Tiezheng Tong

Tiezheng Tong's picture

Ph.D., Civil and Environmental Engineering, Northwestern University, 2015

M.S., Civil and Environmental Engineering, Northwestern University, 2011

M.S., Environmental Science and Engineering, Tsinghua University, China, 2010

B.S., Environmental Engineering, Beijing Normal University, China, 2008

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Tiezheng joined the Elimelech research group as a postdoctoral research associate in the Department of Chemical and Environmental Engineering at Yale University in August 2015. His research is currently centered on developing scaling-resistant membranes, elucidating the mechanisms of silica scaling, and applying membrane-based technologies in wastewater and water reuse (e.g., achieving zero liquid discharge, ZLD).

Tiezheng received his B.S. degree from the School of Environment at Beijing Normal University where he conducted his first research project and published his first first-author journal article on microbial community analysis of a yeast-mediated wastewater treatment bioreactor. After finishing college with highest honors, he joined the Environmental Monitoring group in the School of Environment at Tsinghua University as a graduate student. His research was then to develop molecular methods or sensors for pathogen detection in water and wastewater treatment processes. In 2010, he went to Northwestern University, IL, to pursue his Ph.D. degree in civil and environmental engineering, under the supervision of Prof. Kimberly Gray and Prof. Jean-François Gaillard. His Ph.D. research focused on understanding the unintended ecological impacts of nanomaterials in aquatic environments. His findings not only reveal the mechanisms and regulating factors of bacterial toxicity of nano-TiO2 (one of the most extensively used nanomaterials in industry), but also expand our knowledge of nanotoxicology from single- to multi-nanomaterial systems. In addition, collaborating with Argonne National Laboratory, he applied synchrotron-based techniques (such as X-ray absorption spectroscopy) to probe speciation and bioavailability of heavy metal and nanomaterials in aquatic environments.

At Yale University, Tiezheng’s research focuses on membrane-based technologies for sustainable water supply. As an active researcher of the Engineering Research Center for Nanotechnology Enabled Water Treatment (NEWT), he has been working on developing scaling-resistant thin-film composite reverse osmosis (RO) membranes, aiming to improve the efficiency and water recovery of membrane desalination systems. By modifying membrane surfaces with diverse polymer coatings, he delineated the relationship between membrane surface chemistry and silica scaling in RO, promoting a mechanistic understanding of silica scaling that will guide the design of effective anti-scaling membranes. In addition, he worked on implementing ZLD as an important wastewater management strategy. In particular, he analyzed the drivers and benefits behind the global rise of ZLD adoption, and evaluated the advantages and limitations of membrane-based ZLD technologies.

Tiezheng is the recipient of several academic and professional awards, including the Environmental Chemistry Graduate Student Award from American Chemistry Society, Environmental & Water Resources Institute Student Scholarship Award from American Society of Civil Engineers, Chinese Government Award for Outstanding Self-Financed Student Abroad, and Student Award of the Sustainable Nanotechnology Organization (SNO).


pdfs and supporting information for group publications available on the main publications page.

  1. Wilke, C.M., Tong, T., Gaillard, J.-F., and Gray, K.A. (2016) Attenuation of microbial stress due to n-Ag and n-TiO2 interactions under dark conditions. Environmental Science & Technology, in press.
  2. Tong, T., Elimelech, M. (2016) The global rise of zero liquid discharge for wastewater management: Drivers, technologies, and future directions. Environmental Science & Technology, 50(13), 6846–6855.
  3. Wang, N., Tong, T., Xie, M., Gaillard, J.-F. (2016) Lifetime and dissolution kinetics of zinc oxide nanoparticles in aqueous media. Nanotechnology, 27(32), 324001.
  4. Binh, C.T.T., Adams, E., Vigen, E., Tong, T., Gaillard, J.-F., Gray, K.A., Peterson, C., Kelly, J.J. (2016) Chronic addition of a common engineered nanomaterial alters biomass, activity and composition of stream biofilm communities. Environmental Science: Nano, 3, 619-630.
  5. Ozaki, A., Adams, E., Binh, C.T.T., Tong, T., Peterson, C., Gaillard, J.-F., Gray, K.A., Kelly, J.J. (2016) One-time addition of nano-TiO2 triggers short-term responses in benthic bacterial communities in artificial streams. Microbial Ecology, 71, 266-275.
  6. Tong, T., Wilke, C.M., Wu, J., Binh, C.T.T., Kelly, J.J., Gaillard, J.-F., and Gray, K.A. (2015) Combined toxicity of nano-ZnO and nano-TiO2: From single- to multi-ENMs systems. Environmental Science & Technology, 49(13), 8113-8123.
  7. Binh, C.T.T., Peterson, C., Tong, T., Gaillard, J.-F., Gray, K.A., Kelly, J.J. (2015) Comparing acute effects of nano-TiO2 on cosmopolitan freshwater phototrophic microbes using high-throughput screening. PLoS One, 10(4), e0125613.
  8. Tong, T., Hill, A., Alsina, M., Wu, J., Shang, K., Kelly, J.J., Gray, K.A., and Gaillard, J.-F. (2015) Spectroscopic characterization of TiO2 polymorphs in wastewater treatment and sediment samples. Environmental Science & Technology Letters, 2(1), 12-18.
  9. Thomas, S.A., Tong, T., and Gaillard, J.-F. (2014) Hg(II) bacterial biouptake: The role of anthropogenic and biogenic ligands present in solution and spectroscopic evidence of ligand exchange reactions at the cell surface. Metallomics, 6(12), 2213-2222.
  10. Binh, C.T.T., Tong, T., Gaillard, J.-F., Gray, K.A., Kelly, J.J. (2014) Acute effects of TiO2 nanomaterials on the viability and taxonomic composition of aquatic bacterial communities assessed via high-throughput screening and next generation sequencing. PLoS One, 9(8), e106280.
  11. Tong, T., Fang, K., Thomas, S.A., Kelly, J.J., Gray, K.A, and Gaillard, J.-F. (2014) Chemical interactions between nano-ZnO and nano-TiO2 in a natural aqueous medium. Environmental Science & Technology, 48(14), 7924-7932.
  12. Binh, C.T.T., Tong, T., Gaillard, J-F, Gray, K.A., Kelly, J.J. (2014) Common freshwater bacteria vary in their responses to short-term exposure to nano-TiO2. Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, 33, 317-327.
  13. Li, D., Tong, T., Zeng, S., Lin, Y., Wu, S., He, M. (2014) Quantification of viable bacteria in wastewater treatment plants by using propidium monoazide combined with quantitative PCR (PMA-qPCR). Journal of Environmental Sciences, 26 (2), 299-306.
  14. Tong, T., Shereef, A., Wu, J., Binh, C.T.T., Kelly, J.J., Gaillard, J.-F., and Gray, K.A. (2013) Effects of material morphology on the phototoxicity of nano-TiO2 to bacteria. Environmental Science & Technology, 47 (21), 12486-12495.
  15. Tong, T., Binh, C.T.T., Kelly, J.J., Gaillard, J.-F., and Gray, K.A. (2013) Cytotoxicity of commercial nano-TiO2 to Escherichia coli assessed by high-throughput screening: Effects of environmental factors. Water Research, 47 (7), 2352-2362.
  16. Long, F., Wu, S., He, M., Tong, T., and Shi, H. (2011) Ultrasensitive quantum dots-based DNA detection and hybridization kinetics analysis with evanescent wave biosensing platform. Biosensors & Bioelectronics, 26, 2390-2395.
  17. Tong, T., Wu, S., Li, D., He, M., Yang, T., and Shi, H. (2011) Evaluation of pathogen disinfection efficacy by chlorine and monochloramine disinfection based on quantitative PCR combined with propidium monoazide (PMA-qPCR). Environmental Science, 32 (4), 1120-1126. (In Chinese)
  18. Zheng, S., Zhang, Y., Tong, T., Cui, C., and Sun, J. (2010) Dominance of yeast in activated sludge under acidic pH and high organic loading. Biochemical Engineering Journal, 52, 282-288.
  19. Wu, S., Shi, H., Tong, T., He, M., Zhu, A., Long, F., and Han, S. (2010) Development and performance study of novel DNA optic fiber biosensor. Chinese Journal of Analytical Chemistry, 38(10), 1528. (In Chinese)
  20. Tong, T., Zhang, Y., Zheng, S., and Yang, J. (2008) Control of microbial communities achieved by pH adjustment and its influences on batch treatment of antibiotic wastewater. Environmental Science, 29 (2), 338-343. (In Chinese)