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 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, resource recovery and water/air treatment. 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 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.

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 recovery and economic recovery. She was a Senior Science Fellow at the Environmental Law and Policy Center and is a faculty affiliate of the Buffett Center of Global Studies and the NU Law School. She is the author of over 130 scientific papers and lectures widely on energy, climate and environmental issues.

Selected Publications

1. 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, December 2021, 100761https://doi.org/10.1016/j.coche.2021.100761

2.  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.

3. 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

4. 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.  

5, 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 .

6.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.

7 Xiaoya Chen, Carolyn Wilke, Jean-François Gaillard and Kimberly A. Gray (2020). Combined toxicity of nano-CuO/nano-TiO2 on Escherichia coli in aquatic environments under dark and light conditions, NanoImpact, 19:100250; https://doi.org/10.1016/j.impact.2020.100250

8.Clayton R. Johnson, Mia Tran, Lisa Michelitsch, Simi Abraham, Jinglin Hu, Kimberly A. Gray, Erica M. Hartmann, (2020).  Nano-Enabled, Antimicrobial Toothbrushes – How Physical and Chemical Properties Relate to Antibacterial Capabilities.  Journal Hazardous Materials396:122445https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jhazmat.2020.122445

9. Chao Liu, Scott L. Nauert, Marco A. Alsina, Dingdi Wang, Alex Grant, Kai He, Michael Nolan, Eric Weitz, Kimberly A. Gray, Justin M. Notestein (2019). Role of surface reconstruction on Cu/TiO2catalysts in CO2conversion, Applied Catalysis B,255:117754; DOI - 10.1016/j.apcatb.2019.117754

10.  Kazi Sadman, David E. Delgado, Yechan Won, Qifeng Wang, Kimberly A. Gray, Kenneth R. Shull (2019). Versatile and high-throughput polyelectrolyte complex membranes via phase inversion, ACS Applied Materials and Interfaces, 11:17:16081-16026;  https://doi.org/10.1021/acsami.9b02115


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