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.  I have published over 30 peer-reviewed scientific journal papers with an H-Index of 18 based on Web of Science. 

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
  • Wastestream upcycling and valorization
  • 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


Teaching | Current

ENVENG 244 - Environmental Engineering I (course director)

ENVENG 341 - Environmental Engineering II (course coordinator)

ENVENG 740 - Water and Wastewater Treatment (course coordinator)

ENERGY 722 - Energy Technology

ENVENG 342 - Environmental Engineering Design (taught)

Postgraduate supervision

Main Supervisor:

Mr. Yashika De Costa

Mr. Bo Yao

Mr. Michael Jiazhe Chen

Mr. Sundra Tatiparthi

Ms. Ohinerau Bonnet

Ms. Hukerenui Bonnet



Ms. Teresa Scott

Mr. Mazdak Rasapoor



2017 Velocity 100K Challenge - The University Research Prize

2018 Velocity Innovation Challenge - Pacific Islander Innovation and Entrepreneurship

Areas of expertise

  • Sewer and stormwater networks
  • Biological Wastewater treatment
  • Anaerobic Bioprocesses
  • Extremophiles
  • Genetic Engineering
  • 13C Stable Isotope Based Metabolic Pathway Identification
  • Metagenomics, Metatranscriptomics, and Metabolomics Analysis

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., De Costa, Y., & Xia, S. (2019). Potential effects of suspended TiO2 nanoparticles on activated sludge floc properties in membrane bioreactors. Chemosphere, 223, 148-156. 10.1016/j.chemosphere.2019.02.042
  • Wu, Y., Wang, Y., De Costa, Y. G., Tong, Z., Cheng, J. J., Zhou, L., & Zhuang, W.-Q. (2019). The co-existence of anammox genera in an expanded granular sludge bed reactor with biomass carriers for nitrogen removal. Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology, 103 (3), 1231-1242. 10.1007/s00253-018-9494-3
  • Briones, R. M., Zhuang, W.-Q., & Sarmah, A. K. (2018). Biodegradation of metformin and guanylurea by aerobic cultures enriched from sludge. Environmental pollution (Barking, Essex : 1987), 243 (Pt A), 255-262. 10.1016/j.envpol.2018.08.075
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Ajit Sarmah
  • Zhou, L., Zhuang, W.-Q., & De Costa, Y. G. (2018). In situ and short-time anaerobic digestion coupled with alkalization and mechanical stirring to enhance sludge disintegration for phosphate recovery. Chemical Engineering Journal, 351, 878-885. 10.1016/j.cej.2018.06.156
  • Yi, S., Harding-Marjanovic, K. C., Houtz, E. F., Gao, Y., Lawrence, J. E., Nichiporuk, R. V., ... Field, J. A. (2018). Biotransformation of AFFF Component 6:2 Fluorotelomer Thioether Amido Sulfonate Generates 6:2 Fluorotelomer Thioether Carboxylate under Sulfate-Reducing Conditions. Environmental Science & Technology Letters, 5 (5), 283-288. 10.1021/acs.estlett.8b00148
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Shan Yi
  • Yi, S., Harding-Marjanovic, K. C., Houtz, E., Field, J., Zhuang, W.-Q., Sedlak, D., & Alvarez-Cohen, L. (2018). Biotransformation of 6: 2 fluorotelomer thioether amido sulfonate under different redox conditions. Paper presented at 255th National Meeting and Exposition of the American-Chemical-Society (ACS) - Nexus of Food, Energy, and Water, New Orleans, LA. 18 March - 22 March 2018. ABSTRACTS OF PAPERS OF THE AMERICAN CHEMICAL SOCIETY. (pp. 1).
  • 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
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Shan Yi
  • Zhou, L., Zhuang, W.-Q., Wang, X., Yu, K., Yang, S., & Xia, S. (2017). New insights into comparison between synthetic and practical municipal wastewater in cake layer characteristic analysis of membrane bioreactor. Bioresour Technol, 244 (Pt 1), 934-940. 10.1016/j.biortech.2017.08.069


Contact details

Office hours

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

Primary office location

2-6 PARK AVENUE - Bldg 529
Level 1, Room 120
New Zealand

Web links