Energy, Catalysis, Environmental Sustainability, Functional Nanomaterials


Masters Yulu 2017

Final Exercises

May 20, 2017

Congratulations to Yulu, and Jiayue for each receiving an MA in Chemistry!

Boylan Happy Hour

Group Happy Hour at Boylan Heights

May 16, 2017

The Zhang Lab went out to Boylan Heights to celebrate the end of the school year and to enjoy a beautiful day on the Lawn.

Group Barbecue

Group Barbecue

April 16, 2017

The Zhang group came together for some delicious food and volleyball to celebrate the beginning of Spring.



Homer Statue

New Award

August 14, 2017

Congratulations! Dr. Zhang has been selected for the 2017 Jeffress Trust Awards Program in Interdisciplinary Research.

Nanodays 2018

April 7, 2018

Members of the Zhang Lab participated in UVA Nanodays 2018 explaining the how the morphology of nanomaterials affect their interactions with light to the interested public.

Summer Poster Session

August 21, 2018

Visiting Scholars Dem and Mischa presented their summer work supported by the VA-NC Alliance Summer Research Program in an on grounds Poster Session.

We welcome our summer researcher, Aari!

June 5, 2019

We are pleased to welcome Aariella to the Zhang lab for the summer 2019. She is a rising junior at Bennett College and North Carolina A & T studying chemistry and chemical engineering. She has recieved the fellowship award of the Virginia-North Carolina Louis Stokes Alliance, and we are very happy she has decided to work with us for the summer.

Happy Lab in front of Rotunda

July 24, 2019

The Zhang lab continues to grow with people who are truly a pleasure to work with! 

2020 Scialog Fellows

July 8, 2020

Congratulations to Prof. Sen Zhang who have been named 2020 Scialog Fellows by the Research Corporation for Science Advancement and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. He is looking forward to joining fellows at the 2020 Scialog virtual conference on Negative Emissions Science (NES).

ACS Petroleum Research Fund New Directions Grants

October 27, 2020

We have been awarded an ACS Petroleum Research Fund New Directions Grants! It allows us to start a new project on direct methane oxidation to methanol.

UVA Today and UVA College of Art and Science highlighted our recent work in Nature Catalysis

December 16, 2020

UVA Today and UVA College of Art and Science highlighted our recent work in Nature Catalysis. Congratulations to Chang, Zhiyong and Colton and all co-authors and collaborators!

Chang Liu awarded prestigious Jefferson Dissertation Year Fellowship and Ritchie Award

April 12, 2021

Congratulations to Chang Liu in the Sen Zhang lab for being awarded a prestigious Jefferson Dissertation Year Fellowship from Jefferson Scholars Foundation! This award is granted to graduate students in the University of Virginia who have demonstrate the highest levels of scholastic achievement and who are prepared to pursue ambitious dissertation projects that have the potential to transform their disciplines. This fellowship will aid in his pursuit to develop innovative nanomaterials and nanotechnologies that contribute to clean energy and environmental sustainability.

Additionally, it was recently annouced that Chang is also the recipient of the 2021 Adam Ritchie Outstanding Graduate Student Award in Chemistry. Out of a very comptetive field, Chang emerged as very deserving of this award which is given each year to an advanced Ph.D. student. The Adam Ritchie Award was established in remembrance of Adam Ritchie (UVa Ph.D., 1968) to provide some financial assistance to an outstanding graduate student. The recipient of the Ritchie award will receive a $2,000 award.

Grayson Johnson awarded the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Graudate Student Research Fellowship

May 2, 2021

Congratulations to Grayson for being awarded the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Graduate Student Research Fellowship! Check out this nice UVA Today coverage!

Perrin Godbold Selected for U.S. Department of Energy Science Graduate Student Research Program

October 11, 2021

Congratulations to Perrin for receiving the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Science Graduate Student Research Award! Check out this nice UVA Today coverage!

UVA Today highlighted Chang’s MRS Graduate Student Award

December 16, 2021

UVA Today highlighted Chang’s MRS Graduate Student Award! Congradulatons to Chang. 

Our group received NSF CAREER award

January 3, 2022

Our team has been awarded a NSF CAREER award to study multi-interface nanocrystal electrocatalyst. Thanks to @NSF CHE Cat for supporting our research and education effort. Very thankful to my team, my mentors & my collaborators. A great gift for the New Year!



Welcome Bukuru and Tangi!

January 3, 2022

Welcome Bukuru and Tangi to join our group! Glad to have you. 


Our Team selected for Scialog Collaborative Innovation Award: Negative Emissions Science

January 24, 2022
Homer Statue

Dr. Zhang received 2021 CAPA Distinguished Junior Faculty Award

January 1, 2022

Dr. Zhang received 2021 CAPA Distinguished Junior Faculty Award (

Prof. Zhang received University of Virginia Research Excellent Award

February 4, 2022

Prof. Zhang received University of Virginia Research Excellent Award! Congratulations!!

Youtube Link

Prof. Zhang has been named a 2022 Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Fellow

February 15, 2022

It was announced today that Prof. Zhang has been named a 2022 Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Fellow. Congratulations!

UVA Chemistry News

Bukuru Anaclet Wins Two Prestigious National Fellowships

April 14, 2022

It has been a good couple of months for UVA Chemistry graduate student Bukuru Anaclet. In March it was announced he had been awarded a GEM fellowship from the National GEM Consortium which includes an internship with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. Then, in April, he learned he was being awarded a Graduate Research Fellowship from the National Science Foundation.

Featured Students

US Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm and DOE Director of the Office of Science Dr. Asmeret Asefaw Berhe visited the Zhang lab

August 25, 2022

Department of Energy Secretary Jennifer M. Granholm was on grounds (Aug. 25, 2022) with DOE Director of the Office of Science Asmeret Asefaw Berhe, Ph.D. and UVA President Jim Ryan to announce $540M for research into technologies that transform energy production and cut emissions. One aim, termed Energy Earthshots, of the iniative is focusing on Hydrogen.  Sen Zhang, a UVA associate professor of chemistry who serves as the project’s principal investigator and team lead, said if the research is successful, it “will potentially transform the U.S. and global energy portfolio.”

Read more 

UVA Today Feature

NBC29 Feature


UVA College of Art and Science highlighted our recent work in Nature Synthesis

April 28, 2023

In 2021, the manufacturing sector of the U.S. economy accounted for over a quarter of the country’s total energy consumption, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, and over 80% of that energy is still produced by fossil fuels that are contributing to a global climate-change crisis. Consequently, the Department of Energy has identified innovations in precise and scalable manufacturing as a technological priority. Addressing this need, a team of scientists led by chemist Sen Zhang, an associate professor with the University of Virginia’s College and Graduate School of Arts & Sciences in collaboration with professor William Goddard from Caltech and researchers from the Department of Energy’s Argonne, Ames, and Oak Ridge National Laboratories, have announced their discovery of a process for producing a new form of synthetic materials that could have a variety of promising uses, including helping to make the manufacturing industry more energy efficient.

Our Lab Selected as the Featured Story in UVA's Art & Science Magazine

July 1, 2022

The challenge of producing renewable fuel and chemical sources for a clean energy future has drawn the focus of researchers around the world. In recent years, a young faculty member in UVA’s College and Graduate School of Arts & Sciences has drawn attention and acclaim for the innovative efforts of his lab in this critical area of research and enriched the experience of his chemistry students.