Z. Vivian Feng

Department Chair, Chemistry
Associate Professor

Hagfors CSBR 331
CB 122

I am an analytical chemist by training (i.e.: organized in nature!).  I joined Augsburg in September 2008, after initiating my career as an assistant professor at the University of Puget Sound (Tacoma, WA), followed by two years as Research Educator at the University of Texas in Austin.  After the experience of teaching at a large research institutes, I am excited to return to a liberal arts college where faculty-students interaction is priority.  I highly value the undergraduate research experience.  Personally, two months after I started college, I began to work in a chemistry lab doing research.  Research was what kept me interested in chemistry.  With the guidance of an excellent mentor who taught me so much—of chemistry and life as a professor in a liberal arts college—I was inspired to be a chemist.  Now, I want to pass this inspiration on to my own students.

I am primarily interested in surface chemistry, especially characterization and analysis at the nano-bio interface, an interest stemmed from my research experience in biomembranes and nanomaterials.  My group is part of the NSF-funded Center for Sustainable Nanotechnology, investing the impact of nanomaterials in the ecosystem with various environmental indicators. My interests in environmentally-responsible green chemistry has also resulted in research projects in flow chemistry, both in microfluidic devices and bench-scale reactors.  By applying my background in analytical instrumentation and surface chemistry, I am exploring the field of catalysis in organic synthesis reactions in a flow reactor vs. the conventional batch process.

When I’m not playing in the lab with my students, I enjoy taking long road trips across the country and photography.


  • B.A. Linfield College, Chemistry, 2000
  • Ph.D. University of Illinois-Urbana Champaign, Analytical Chemistry, 2005

Teaching interests

  • Quantitative Chemical Analysis
  • Instrumental Analysis
  • Environmental Science
  • Science Senior Keystone
  • Curricular development to incorporate research projects into laboratory curriculum

Research Interests

For details, please visit my research page

  • Nanotoxicology
  • Template-assisted nanomaterial synthesis, characterization and applications in environmental remediation and in drug delivery systems
  • Flow synthesis with heterogeneous catalysts

Recent Publications

  • Feng, Z.V.; Chen, W-S.; KeratiThamkul, K.*; Stoick, M.*; Yang, M-L.; Chen-Yang, Y.W. “Degradable electrospun mesoporous silica nanofiber as potential substrate for neuronal tissue engineering”, Int. J. Nanomedicine, 2016, DOI: 10.2147/IJN.S93651 .
  • Feng, Z.V.; Gunsolus, I.L.; Qiu, T.A.; Hurley, K.R.; Nyberg, L.H.*; Frew, H.*; Johnson, K.P.; Vartanian, A.M.; Jacob, L.M.; Lohse, S.E.; Torelli, M.D.; Hamers, R.J.; Murphy, C.J.; Haynes, C.L. “Impacts of Gold Nanoparticle Charge and Ligand Type on Surface Binding and Toxicity to Gram-Negative and Gram-Positive Bacteria”, Chem. Sci., 2015, 6, 5186-5196.
  • Klein, N.D.*; Hurley, K.R.; Feng, Z.V.; Haynes, C.L. “Dark Field Transmission Electron Microscopy as a Tool for Identifying Inorganic Nanoparticles in Biological Matrices”, Anal. Chem., 2015, 87, 4356−4362.
  • Feng, Z.V.; Edelmen, K.R.; Swanson, B.P.* “Student-fabricated microfluidic devices as flow reactors for organic and nanomaterial synthesis”, J. Chem. Ed., 2015, 92, 723−727.
  • Feng, Z.V.; Buchman, J.T.*; “Instrumental Analysis of Biodiesel Content in Commercial Diesel Blends: An Experiment for Undergraduate Analytical Chemistry”, J. Chem. Ed., 2012, 89, 1561-1565.