Hongli (Julie) Zhu

Associate Professor,  Mechanical and Industrial Engineering


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  • 617.373.2735


  • 307 Mugar Life Science

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Research Focus

Energy storage; Advanced manufacturing; Multifunctional bio-inspired material from nature; Nano/microfabrication of devices and materials; Bendable, implantable, and biocompatible electronics; Investigations of sustainable biomaterial, like cellulose, hemicellulose, and lignin, in life science and engineering


Dr. Hongli (Julie) Zhu is currently an associate professor at Northeastern University. Her group focuses on the research of electrochemical energy storage, biomass-derived multifunctional materials, and emerging advanced manufacturing technologies. From 2012-2015, She works at the University of Maryland as  postdoctoral research associate, focusing on the research of nanocellulose and energy storage. From 2009 to 2011, she conducted research on materials science and processing of biodegradable and renewable biomaterials from natural wood in the KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Sweden. Her expertise is on the research of environmentally friendly biomass-derived materials, energy storage, design and application of cellulose nanostructured fiber, paper, and aerogel/hydrogel for multiple applications, and R2R manufacturing. In energy storage, her group at Northeastern University works intensively on all-solid-state batteries, flow batteries, and alkali metal ion batteries, such as Li+, Na+, K+ batteries. Here is her group webpage: https://coe.northeastern.edu/research/hongli_group/


  • Research Associate, University of Maryland, 2012-2015
  • Postdoctoral Researcher, KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Sweden, 2009-2011
  • PhD, South China University of Technology and Western Michigan University, 2004-2009

Honors & Awards

  • Soren Buus Outstanding Research Award, 2022
  • Selected in Stanford University List of Top 2% Scientists Worldwide, 2021
  • Women in Materials Science, Advanced Materials, 2021
  • Women Scientists at the Forefront of Energy Research, ACS Energy Letters, 2020
  • Innovator of the Year 2013, University of Maryland
  • Jakob Wallenberg Scholarship, Sweden

Research Overview

Energy storage; Advanced manufacturing; Multifunctional bio-inspired material from nature; Nano/microfabrication of devices and materials; Bendable, implantable, and biocompatible electronics; Investigations of sustainable biomaterial, like cellulose, hemicellulose, and lignin, in life science and engineering

Zhu Lab’s research interests include sustainable energy storage, multifunctional materials, and advanced manufacturing. In focusing on sustainable energy storage, biodegradable materials, and manufacturing, Zhu Lab’s objective is to better address the needs of society by linking nature with people through technology. Their work has made strides in identifying sustainable natural materials to develop multifunctional materials and advanced devices for future technologies to reduce our dependence on petroleum.

Bio-derived and Bio-inspired Multifunctional Material.


Based on our research interests and expertise in manufacturing, bioresources, energy storage, and flexible device, our goal is to make energy storage safer, cheaper, and have higher performance, and to explore multifunctional materials from Nature. Meanwhile, we are interested in applying the highspeed roll-to-roll to the emerging advanced manufacturing. Our research is highly interdisciplinary, encompassing scales from the nanoscopic to macroscopic, and system level.


Selected Publications

Check more: https://coe.northeastern.edu/research/hongli_group/publication.html

  • Sun, Xiao, Stavola, Alyssa M., Cao, Daxian, Bruck, Andrea M., Wang, Ying, Zhang, Yunlu, Luan, Pengcheng, Gallaway, Joshua W., Zhu, Hongli (2021). Operando EDXRD Study of All‐Solid‐State Lithium Batteries Coupling Thioantimonate Superionic Conductors with Metal Sulfide. Advanced Energy Materials, 11(3),2002861. 10.1002/AENM.202002861
  • Cao, Daxian, Zhang, Yubin, Nolan, Adelaide M., Sun, Xiao, Liu, Chao, Sheng, Jinzhi, Mo, Yifei, Wang, Yan, Zhu, Hongli (2020). Stable Thiophosphate-Based All-Solid-State Lithium Batteries through Conformally Interfacial Nanocoating. Nano Letters, 20(3),1483-1490. 10.1021/ACS.NANOLETT.9B02678
  • Cao, Daxian, Sun, Xiao, Li, Qiang, Natan, Avi, Xiang, Pengyang, Zhu, Hongli (2020). Lithium Dendrite in All-Solid-State Batteries: Growth Mechanisms, Suppression Strategies, and Characterizations. Matter, 3(1),57-94. 10.1016/J.MATT.2020.03.015
  • Cao, Daxian, Zhao, Yuyue, Sun, Xiao, Natan, Avi, Wang, Ying, Xiang, Pengyang, Wang, Wei, Zhu, Hongli (2020). Processing Strategies to Improve Cell-Level Energy Density of Metal Sulfide Electrolyte-Based All-Solid-State Li Metal Batteries and Beyond. ACS Energy Letters, 5(11),3468-3489. 10.1021/ACSENERGYLETT.0C01905
  • Cheng, Zheng, Wei, Yuyi, Liu, Chao, Chen, Yong, Ma, Yi, Chen, Huaihao, Liang, Xianfeng, Sun, Nian X., Zhu, Hongli (2020). Lightweight and Construable Magnetic Wood for Electromagnetic Interference Shielding. Advanced Engineering Materials, 22(10),2000257. 10.1002/ADEM.202000257
  • Li, Yang, Cao, Daxian, Arnold, William, Ren, Yao, Liu, Chao, Jasinski, Jacek B., Druffel, Thad, Cao, Ye, Zhu, Hongli, Wang, Hui (2020). Regulated lithium ionic flux through well-aligned channels for lithium dendrite inhibition in solid-state batteries. Energy Storage Materials, 31,344-351. 10.1016/J.ENSM.2020.06.029
  • Liu, Chao, Luan, Pengcheng, Li, Qiang, Cheng, Zheng, Xiang, Pengyang, Liu, Detao, Hou, Yi, Yang, Yang, Zhu, Hongli (2020). Biopolymers Derived from Trees as Sustainable Multifunctional Materials: A Review. Advanced Materials, ,2001654. 10.1002/ADMA.202001654
  • Liu, Chao, Hong, Kevin, Sun, Xiao, Natan, Avi, Luan, Pengcheng, Yang, Yang, Zhu, Hongli (2020). An ‘antifouling’ porous loofah sponge with internal microchannels as solar absorbers and water pumpers for thermal desalination. Journal of Materials Chemistry A, 8(25),12323-12333. 10.1039/D0TA03872E
  • Tantratian, Karnpiwat, Cao, Daxian, Abdelaziz, Ahmed, Sun, Xiao, Sheng, Jinzhi, Natan, Avi, Chen, Lei, Zhu, Hongli (2020). Stable Li Metal Anode Enabled by Space Confinement and Uniform Curvature through Lithiophilic Nanotube Arrays. Advanced Energy Materials, 10(5),1902819. 10.1002/AENM.201902819
  • Wan, Liqiang, Liu, Chao, Cao, Daxian, Sun, Xiao, Zhu, Hongli (2020). High Phase Change Enthalpy Enabled by Nanocellulose Enhanced Shape Stable Boron Nitride Aerogel. ACS Applied Polymer Materials, 2(7),3001-3009. 10.1021/ACSAPM.0C00445
  • Yang, Li, Yi, Ning, Zhu, Jia, Cheng, Zheng, Yin, Xinyang, Zhang, Xueyi, Zhu, Hongli, Cheng, Huanyu (2020). Novel gas sensing platform based on a stretchable laser-induced graphene pattern with self-heating capabilities. Journal of Materials Chemistry A, 8(14),6487-6500. 10.1039/C9TA07855J
  • Yi, Ning, Cheng, Zheng, Li, Han, Yang, Li, Zhu, Jia, Zheng, Xiaoqi, Chen, Yong, Liu, Zhendong, Zhu, Hongli, Cheng, Huanyu (2020). Stretchable, ultrasensitive, and low-temperature NO2 sensors based on MoS2@rGO nanocomposites. Materials Today Physics, 15,100265. 10.1016/J.MTPHYS.2020.100265
  • D.X. Cao, Y.J. Xing, K. Tantratian, X. Wang, H.L. Zhu, et al. 3D Printed High Performance Lithium Metal Microbatteries Enabled by Nanocellulose, Advanced Materials, 31(14), 2019, 1807313
  • Q. Zhang, D.X. Cao, Y. Ma, A. Natan, P. Auron, H.L. Zhu Sulfide-based Solid-state Electrolytes: Synthesis, Stabilities and Potential for All Solid-state Batteries, Advanced Materials, 2019
  • H.Y. Li, Z. Cheng, Q. Zhang, A. Natan, Y. Yang, D.X. Cao, H.L. Zhu, Bacterial-Derived, Compressible, and Hierarchical Porous Carbon for High-Performance Potassium-Ion Batteries, Nano Letters, 18(11), 2018, 7407-7413
  • Y. Jiao, A. Mukhopadhyay, Y. Ma, L. Yang, A.M. Hafez, H. Zhu, Ion Transport Nanotube Assembled with Vertically Aligned Metallic MoS2 for High Rate Lithium-Ion Batteries, Advanced Energy Materials, 2018, 1702779-1702787
  • A.M. Hafez, J. Yucong, S. Jianjian, M. Yi, C. Daxian, L. Yuanyue, Z. Hongli, Stable Metal Anode Enabled by Porous Lithium Foam with Superior Ion Accessibility, Advanced Materials, 2018, 1802156
Zhu Lab Publications


Sep 20, 2022

Northeastern in Top 100 Universities with U.S. Utility Patents

For the seventh consecutive year, Northeastern University has appeared in the National Academy of Inventors (NAI) list of Top 100 Universities that were granted U.S. utility patents in 2021, cementing it as a world leader in academia and research.


Apr 15, 2022

Faculty and Staff Awards 2022

Congratulations to all the winners of the faculty and staff awards, and to everyone for their hard work and dedication during the 2021-2022 academic school year.


Dec 23, 2021

COE Professors Selected in Stanford University List of Top 2% Scientists Worldwide

The following COE professors are among the top scientists worldwide selected by Stanford University representing the top 2 percent of the most-cited scientists with single-year impact in various disciplines. The selection is based on the top 100,000 by c-score (with and without self-citations) or a percentile rank of 2% or above. The list below includes […]

student portrait with mechanical engineering lab in background

Spotlight Story

Apr 12, 2021

Working Toward a World with Clean Energy

After completing his undergraduate degree in electrical engineering at the University of Iowa, Pengyang Xiang, who is an MS in Energy Systems student graduating in 2021, felt limited by the programs offered by most universities on the graduate level in his area of interest. He wanted to specialize in the energy field with a master’s […]

hongli zhu


Feb 19, 2021

Creating Fire Retardant Insulation from Sustainable Resources

MIE Assistant Professor Hongli “Julie” Zhu was awarded a patent for “Fire-retardant nanocellulose aerogels, and methods of preparation and uses thereof”.

hongli zhu

In the Media

Dec 23, 2020

Better Disposable Coffee Cups

MIE Assistant Professor Hongli Julie Zhu was featured in the Economist article “Better Disposable Coffee Cups” for her research in replacing plastics with biodegradable products

biogradeable containers


Dec 16, 2020

A Better Alternative to One-Time Use Plastics

To reduce the need for one-time use plastics, MIE Assistant Professor Hongli “Julie” Zhu is using sugarcane and bamboo fibers to create biodegradable food containers.

hongli zhu


Nov 10, 2020

Creating Energy Storage at Large Scales

MIE Assistant Professor Hongli Zhu was awarded a patent for “Lignin-based electrolytes and flow battery cells and systems”.

cellulose from wood components


Feb 19, 2020

Improving the Efficiency of Vanadium Flow Batteries Using Cellulose

MIE Assistant Professor Hongli Zhu is using cellulose from wood to store renewable energy in batteries.

hongli zhu


Feb 13, 2020

Zhu Awarded $1M DOE Grant to Work on Printing Batteries

MIE Assistant Professor Hongli (Julie) Zhu was awarded a $1M grant from the Department of Energy’s Advanced Manufacturing Office to work on Enabling Advanced Electrode Architecture through Printing Technique.

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