Professor Zou earned his BSc and MEng (by research) from the University of Science and Technology, Beijing in 1982 and 1985, respectively; and his PhD from the University of Sydney in 1993. Prior to coming to UQ in late 2003, he worked for 10 years in the Australian Key Centre for Microscopy and Microanalysis at the University of Sydney and gained several awards including an Australian post doctoral fellowship and a prestigious Queen Elizabeth II fellowship. His primary research interests have been focused on nanoscience and the understanding of the fundamental formation mechanisms of nanomaterials and correlating their nanostructure using advanced electron microscopy. This research has resulted in 4 book chapters and over 280 journal publications, which have attracted more than 3300 citations.

He is a certified materials professional with Materials Australia and is a member of several professional societies, including the American Chemical Society, Materials Research Society, the Australian Society of Electron Microscopy, and a Vice President of the Queensland Chinese Association of Scientists and Engineers. He is currently professor and chair of nanotechnology in a shared position between the School of Mechanical and Mining Engineering (Materials Engineering) and the Centre for Microscopy and Microanalysis here at UQ, where he continues to develop many research links with other internationally renowned scientists from China, the US, the UK, Japan, and Korea.

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