Faculty Directory
Kimberly A. Gray

Roxelyn and Richard Pepper Family Chair in Civil and 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 chemistry and applied ecology in natural and engineered environmental systems with particular focus on climate action, energy and sustainability applications. The overarching goal of her work is to reinvent the flows of materials and energy in cities based on ecological principles in order to combat the climate emergency. She studies the synthesis, characterization and performance of photo-active materials, principally TiO2-based nanocomposites for resource recovery and water/air treatment. She leads a NSF LEAP-HI research team focused on nature-based strategies to manage stormwater, prevent flooding and enhance environmental quality in low income communities. She also studys the unintended ecotoxicological impacts of nanomaterial mixtures in aquatic systems and under light illumination. Recent work entails the adaptive and resilient design of urban systems to incorporate coupled ecological processes in response to climate change and demographic shifts. Finally, she is conducting a study for the U.S. State Department on the sustainable, resilient and adaptive design of embassies of the future. She works closely with the Chicago Legal Clinic to provide technical expertise to solve environmental problems for low-income urban communities and with other NGO in the Chicago region to develop creative solutions for resource and economic recovery. Gray is the author of over 150 scientific papers and lectures widely on energy, climate and environmental issues. 

Selected Publications

1 Obrzut, P. Carnelli, S. Brauer, J. Notestein, G. Wells, KA. Gray (2022). The valorization of lignin under mild conditions: biorefining flavonoids and lignin nanoparticles, ACS Sustainable Chemistry and Engineering, in press.

2 Han Fu, Haotian Cai, Kimberly Gray (2023). Metal oxide encapsulated by 3D graphene oxide creates a nanocomposite with enhanced organic adsorption in aqueous solution, Journal of Hazardous Materials, Vol 444, Part A, 130340 https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jhazmat.2022.130340 .  

3 N. Obrzut, KA. Gray (2022). Biorefining Renewable Aromatic Carbon: Unlocking Lignin’s Potential to Produce High-Value Products in Photosynthesis: From Plants to Nanomaterials, Harvey J.M. Hou, Mahdi M. Najafpour, Gary F. Moore, and Suleyman I. Allakhverdiev eds. (Elsevier), in press.

4 Schmitt, F. Rosi, E. Mosconi, K. Shull, S. Fantacci, C. Miliani, K. Gray (2022). New insights into the deterioration of TiO2based oil paints: the effects of illumination conditions and surface interactionsHeritage Science, 10:99. DOI: 10.1186/s40494-022-00733-2

5  Han Fu, Kimberly Gray (2021). The key to maximizing the benefits of antimicrobial and self-cleaning coatings is to fully determine their risks, Current Opinion in Chemical Engineering, Volume 34, 100761https://doi.org/10.1016/j.coche.2021.100761

6 Han Fu, Kimberly Gray (2021). TiO(Core)/Crumpled Graphene Oxide (Shell) Nanocomposites Show Enhanced Photodegradation of Carbamazepine, Nanomaterials, 11(8) 2087; https://doi.org/10.3390/nano11082087.

7 Han Fu, Jiaxing Huang, Kimberly Gray (2021).  Crumpled graphene balls adsorb micropollutants from water selectively and rapidly. Carbon, 183, 958-969. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.carbon.2021.07.081

8 K.A. Gray (2021). Climate Action:  The Feasibility of Climate Intervention on a Global Scale, in Climate Geoengineering: Law and Governance, Wil Burns, David Dana & Simon Nicholson eds,  Springer Publisher, Chapter 3.  

9 Sushan Wu, J-F Gaillard, K.A. Gray (2021).  The impacts of metal-based engineering nanomaterial mixtures on microbial systems: A review; Science of the Total Environment, 780, 146496; https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2021.146496 .

10 Yechan Won, Gabrielle Stein, Kazi Sadman, Fabrizio Sabba, Kenneth R. Shull, Kimberly A. Gray (2020). Functionalizing a polyelectrolyte complex with chitosan derivatives to tailor membrane surface propertiesLangmuir, 36, 43, 12784–12794; DOI:10.1021/acs.langmuir.0c01032.


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