Jan 2021

Prof. Wenqing Xu, has been awarded $657,137 as part of a $1.467 million National Institutes of Health (NIH) grant (R01) for a five-year collaborative project between Villanova University and the University of Iowa. "Elucidating mechanisms for enhanced anaerobic bioremediation in the presence of carbonaceous materials using an integrated material science and molecular microbial ecology approach” reflects Dr. Xu’s work on the bioremediation of legacy pollutants and emerging contaminants frequently encountered at Superfund sites.

Dec 2020 & Jul 2021

Congratulations to Dr. Zhao Li and Xiaolei Xu! Dr. Li graduated in Dec 2020, and started his career in China. Xiaolei graduated in Jul 2021, and he is pursuing his Ph.D. degree on Oceanography in Texas A&M University. Wish you all the best in the future! 

July 2020 

Prof. Wenqing Xu, has been recognized with Villanova’s 2020 University Scholarly Achievement Award. In 2018, Dr. Xu earned the prestigious $500,000 National Science Foundation CAREER award for “Transforming the Synergistic Interactions between Pyrogenic Carbonaceous Matter (PCM) and Sulfur Species into Solutions for Contaminant Detoxification.” In 2019, she was awarded by Department of Defense of $1.46 million to lead a multi-institutional research project to address explosive residuals at military training sites. As an expert in environmental interfacial chemistry, Dr. Xu directs the Environmental Interfacial Chemistry Group and actively engages both undergraduates and graduate students in research and education with the goal of transforming fundamental knowledge into providing solutions for safe drinking water, nutrient recovery and mitigating climate change.


May 2019 

Congratulations to Dr. Kai Ding who graduated this May! Dr. Ding will embark on his next journey working for PA Department of Environmental Protection Agency. Wish you all the best!

Congratulations Zhao Li for passing his proposal defense. Great job!

April 2019 

Prof. Wenqing Xu was invited to give a seminar, entitled “Understand the redox properties of Pyrogenic Carbonaceous Matter (PCM) in mediating environmental reactions” at Lehigh University.

Minh Dang was awarded the prestigious Villanova Undergraduate Research Fellowships (VURF) Summer to continue her research with Dr. Xu in the summer of 2019. Congratulations! 


Congratulations to Xiaolei Xu who won the 2nd place poster award at the annual conference of Hudson-Delaware Chapter of the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry. Great job!

January 2019 

Prof. Wenqing Xu is serving as lead principal investigator on the three year project from SERDP, entitled "Optimizing Carbon Amendments that Simultaneously Adsorb and Transform Legacy and Insensitive High Explosives". Details of the project can be found from the SERDP's website below:


Creating the synergy that will contribute to the team’s success are Dr. Joseph Pignatello of the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station, Dr. Paul Tratnyek of Oregon Health & Science University, Dr. Eric Bylaska of the DOE’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and Dr. Samuel Beal of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Given their individual specialties, the project will involve both experimental and computational research. In addition to the multi-institutional team, the project will support one Villanova PhD student, a post-doc and a number of the College’s undergraduates—presenting students with an exciting opportunity to contribute to real-world research. 


October 2018 

Prof. Wenqing Xu was invited to give a seminar"Pyrogenic carbonaceous matter as reactive adsorbents for environmental restoration" at the Department of Civil, Environmental and Construction Engineering, Texas Tech University


Prof. Wenqing Xu gave an invited talk "Probe the reactivity of pyrogenic carbonaceous matter in mediating environmental redox reactions using a polymer synthesis approach" at the Department of Plant, Soil, and Microbial Sciences, Michigan State University

October 2018 

Pamela Rose V. Samonte. gave a presentation at HDC SETAC fall workshop. Great job!

May 2018 

Prof. Wenqing Xu gave an invited talk "The Redox properties of dissolved and solid Phases of pyrogenic carbonaceous matter and its implicationsin pollutant dynamics" at Tsinghua University 

Prof. Wenqing Xu gave an invited talk "The Redox properties of pyrogenic carbonaceous matter in mediating redox reactions in the environment" at the Department of Soil and Water Sciences, China Agricultural University 


Prof. Wenqing Xu gave an invited talk "Probe the Surface Reactivity of Pyrogenic Carbonaceous Matter (PCM) by Synthesizing PCM-like Polymers" at Nankai University 

Prof. Wenqing Xu gave an invited talk "Understand the Synergistic Interaction between Sulfate Reducing Bacteria and Pyrogenic Carbonaceous Matter in the Subsurface Environment" at the Department of Chemistry chemistry department, University of Science and Technology 

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With the support of this grant, Prof. Wenqing Xu will investigate the synergistic interaction between naturally existing pyrogenic carbonaceous matter (PCM) and sulfur species by synthesizing PCM-like polymers with tunable properties. This project aims to understand how the interaction between PCM and sulfide degrade halogenated pollutants and pin down what surface characteristics are critical. The ultimate goal is to apply these naturally occurring reactions to produce engineering solutions that will effectively detoxify pollutants. In the educational outreach program, underserved high-school students will use 3D virtual reality modules and hands-on lab experiences to understand how pollutants enter the environment and how natural processes can promote their breakdown. A technology-rich and inquiry-based instruction manual will also be developed and distributed to teachers through training workshops and online venues.

March 2018

Congratulations! Prof. Wenqing Xu received a 5-year Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF). The CAREER grant is the NSF's most prestigious award for early-career faculty members who have demonstrated potential to serve as academic role models in integrating research and education. Prof. Wenqing Xu is the first woman in Engineering at Villanova University to receive this highly competitive award. 


February 2018 

Prof. Wenqing Xu is awarded the University Summer Grant by Villanova University ($12,500). With the support of this grant, she will investigate clean-up strategies for contaminated soils and sediments using pyrogenic carbonaceous matter.

January 2018 

Kai Ding's paper, "Surface-promoted Hydrolysis of 2,4,6-Trinitrotoluene and 2,4-Dinitroanisole on Pyrogenic Carbon Matter" has been accepted by Chemosphere for publication. Congratulations to Kai for his second publication.


November 2017 

Congratulations! Prof. Wenqing Xu's book chapter, entitled "Chapter 6: Effects and removal of hazardous pollutants in full-scale treatment plants" was published on Hazardous Pollutants in Biological Treatment Systems by International Water Association (ISBN-13: 9781780407715).

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Prof. Wenqing Xu gave an invited talk at the chemistry department, Old Dominion University. 

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July 2017 

Congratulations! Prof. Wenqing Xu was awarded a sabbatical as a visiting professor at the ETH, Zürich, Switzerland. She will be spending six months working with Prof. Kris McNeill and Dr. Michi Sander (group website) on using the mediated electrochemistry approach to understand the redox activity of dissolved organic matter from char materials.

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Prof. Wenqing Xu's critical review, "Activity and Reactivity of Pyrogenic Carbonaceous Matter toward Organic Compounds" has been published by Environmental Science and Technology.


May 2017 

Prof. Wenqing Xu was awarded a grant entitled "Reactive electrochemical membranes for simultaneous removal of multiple classes of contaminants of concern in small drinking water systems" by the Water Innovation Network for Sustainable Small Systems funded by the EPA. This project is a collaborative effort between Villanova University and the University of Illinois at Chicago. 

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February 2017 

Zhao Li's paper, "Evaluation of the impact of chitosan on the formation of carbonaceous and nitrogenous disinfection by-products" has been accepted by Chemosphere for publication. This work has been a result of a great collaboration between Villanova, PSU at Harrisburg, and Harbin Institute of Technology in China. Congratulations to Zhao!


November 2016 

Kai Ding's paper, "Black Carbon Facilitated Dechlorination of DDT and its Metabolites by Sulfide" has been accepted by Environmental Science and Technology for publication. Congratulations to Kai!  


October 2016 

Prof. Wenqing Xu gave an invited talk at the University of Delaware. 

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April 2016 

Undergraduate researcher, Cecily Wang, was awarded the Villanova Undergraduate Research Fellow to work with Dr. Xu on finding solutions to safe drinking water this summer.

Prof. Wenqing Xu gave an invited talk at Temple University. 

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March 2016 

Prof. Wenqing Xu is awarded the University Summer Grant by Villanova University ($12,500). With the support of this grant, she will investigate the preventative strategies for the formation of Disinfection Byproducts (DBPs) using tailored activated carbon.

January 2016 

Welcome to Zhao Li in joining our lab group as a PhD student. Zhao has obtained a master degree in polymer chemistry from Sichuan University in China and will be working on synthesizing innovative materials for environmental applications.

November 2015 

Prof. Wenqing Xu presented at the Department of Chemistry and Environmental Science Seminar Series at New Jersey Institute of Technology. 

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May 2015 

Prof. Wenqing Xu gave an invited talk at the University of Science and Technology of China. Look forward to future collaborations! 

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April 2015 

Undergraduate researcher, Cory Byrnes, was awarded the Villanova Undergraduate Research Fellow to work on a green remediation strategy for contaminated soils and sediments. 

February 2015 

Prof. Wenqing Xu gave an invited talk at the M. Gordon Wolman Seminar Series at John Hopkins University.


October 2014 

Prof. Wenqing Xu was invited to give a talk at Pennsylvania State University at Harrisburg! 

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