After earning his BEng in Environmental Engineering and MPhil in Biology, Dr Chen further studied a PhD in HKUST, working on an inter-disciplinary topic considering the interaction of plant, microbe and soil in man-made ecosystems.
He investigated the role of plant-fungi interaction on the geotechnical properties of soil , which can have considerable effects on the serviceability and safety of geotechnical systems (e.g. slopes) subjected to ecological processes. He investigated the effects of biochar on the ecological performance (biodiversity) and soil water retention behaviour on the final cover of a restored landfill. Furthermore, he is working on the mitigation of heavy metal and metalloids (e.g., cadmium and arsenic) in plants (e.g., rice) using microbes and soil amendment.
- Role of biofactors in changing geotechnical soil properties
- Plant-microbe interaction on heavy metal/metalloid uptake, productivity and metabolism of plants
- Ecology of man-made ecosystems