Dr Peng Zhang PhD

Dr Peng Zhang

School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences
Research Fellow

Contact details

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

Dr Zhang is considered a leading researcher with a broad vision and innovative ideas in developing solutions for sustainable nanotechnology and nano-enabled agriculture. He pioneered the use of synchrotron-radiation based techniques to study the transformation of nanomaterials in plants. He specifically established an isotope labeling approach for tracing the fate of nanoscale CeO2 in plants and the environment, which enhanced the detection sensitivity by several thousand-fold. In addition to advancing an understanding of the environment and health implications of nanotechnology, including neurological effects of nanoparticles, he has provided a unique roadmap that combines nanotechnology and artificial intelligence to enable and advance sustainable agriculture.

Dr Zhang is awarded the 2022 American Chemical Society James J Morgan Early Career Award.


  1. Nano-enabled Sustainable Agriculture
  2. Environmental toxicology and chemistry of contaminants
  3. Nanomaterials for biomedical and environmental application
  4. Nano-biointerface interaction

Other activities

Youth Editor, The Innovation (Cell Press), 2021-present

Editorial Board, Reviews of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology, 2021-present

Review Editor, Frontiers in Plant Science, 2021-present

Review Editor, Frontiers in Sustainable Food Systems, 2022- present

Editor, PLoS One, 2019-present

Topic Editor, Agriculture, 2021-present

Editor of book, Nano-enabled agriculture (Elsevier), 2021 (ongoing)

Guest Editor, Environmental Pollution, 2021

Guest Editor, Frontiers in Toxicology, 2020

Editorial Board, Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, 2018-2021


Recent publications


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, 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

Adeel, M, Shakoor, N, Hussain, T, Azeem, I, Zhou, P, Zhang, P, Hao, Y, Rinklebe, J & Rui, Y 2021, 'Bio-interaction of nano and bulk lanthanum and ytterbium oxides in soil system: biochemical, genetic, and histopathological effects on Eisenia fetida', Journal of Hazardous Materials, vol. 415, 125574. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jhazmat.2021.125574

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

Xie, C, Ma, Y, Zhang, P, Zhang, J, Li, X, Zheng, K, Li, A, Wu, W, Pang, Q, He, X & Zhang, Z 2021, 'Elucidating the origin of the toxicity of nano-CeO2 to Chlorella pyrenoidosa: the role of specific surface area and chemical composition', Environmental Science: Nano, vol. 8, no. 6, 1701. https://doi.org/10.1039/D0EN01177K

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

Hu, Y, Zhang, P, Zhang, X, Liu, Y, Feng, S, Guo, D, Nadezhda, T, Song, Z & Dang, X 2021, 'Multi-wall carbon nanotubes promote the growth of maize (Zea mays) by regulating carbon and nitrogen metabolism in leaves', Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, vol. 69, no. 17, pp. 4981–4991. https://doi.org/10.1021/acs.jafc.1c00733

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, Wu, X, Guo, Z, Yang, X, Hu, X & Lynch, I 2021, 'Stress Response and Nutrient Homeostasis in Lettuce (Lactuca sativa) Exposed to Graphene Quantum Dots Are Modulated by Particle Surface Functionalization', Advanced Biology, pp. 2000778. https://doi.org/10.1002/adbi.202000778


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

Zhao, W, Adeel, M, Zhang, P, Zhou, P, Huang, L, Zhao, Y, Ahmad, MA, Shakoor, N, Lou, B, Jiang, Y, Lynch, I & Rui, Y 2022, 'A critical review on surface-modified nano-catalyst application for the photocatalytic degradation of volatile organic compounds', Environmental Science: Nano, vol. 9, no. 1, pp. 61-80. https://doi.org/10.1039/D1EN00955A

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. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41596-022-00701-x

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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