Research Interests

Yining Zeng is applying microscopic tools to reveal detailed mechanisms of the degradation of biomass due to various chemical pretreatment conditions and biological digestion methods, which might not be detected by large-scale measurements. The current technologies involve coherent anti-Stokes Raman scattering microscope, stimulated Raman scattering microscope and fluorescence lifetime imaging microscope, and others. Zeng is also interested in developing high-sensitive and chemical-specific detection techniques for biomass and biomaterials applications.

Affiliated Research Programs

  • Microscopy

  • Spectroscopy

  • Nonlinear optical imaging


  • Ph.D., Physical Chemistry, The University of Texas at Austin, 2007

  • M.S., Analytical Chemistry, Peking University, China, 2002

  • B.S., Chemistry, Peking University, China, 1999

Professional Experience

  • Research Scientist, National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), Biosciences Center, 2009present

  • Postdoctoral Researcher, NREL, Biosciences Center, 20082009

Featured Publications

  1. "Square-Centimeter Solution-Processed Planar CH3NH3PbI3 Perovskite Solar Cells with Efficiency Exceeding 15%," Advanced Materials (2015)

  2. "In situ Micro-Spectroscopic Investigation of Lignin in Poplar Cell Walls Pretreated by Maleic Acid," Biotechnology for Biofuels (2015)

  3. "Pinoresinol reductase 1 impacts lignin distribution during secondary cell wall biosynthesis in Arabidopsis,"Phytochemistry (2015)

  4. "Lignin plays the negative role in the biochemical process for producing lignocellulosic biofuels," Current Opinion in Biotechnology (2014)

  5. "Size, shape and arrangement of native cellulose fibrils in maize cell walls," Cellulose (2014)

  6. "Carbohydrate and lignin are simultaneously solubilized from unpretreated switchgrass by microbial action at high temperature," Energy Environ. Sci. (2013)

  7. "How Does Plant Cell Wall Nanoscale Architecture Correlate With Enzymatic Digestibility," Science (2012)

  8. "Coherent Raman Microscopy Analysis of Plant Cell Walls," Biomass Conversion: Methods and Protocols, Methods in Molecular Biology (2012)

  9. "Chemical, Ultrastructural and Supramolecular Analysis of Tension Wood in Populus Tremula X Alba as a Model Substrate for Reduced Recalcitrance," Energy Environ. Sci. (2011)

  10. "Cellobiohydralase Hydrolyzes Crystalline Cellulose on Hydrophobic Faces," Journal of Biological Chemistry (2011)

  11. "In Situ Imaging of Single Carbohydrate-Binding Modules on Cellulose Microfibrils," Journal of Physical Chemistry B (2011)

  12. "Elucidating the role of ferrous ion cocatalyst in enhancing dilute acid pretreatment of lignocellulosic biomass," Biotechnology for Biofuels (2011)

  13. "Label-free Realtime Monitoring of Biomass Processing with Stimulated Raman Scattering Microscopy," Angewandte Chemie International Edition (2010)

  14. "An NAC Transcription Factor Orchestrates Multiple Features of Cell Wall Development in Medicago truncatula," The Plant Journal (2010)

  15. "Imaging Lignin-Down-Regulated Alfalfa Using Coherent Anti-Stoke Raman Scattering Microscopy," Bioenergy Research (2010)

  16. "A single molecule study of cellulose hydrolysis of crystalline cellulose," Proceedings of SPIE (2010)

  17. "Does the Cellulose-Binding Module Move on the Cellulose Surface?," Cellulose (2009)

  18. "A Biophysical Perspective on the Cellulosome: New Opportunities for Biomass Conversion," Current Opinion in Biotechnology (2008)

  19. "Single-Molecule Study of the Inhibition of HIV-1 Transactivation Response DNA:DNA Annealing by Argininamide," Journal of American Chemical Society (2007)

  20. "Probing Nucleation, Reverse Annealing, and Chaperone Function Along the Reaction Path of HIV-1 Single Strand Transfer," Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (2007)

  21. "New Insights on the Role of Nucleic Acid/Protein Interactions in Chaperoned Nucleic Acid Rearrangements of HIV-1 Reverse Transcription," Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (2007)

  22. "Evidence for Non-Two-State Kinetics in the Nucleocapsid Protein Chaperoned Opening of DNA Hairpins," Journal of Physical Chemistry (2006)

  23. "Single-Molecule FRET Studies of Important Intermediates in the Nucleocapsid Protein Chaperoned Minus-Strand Transfer Step in HIV-1 Reverse Transcription," Biophysical Journal (2005)

  24. "Secondary Structure and Secondary Structure Dynamics of DNA Hairpins Complexed with HIV-1 NC Protein," Biophysical Journal (2004)

  25. "Cyclic Voltammetry Characterization of Metal Complex Imprinted Polymer," Journal of Molecular Recognition (2002)

  26. "Electrochemical Studies of the Interactions of Tetraphenylporphyrin Tetrasulfonate (TPPS) with Antibody," Electrochemical Communication (2002)

  27. Preparation and Cyclic Voltammetry Characterization of Cu-dipyridyl Imprinted Polymer," Chinese Chemical Letters (2002)

  28. "Electrocatalytic Reduction of Dioxygen on Hemin Based Carbon Paste Electrode," Journal of Applied Electrochemistry (2002)

View all NREL Publications for Yining Zeng.