What We Do

One of the foundations of the Zimmerman Lab is that sustainable, implementable solutions to environmental problems cross interdisciplinary boundaries and require collaboration with other leaders in various scientific fields. We work with researchers at Yale and other universities to enhance our understanding of complex environmental challenges, and work towards comprehensive solutions.

Center for Green Chemistry and Green Engineering at Yale

The primary research areas in the Center are materialsenergywater, and systems. The Center for Green Chemistry and Green Engineering works in collaboration with researchers from the Yale School of Medicine, the Yale School of Public Health, the Yale Chemistry Department, and the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies.

From the website:

The Center for Green Chemistry and Green Engineering at Yale is committed to improving the world today and for future generations through outstanding research and scholarship, education, and practice by providing practical, innovative solutions to sustainability challenges while simultaneously meeting social, economic, and environmental goals. Through fundamental and applied research initiatives, the Yale Center aims to unleash the creativity and innovation of scientists and engineers in designing and discovering the next generation of chemicals, materials, products, processes, and systems so that they provide increased performance and increased value while meeting all goals to protect and enhance human health and the environment.”

Nanotechnology Enabled Water Treatment (NEWT)


Nanosystems Engineering Research Center for Nanotechnology Enabled Water Treatment (NEWT) is a collaboration between Rice University, Arizona State University, University of Texas at El Paso and Yale University. The primary goal of NEWT is to develop next-generation water treatment systems enabled by nanotechnology. The three primary thrusts are:

  1.  Multi-Functional Nanomaterials
  2. Low Energy Desalination
  3. Scaling and Fouling Control

Of these, the Zimmerman lab  works within Thrust 1, focusing on functionalizing nanomaterials for use as water contaminant sorbents, and as photocatalysts, the Safety and Sustainability cross-thrust theme, and a variety of Associated Projects.

From the website:

NEWT’s technologies exploits the unique properties of engineered nanomaterials (ENMs) to treat water using less chemicals, less electricity and smaller reactors than current technologies, enable re-use or regeneration of ENMs to decrease treatment costs, and use interchangeable treatment modules to accommodate different feed-water quality and treatment objectives. The center research will have direct impact on a fundamental necessity for life – water, which is also a critical resource for economic and social development, and intricately connected to energy production. Through its fundamental and transformative research as well as innovative educational programs, NEWT will also educate the next-generation workforce to be creative, versatile leaders in the burgeoning industry of sustainable technologies for water treatment.”

Metals and Metals Mixtures: Cognitive Aging, Remediation, and Exposure Sources (MEMCARE) Superfund Research Center

MEMCARE is a collaborative Superfund research center across a variety of universities, hospitals, and medical centers working to understand the health concerns of aging populations exposed to heavy metal (Pb, As, Mn, Cr, Cd, Se) exposure. Public health researchers, epidemiologists, biologists, and environmental engineers from nine different institutions are working collaboratively to understand and address these concerns. At Yale, we are developing novel sorbents to remove such contaminants from drinking water sources.

From the website:

Health concerns of aging—especially cognitive decline and memory loss in older age—have huge public health implications as the United States and world populations are shifting in distribution toward older ages. While a variety of toxicants contribute to cognitive aging, we are focused on heavy metals (Pb, As, Mn, Cd, Cr, and Se) and metal mixtures because, despite years of regulation, clean-up, and remediation efforts, metal contamination in many Superfund sites persists and continues to threaten public health. The Superfund MEMCARE Center is aimed at assessing and evaluating how metals and metal mixtures contribute to cognitive decline and memory loss in older age; studying the biological mechanisms underlying these effects; and developing new ways to detect and remove metal contaminants in drinking water sources.