Pu Zhao

Case study: Pu Zhao

Photo of Pu Zhao

Fellowship: Glasstone Research Fellowship in Science

Title of the research: Heterogeneous catalysis based on new solid-state porous materials for the production of clean energy, commodities, and fine chemicals

About the research

My research focuses on heterogeneous catalysis using new solid-state porous materials, particularly zeolites and metal-organic frameworks (MOFs). Zeolites and MOFs are porous solids that resemble a sponge. The microsized pores inside these materials offer confined space to house metal catalysts to accelerate many important chemical reactions. I use these materials to efficiently produce clean energy (e.g. hydrogen), commodities (e.g. plastics), and fine chemicals. To understand the chemical reactions inside zeolites and MOFs, I intensively employ synchrotron X-ray and neutron based experimental techniques. Thus reaction pathways can be studied at the atomic level.

How will this fellowship help my career progression?

This fellowship offers me the opportunities to carry out independent research, to supervise research students, and to teach undergraduate students. It is foreseen that by the end of this fellowship, I will develop my own research area and acquire experiences of teaching and managing. These will definitely contribute to my future academic activities (e.g. senior research fellowships or lectureships).

The support the university provides

The research facilitator team in the department was very helpful during my application process. They assisted me to choose the most suitable fellowships, to contact current fellows within the department, and to prepare application documents such as an outstanding research proposal.


I received my B.Sc. in Chemistry from Fudan University (China) in 2011 before going to the University of Cambridge for my PhD on flexible MOFs (2015). I worked as a postdoctoral research associate in this department before commencing my Glasstone research fellowship (2019).