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Professor Xunli Zhang PhD, DIC, FRSC, CChem, CEng

Professor of Bioengineering and Microsystems, Director of Chemical Engineering

Professor Xunli Zhang's photo

Prof Xunli Zhang is Professor of Bioengineering and Microsystems, and the Director of Chemical Engineering, within Engineering and Physical Sciences at the University of Southampton.

Xunli’s key expertise lies in the area of microfluidics technology from design and fabrication of microfluidic devices, through the development of in-situ monitoring methods for bio/chemical processes, to microfluidic modelling, microsystems integration and automation. The application is largely associated with biomedical challenges like patient specific design of microfluidic devices for cancer treatment, rapid diagnosis, and tackling antimicrobial resistance (AMR). The technologies developed in his research have also found great potential for industrial applications through a variety of industrial collaborations.

BEng, Chemical Engineering, Northwest University, Xi'an

MEng, Chemical Engineering, Northwest University, Xi'an

PhD, Imperial College London  

2009 -  Professor / Reader / Lecturer, Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences, University of Southampton

2007 - 2009, RCUK (Research Councils UK) Academic Fellow, School of Engineering Sciences, University of Southampton

Research interests

With a strong cross-disciplinary research background and experience at the interface of chemistry, chemical engineering and life sciences, Xunli’s current research interests are primarily centred around the development of microfluidic and Lab-on-a-Chip technologies and their applications in bioengineering. His research topics cover:

  • Micro bioanalysis, using microfluidic and Lab-on-a-Chip platforms to manipulate and analyse single cells, and address antimicrobial resistance challenges.
  • Drug delivery systems, synthesised with continuous-flow microfluidic reactors for controllable size and shape.
  • Biomicrofluidics for therapeutic applications including chemo/embolisation, ureteric stenting, and sclerosis of varicose veins.
  • Nano materials, synthesised with continuous-flow microfluidic reactors for controllable properties for a variety of applications. 


Research group

Bioengineering Science

Affiliate research group

Chemical Engineering Department

Research project(s)

Organic nanoparticles for drug delivery – size matters

Making drug-loaded nanoparticles in a controllable way with uniform size or a narrow size range is crucial for their use as nanomedicine.

Blocking blood supply to starve cancerous tumours

Microfluidic technology can potentially provide a platform for evaluation of clinical and patient-specific features for cancer therapy, while as an alternative to animal models to reduce the amount of animal tests.

Nanoparticles for energy saving glazing

Nanoparticle based coating is a step towards energy saving glazing.

Rapid Diagnosis of Allergy to Drugs using a Microfluidic Platform

The aim of this project is to develop a microfluidics-based system for rapid diagnosis of allergy to drugs by integrating cross-disciplinary expertise of microfluidic bioengineering and medicine. This system will require small volumes of blood and provide a cost effective and reliable diagnostic test to determine drug allergy in patients. The study will focus on the separation and activation of human basophils, granulocytic cells which release histamine amongst other mediators in response to a drug allergen.

2019 - Director of Chemical Engineering, Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences, University of Southampton

2015 - 2019, Deputy Director of Graduate School, Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences, University of Southampton

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Book Chapters



FEEG1002 Mechanics, Structures and Materials

FEEG1003 ThermoFluids

SESM3029 Engineering Design with Management

CHEM6158 Reaction Engineering in Micro- and Meso- Scale Flow

Professor Xunli Zhang
Engineering, University of Southampton, Highfield, Southampton. SO17 1BJ United Kingdom

Room Number : 7/4071

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