation <i>versus</i> carbon nanotubes: a comparative study', Environmental Science: Nano, vol. 9, pp. 2966–2978. https://doi.org/10.1039/d2en00488g

Knigge, X, Guo, Z, Valsami-jones, E, Hodoroaba, V & Radnik, J 2022, 'Influence of sterilization on the surface of nanoparticles studied with XPS / HAXPES in comparison to SEM / EDS', Microscopy and Microanalysis, vol. 28, no. S1, pp. 986-988. https://doi.org/10.1017/s1431927622004287

Zhou, P, Long, B, Wang, R, Jiang, Y, Zhao, W, Li, Y, Li, M, Guo, Z, Zhang, P, Rui, Y & Lynch, I 2022, 'Iron nanoparticles increase the active ingredients of traditional Chinese Medicine Isatis Indigotica not carbon nanotubes: a comparative study', Environmental Science: Nano. https://doi.org/10.1039/D2EN00488G

Cai, S, Zhang, P, Guo, Z, Jin, F, Wang, J, Song, Z, Nadezhda, T, Lynch, I & Dang, X 2022, 'Multi-walled carbon nanotubes improve nitrogen use efficiency and nutritional quality in Brassica campestris', Environmental Science: Nano, vol. 9, no. 4, pp. 1315-1329. https://doi.org/10.1039/D1EN01211H

Xu, T, Luo, Y, Xie, HQ, Xia, Y, Li, Y, Chen, Y, Guo, Z, Xu, L & Zhao, B 2022, 'Systematic identification of molecular mechanisms for aryl hydrocarbon receptor mediated neuroblastoma cell migration', Environment International, vol. 168, 107461. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.envint.2022.107461

Guo, Z, Zhang, P, Chakraborty, S, Chetwynd, AJ, Monikh, FA, Stark, C, Ali-Boucetta, H, Wilson, S, Lynch, I & Valsami-Jones, E 2021, 'Biotransformation modulates the penetration of metallic nanomaterials across an artificial blood–brain barrier model', Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, vol. 118, no. 28, e2105245118. https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.2105245118

Bai, T, Zhang, P, Guo, Z, Chetwynd, AJ, Zhang, M, Adeel, M, Li, M, Guo, K, Gao, R, Li, J, Hao, Y & Rui, Y 2021, 'Different physiological responses of C3 and C4 plants to nanomaterials', Environmental Science and Pollution Research, vol. 28, no. 20, pp. 25542–25551. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11356-021-12507-7

Zhang, P, Wu, X, Guo, Z, Yang, X, Hu, X & Lynch, I 2021, 'Graphene quantum dots: Stress response and nutrient homeostasis in lettuce (Lactuca sativa) exposed to graphene quantum dots are modulated by particle surface functionalization (Adv. Biology 4/2021)', Advanced Biology. https://doi.org/10.1002/adbi.202170042

Zhang, P, Guo, Z, Monikh, FA, Lynch, I, Valsami-Jones, E & Zhang, Z 2021, 'Growing rice (Oryza sativa) aerobically reduces phytotoxicity, uptake, and transformation of CeO2 nanoparticles', Environmental Science and Technology, vol. 55, no. 13, pp. 8654-8664. https://doi.org/10.1021/acs.est.0c08813

Monikh, FA, Chupani, L, Arenas-Lago, D, Guo, Z, Zhang, P, Darbha, GK, Valsami-Jones, E, Lynch, I, Vijver, MG, Bodegom, PMV & Peijnenburg, WJGM 2021, 'Particle number-based trophic transfer of gold nanomaterials in an aquatic food chain', Nature Communications, vol. 12, no. 1, 899. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-021-21164-w


Zhang, P, Guo, Z, Chen, C & Lynch, I 2022, 'Uncertainties in the antibacterial mechanisms of graphene family materials', Nano Today, vol. 43, 101436. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.nantod.2022.101436

Review article

Zhang, P, Guo, Z, Ullah, S, Melagraki, G, Afantitis, A & Lynch, I 2021, 'Nanotechnology and artificial intelligence to enable sustainable and precision agriculture', Nature Plants, vol. 7, pp. 864–876. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41477-021-00946-6

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