Zhongqi Cheng

Associate Professor, Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, CUNY - Brooklyn College

Dr. Zhongqi (Joshua) Cheng, Associate Professor, Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, CUNY – Brooklyn College

In addition to his faculty position at CUNY – Brooklyn College, Dr. Zhongqi (Joshua) Cheng is also faculty for the Earth and Environmental Sciences Ph.D. program at the City University of New York Graduate Center and Macaulay Honors College, as well as serving as an adjunct faculty member at the Pratt Institute. Dr. Cheng has a background in environmental and analytical geochemistry, with specific training and expertise in contaminants such as lead and arsenic. His research currently focuses on two main topics: urban soil contamination and green infrastructure. Dr. Cheng has received grants from the USDA, NSF, EPA, NIEHS and NYC DEP for various research projects, and has worked with the NYC Mayor’s Office of Environmental Remediation, New York City Housing Authority and Green Thumb on a number of soil-related projects. Dr. Cheng has authored and co-authored nearly 40 peer-reviewed articles, many which are interdisciplinary by nature.

In 2009, Dr. Cheng initiated a garden soil screening program and since then, developed a non-profit soil testing lab that is currently providing affordable soil screening services to gardeners in New York City and beyond. His soil lab has since built a database of heavy metals levels for over 3,000 urban soil samples from community and home gardens, parks, recreation areas, and tree pits, as well as a unique soil sample repository. The lab has also built strong connections with gardener associations, individual gardeners and agencies, and helped address numerous questions in its capacity. Dr. Cheng has volunteered in hosting dozens of workshops for various organizations in New York City, and has hosted numerous visits from school organizations and youth groups to his lab.

As the director of the Environmental Sciences Analytical Center at Brooklyn College, Dr. Cheng oversees a suite of advanced instruments for environmental research and nearly two dozen faculty and graduate student researchers. Dr. Cheng serves as a member on the Advisory Board for Cornell University’s Healthy Soils-Healthy Communities Project, and as a technical adviser for Earth Matter, Brooklyn Botanical Garden, Gowanus Conservancy, and several other community groups. Dr. Cheng is an associate editor for the Journal of Environmental Quality.