Seminar: Materials innovation by learning from nature: bio-based, bio-derived, bio-mimetic strategies

Presenter: Qingye Lu, PhD, PEng, Associate Professor Department of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering, Schulich School of Engineering, University of Calgary, Calgary, Canada Email: Research Website:
Date: August 8, 2023 Time: 10:00 AM to 12:00 PM Location: ESC Room 1016b


Nature provides abundant resources to inspire us to resolve some challenges in energy and environmental fields through material innovations by directly using abundant nature materials as building blocks for cost-effectiveness and unique properties, deriving materials from nature to generate unique structure and surface chemistry, and mimicking some unique structures for building functional materials/devices. In this talk, two kinds of bio-inspired material innovations will be introduced. One is learning from the super-hydrophobic and super-hydrophilic wettability surface control from nature. The surface chemistry and geometrical structure are two key factors for such kind of wettability control. Another one is learning from the combination of soft and hard structures in the matrix from nature. Layered hard materials with sandwiched soft materials, and soft matrix immersed with hard granules or hard nanoparticles in nature can provide unique properties. Some developed material examples in recent years in the group will be given.


Qingye (Gemma) Lu obtained her BSc and MSc in Chemistry at Wuhan University under the supervision of Prof. Juntao Lu and Prof. Lin Zhuang, and obtained her PhD in Analytical Chemistry at University of Alberta under the supervision of Prof. Jed Harrison. After her PhD, she was trained as a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering in Prof. Yang Liu’s group, the Department of Chemical and Materials Engineering in Prof. Hongbo Zeng’s group at the University of Alberta. In July 2016, she joined the Department of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering at the University of Calgary as a tenure-tracked Assistant Professor and got tenured with promotion to Associate Professor in July 2021. Her research interests are in colloids and interfacial science, biomimetic and natural materials, nanomaterial and nanotechnology applicable in energy and environment. She has published over 80 papers in journals such as Angewandte Chemie International Edition, Advanced Functional Materials, Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research, Water Research, Langmuir, Biomaterials, Small, Nature Synthesis, etc.