Faculty Directory
Kimberly A. Gray

Chair of Civil & Environmental Engineering

Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering and (by courtesy) Chemical and Biological Engineering


2145 Sheridan Road
Tech #A322 & #A234
Evanston, IL 60208-3109

847-467-4252Email Kimberly Gray


Gray Research Group


Chemical and Biological Engineering

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Ph.D. Geography and Environmental Engineering, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD

M.S. Civil Engineering, University of Miami, Coral Gables, FL

B.A. Biology, minor in Biochemistry, Northwestern University, Evanston, IL

Research Interests

Gray's areas of expertise are environmental catalysis and physicochemical processes in natural and engineered environmental systems with particular focus on energy and urban sustainability applications.  She studies the synthesis, characterization and performance of photo-active materials, principally TiO2-based nanocomposites for solar fuel production and water/air treatment.  In addition, she is investigating biofuel production on marginal land.  Work in her group also involves the investigation of chemical fate in natural systems.   She probes the role of periphyton (algal biofilms) in contaminant accumulation in stream sediments and in denitrification in wetlands.  She studies the ways in which detailed understanding of ecological relationships (periphyton structure, dynamic food web descriptions) improves our ability to predict chemical transfer (bioaccumulation) in aquatic systems and ultimately human health risks.  Application of this research is important in efforts to restore critical ecosystems (Great Lakes), to make ecological forecasts in the face of climate change and to employ ecosystem function for environmental protection (treatment wetlands). She is also studying the unintended ecotoxicological impacts of nanomaterials in aquatic systems.  Recent work entails the adaptive design of urban systems to incorporate coupled ecological processes in response to climate change and demographic shifts. 

She works closely with the Chicago Legal Clinic to provide technical expertise to solve environmental problems for low-income urban communities.  She was a Senior Science Fellow at the Environmental Law and Policy Center. She is the author of over 100 scientific papers and lectures widely on energy, climate and environmental issues.

Selected Publications

    1.  Todd R. Eaton, Andrew M. Boston, Anthony B. Thompson, Kimberly A. Gray, Justin M. Notestein (2014).Counting Active Sites on TiOx-SiO2 Catalysts for Alkene Epoxidation via in situ Poisoning with Phenylphosphonic Acid,” ChemCatChem, 6:3215–3222.

     2.  C.T.T. Binh, T. Tong, J-F Gaillard, K.A. Gray J.J. Kelly (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 (http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0106280 ).

     3.  T. Tong, K. Fang, S. A. Thomas, C.T.T. Binh, J. J. Kelly, K. A. Gray, J-F Gaillard (2014).  “Chemical interactions between nano-ZnO and nano-TiO2 in a natural aqueous medium,” Environ. Sci. Technol. 48:7924-7932. 

    4. M. D. Marsolek, M. J. Kirisits, K. A. Gray, and B. E. Rittmann (2014). “Coupled photocatalytic-biodegradation of 2,4,5-trichlorophenol: effects of photolytic and photocatalytic effluent composition on bioreactor process performance, community diversity, and resistance and resilience to perturbation,” Water Research, 50:59-69.

    5. C.T.T. Binh, T. Tong, J-F Gaillard, K.A. Gray, J.J. Kelly,  (2014).  “Common freshwater bacteria vary in their responses to short-term exposure to nano-TiO2.” Environmental Chemistry and Toxicology, 33: 317–327.

    6.  T.R. Eaton, M. Campos, K.A. Gray, J.M. Notestein  (2014).  "Quantifying accessible sites and reactivity on titania-silica (photo)catalysts: Refining TOF calculations,” Journal of Catalysis, 309:156-165.

    7.  T. Tong, A. Shereef, J. Wu, C.T.T. Binh, J.J. Kelly, J-F Gaillard, K.A. Gray (2013).  “The effects of material morphology on the acute bacterial cytotoxicity of nano-TiO2,” Environ. Sci. Technol, 47, 12486-12495.

    8.  W. Wu, K. Bhattacharyya, K. Gray and E. Weitz (2013).  “Photo-induced Reactions of Surface Bound Species on the Titania Nanotubes and Platinized Titania Nanotubes: An in-situ FTIR study,” Jour. Physical Chemistry C, 117 (40):20643–20655.

    9.  K. Bhattacharyya, A. Danon, B. Vijayan, K.A. Gray, P.C. Stair, E. Weitz (2013).  “The role of the surface lewis acid and basic sites in the adsorption of CO2 on titania nanotubes and platinized titania nanotubes:  An in situ FT-IR study,” Jour. Phys. Chem. C, 117 (24), pp 12661–12678; DOI:10.1021/jp402979m.

    10.  Daniel Finkelstein-Shapiro, Sarah J. Hurst, Kimberly A. Gray, Nada Dimitrijevic, Tijana Rajh, Pilarisetty Tarakeshwar, Vladimiro Mujica (2013). “CO2 pre-activation via charge transfer states of TiO2-aminosalicylic acid complexes,” JPC Letters, 4(3):475-479. 

    11.  T. Tong, C.T.T. Bihn, J.J. Kelly, J-F Gaillard, K.A. Gray (2013).  “Cytotoxicity of commercial nano-TiO2 to            Escherichia coli assessed by high-throughput screening: Effects of environmental factors,” Water Research, 47:2352-2362.

    12.  Daniel Finkelstein-Shapiro, Charlie Y.-H. Tsai, Shuyou Li, Kimberly A. Gray (2013).  “Synthesis of high-energy anatase nanorods via an intermediate nanotube morphology,” CPLETT, 546:106–108; DOI 10.1016/j.cplett.2012.07.039.


Photocatalytic Composite (TiO2/SWCNT) for Organic Chemical Oxidation (provisional patent application NU 27068, filed), Y. Yao, R. Lueptow, K.A. Gray.

Mixed-phase nano-structured TiO2 composite photocatalyst for energy and energy efficiency applications, (provisional patent application NU 27093 ) G. Li & K.A. Gray.

Reactively sputtered TiO2 nanocomposite thin films for photoreduction and photooxidation applications under UV and visible light, (provisional patent application NU 28134, filed) L. Chen, M. Graham, K.A. Gray