Dr Wei-Qin Zhuang


Dr. Wei-Qin Zhuang has a bachelor's degree in Bio-Chemical Engineering from Tianjin University in China. Both his master’s and Ph.D. degrees in Environmental Engineering were obtained from Nanyang Technological University in Singapore. His dissertation was focused on developing an innovative aerobic granulation system to treat industrial wastewater. After his Ph.D. defense, he joined the University of California at Berkeley as a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering where he investigated central metabolisms in important bioremediation anaerobic bacteria by using genetic engineering, genomics and metagenomics, and metabolomics techniques. Prior to joining the University of Auckland, he worked as an Assistant Scientist at the Center for Re-Inventing the Nation’s Urban Water Infrastructure (ReNUWIt) at UC Berkeley to develop an energy and cost effective nitrogen removal process built upon anaerobic ammonium oxidation (anammox) bacteria. 

Research | Current

My goal in environmental engineering is to provide affordable and adequate clean drinking-water and sanitation to protect public health. Applying microbiological, biochemical and molecular biology methods to better grasp the physiology of environmental microorganisms, as well as their functions and interactions in both natural and engineered bioprocesses can help me develop sustainable biotechnologies to pursue my goal. 

Current research directions:

  • Anaerobic bacteriology and biotechnology for biosynthesis
  • Resource recovery from wastewater and organic wastes
  • Detection and mitigation of antibiotic resistant genes and microorganisms, and toxic contaminants
  • Innovative wastewater treatment systems using anaerobic membrane bioreactors
  • Decentralized water supply and sanitation systems in developing countries

If you are passionate about contributing to the ongoing discovery of solutions to global and regional water safety and shortage problems, and would like to join my group as a Master’s or Ph.D. student, please send your C.V. with your academic transcripts to me.

Teaching | Current

ENVENG 244 - Environmental Engineering I

ENVENG 341 - Environmental Engineering II (course coordinator)

ENVENG 342 - Environmental Engineering Design

ENVENG 740 - Water and Wastewater Treatment (course coordinator)

Areas of expertise

  • Environmental Microbiology and Biotechnology
  • Anaerobic Biosysnthesis
  • Biological Wastewater Treatment Engineering
  • Biodegradation and Bioremediation
  • Omics-based technologies

Committees/Professional groups/Services

American Chemistry Society (ACS),

American Society for Microbiology (ASM)

Association of Environmental Engineering and Science Professors (AEESP)

The Institution of Professional Engineers New Zealand (IPENZ)

Selected publications and creative works (Research Outputs)

  • Zhou, L., Zhuang, W.-Q., Ye, B., De Costa, Y. G., Wang, X., Yu, K., ... Xia, S. (2017). Inorganic characteristics of cake layer in A/O MBR for anaerobically digested leachate from municipal solid waste incineration plant with MAP pretreatment. Chemical Engineering Journal, 327, 71-78. 10.1016/j.cej.2017.06.073
  • Zhou, L., Zhuang, W., Wang, X., Yu, K., Yang, S., & Xia, S. (2017). Potential acute effects of suspended aluminum nitride (AlN) nanoparticles on soluble microbial products (SMP) of activated sludge. Journal of environmental sciences (China), 57, 284-292. 10.1016/j.jes.2017.02.001
  • Zhou, L., Zhuang, W.-Q., Wang, X., Yu, K., Yang, S., & Xia, S. (2017). Potential effects of loading nano zero valent iron discharged on membrane fouling in an anoxic/oxic membrane bioreactor. Water Research, 111, 140-146. 10.1016/j.watres.2017.01.007
  • Maes, S., Zhuang, W.-Q., Rabaey, K., Alvarez-Cohen, L., & Hennebel, T. (2017). Concomitant Leaching and Electrochemical Extraction of Rare Earth Elements from Monazite. Environmental Science & Technology, 51 (3), 1654-1661. 10.1021/acs.est.6b03675
  • Brisson, V. L., Zhuang, W.-Q., & Alvarez-Cohen, L. (2016). Bioleaching of rare earth elements from monazite sand. Biotechnology and Bioengineering, 113 (2), 339-348. 10.1002/bit.25823
  • Zhuang, W.-Q., Fitts, J. P., Ajo-Franklin, C. M., Maes, S., Alvarez-Cohen, L., & Hennebel, T. (2015). Recovery of critical metals using biometallurgy. Current Opinion in Biotechnology, 33, 327-335. 10.1016/j.copbio.2015.03.019
    URL: http://hdl.handle.net/2292/26362
  • Zhuang, W.-Q., Yi, S., Bill, M., Brisson, V. L., Feng, X., Men, Y., ... Alvarez-Cohen, L. (2014). Incomplete Wood-Ljungdahl pathway facilitates one-carbon metabolism in organohalide-respiring Dehalococcoides mccartyi. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 111 (17), 6419-6424. 10.1073/pnas.1321542111
  • Grostern, A., Sales, C. M., Zhuang, W.-Q., Erbilgin, O., & Alvarez-Cohen, L. (2012). Glyoxylate metabolism is a key feature of the metabolic degradation of 1,4-dioxane by Pseudonocardia dioxanivorans strain CB1190. Applied and environmental microbiology, 78 (9), 3298-3308. 10.1128/AEM.00067-12


Contact details

Office hours

Tuesdays 4:00 - 5:00 p.m.

Primary location

Level 12, Room 1208
New Zealand

Web links