Faculty Directory
Kimberly A. Gray

Chair of Civil & Environmental Engineering

Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering and (by courtesy) Chemical and Biological Engineering

Kay Davis Professor


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 nanomaterials in aquatic systems.  Recent work entails the adaptive 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 120 scientific papers and lectures widely on energy, climate and environmental issues.

Selected Publications

    1.  Carolyn M. Wilke, Jean-François Gaillard, and Kimberly A. Gray (2017).  The critical role of light in moderating toxic stress due to mixtures of engineered nanomaterials, Environmental Science: Nano, DOI: 10.1039/C7EN00527J.

    2.  Wilke, C.M., Tong, T., Wu, J. Gaillard, J-F., Gray, K. (2016) “Chemical and ecotoxicological interactions of nanosilver and nanotitania mixtures under natural aquatic conditions” Environmental Science & Technology, DOI 10.1021/acs.est.6b02271.

    3.  D. Finkelstien-Shapiro, S. Davidowski, P. Lee, C. Guo, G.P. Holland, T. Rajh, K.A. Gray, J.L. Yarger, M. Calatayud (2016).  Direct evidence of chelated geometry of catechol on TiO2 by a combined solid state NMR and DFT study, Journal of Physical Chemistry, C, 120:41:23625–23630. 

    4. K. Schwarzenberg, J. Hamilton, A. Lucid, J. Notestein, M. Nolan, J.A. Byrne, K.A. Gray (2016).

    Multifunctional photo/thermal catalysts for the reduction of carbon dioxide; Catalysis Today, DOI: 10.1016/j.cattod.2016.06.002.

    5.  C.T.T. Binh, E. Adams, E. Vigen, T. Tong, J-F. Gaillard, K.A. Gray, C.G. Peterson, J.J. Kelly(2016).  “Chronic addition of a common engineered nanomaterial alters the size, activity and composition of stream biofilm communities,” Environmental Science:  Nano, DOI: 10.1039/C5EN00274E.

     6.  M. Nolan, N.A. Deskins, K.C. Schwartzenberg, K.A. Gray (2016). Local interfacial structure influences charge localization to enhance reactivity in titania composites:  Beyond the band alignment paradigm,” J Physical Chemistry C, 120 (3), 1808–1815: DOI:10.1021/acs.jpcc.5b12326.

     7. A. Ozaki, E. Adams, C.T.T. Binh, T. Tong, C. G. Peterson, J-F. Gaillard, K.A. Gray, J.J. Kelly (2016).  One-time addition of nano-TiO2 triggers short-term responses in benthic bacterial communities in artificial streams, Molecular Ecology, 71(2):266–275,DOI: 10.1007/s00248-015-0646-z.

    8.  K. Bhattacharyya, W. Wu, E. Weitz, B.K. Vijayan, and K.A.Gray (2015).  Probing Water and CO2 Interactions at the Surface of Calcined Titania Nanorods using IR Spectroscopy, Molecules, 20, 15469-15487 doi:10.3390/molecules200915469.

    9.  Tiezheng Tong, Carolyn Wilke, Jinsong Wu, Chu Thi Thanh Binh, John J. Kelly, Jean-François Gaillard, andKimberly A. Gray (2015).  Combined toxicity of nano-ZnO and nano-TiO2: From single- to multi-ENMs systems.  Environ. Sci. Technol., 49, 8113−8123 ; http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/acs.est.5b02148

    10.  Jie Sun, Sean P. Cornelius, John Janssen, Kimberly A. Gray, Adilson E. Motter (2015). “Regularity Underlies

    Erratic Population Abundances in Marine Ecosystems,” J. R. Soc. Interface, 12(107): 20150235. http://dx.doi.org/10.1098/rsif.2015.0235.



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