The Zhou Family Fellowship was established in 2019 through a generous gift by alumni, Quan Zhou and Xiaohua Zhang. Zhou received his Ph.D. in Fiber Optics from Rutgers University in 1989, working under Profs. Eric Garfunkel and George Segal. Zhang also received her Ph.D. from Rutgers University in 1989, working under Prof. Joseph Potenza.

The intent of the Zhou Family Fellowship is to support top tier students actively participating in research. It is, therefore, limited to third/fourth year Ph.D. students with a minimum GPA of 3.5, who have completed coursework and successfully joined a lab. There can be up to two fellowships awarded each year with the possibility for renewal, provided that the student maintains eligibility.


  • Full-time or part-time CCB graduate student nominated by PI
  • Minimum GPA of 3.5

The Graduate Office will notify faculty when nominations open. This usually occurs during the first week of December. To nominate, please provide the student’s CV along with a nomination letter. In the nomination letter, please specify which award or fellowship the student is being nominated for. If nominating more than one student for the same type of award/fellowship, rank them. All nominations will be kept strictly confidential, including the rankings.

Fall 2024 Awardees:

Feng Xie, a fourth-year PhD candidate in the Jing Li Lab, earned his Bachelor’s from Jilin University (China) in 2017 and Master’s in Chemistry from King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (Saudi Arabia) in 2019 under the guidance of Professor Yu Han.

Under the supervision of Professor Jing Li, his research is primarily on the design and optimization of functional porous materials for energy-related applications, with an emphasis on adsorption-based molecular separations. As the first author, he has contributed to several publications in top tier journals, including Angewandte Chemie, ACS Materials Letters, and Matter, etc. His outstanding accomplishment in doctoral research is recognized by a 2024 Reid Award, the highest honor for CCB graduate students. Beyond his academic work, Feng finds enjoyment in playing tennis and squash with friends during his spare time.


Yongqi Yang, of the O'Carroll Lab, is a fourth-year PhD candidate who earned her bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Nanjing University. Yongqi carried out her undergraduate research with Prof. Deju Ye and Prof. Jie Li, with focus on the chemical biology field. She won the Scholarship for National Elite Program three times as well as the honor of the Outstanding Graduates of Class 2020 during her undergraduate studies.

At Rutgers, Yongqi’s current research in the O’Carroll lab is focused on studying the luminescence of carbon dots from different synthesis approaches, and on establishing the relationship between the intrinsic structure and the emission. Yongqi has previously worked on the development on new intermetallic compounds. She has published 5 peer-reviewed papers based on her research at Rutgers so far. In her spare time, she enjoys reading novels and poetry

Fall 2023 Awardees:

Meizi Chen, of the KBLEE Group, is a third-year PhD candidate who earned her B.S and M.S. from Shanghai Normal University in China. Her master's research with Dr. Xiaowe Cao focused on developing electronical biosensors for the small bio-molecules detection, such as glucose, dopamine, epinephrine, etc. She published her first first-author peer-review research article in Electrochimica Acta during this time and received the Shanghai Outstanding Graduate Award.

Under the supervision of Dr. KiBum Lee, her current research focuses on developing nanotechnology-assisted liquid biopsy platform. Eventually, she hopes to apply the liquid biopsy technology to aid in the early diagnosis of diseases (cancers, central nervous system diseases, etc.), prognosis, drug screening, and other related biomedical applications that can make personalized medicine more accessible to people. In her spare time, she likes watching movies, visiting museums, and diving.


Wenting Meng, of the Wang Lab, is a fourth-year PhD candidate who earned her bachelor’s degree from Rutgers University-New Brunswick, majoring in Chemistry and minoring in Mathematics. Wenting carried out her undergraduate research with Dr. Lu Wang and continued to work in the Wang Lab after joining the CCB graduate program.

She currently develops novel theoretical methods to connect molecular simulations and infrared spectroscopy of biomolecules. Using computationally approaches, she has investigated the structure and infrared spectra of omega-3 fatty acids in food supplements and published her findings in the Journal of Chemical Physics. She has also designed an effective approach to calculate the 13C isotope labeled infrared spectra of nucleic acids, which was recently submitted for publication. In recognition of her excellent research progress, Wenting also received the departmental Van Dyke Award in 2023. In her spare time, she enjoys playing board games with friends.

Fall 2022 Awardees:

Zhou Fellowship Winners 2022

Atul Thakur (left), of the Remsing Lab, earned his bachelor's and master’s degree from the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER), Pune with a focus on chemistry and physics. His master’s research with Dr. Arnab Mukherjee exploring chemical dynamics of biomolecular folding sparked his interest in an interdisciplinary research setting of chemical physics. Atul was a DST Inspire fellow during his time at IISER Pune and has recently gone on to win a new investigator travel award through the American Physical Society (APS).

Atul is a doctoral candidate working under the guidance of Prof. Richard Remsing where his research focuses on prebiotic chemistry on Saturn’s moon, Titan. Eventually, he hopes to use his knowledge to tackle problems that are at the forefront of our understanding of the solar system we live in. In his spare time, Atul either hangs out with his actual friends or binge-watches Friends on a loop.


Huan Wang (right), of the Shi Lab, earned her B.S. from Central South University in China, majoring in Polymer Science. She did her research with Dr. Guichao Kuang and got her projects published in JSSC, Macromolecules, etc. During her undergraduate studies, she won the Outstanding Student Scholarship 3 times, and was the director of the National College Student Innovation Training Program. In her spare time, she enjoys playing tennis.

Now Huan works under the supervision of Dr. Zheng Shi, where her research focuses on the material properties of biomolecular condensates. She just won a departmental Reid Award for Excellence in Research in 2022 and spoke at  the Biophysical Society Annual Meeting.