Dr. Zhu began his prestigious career investigating the microstructure of intermetallic compounds and superconductor materials in the laboratory of Professor Toru Imura at Nagoya University. After a brief time as a postdoctoral research associate at the University of Virginia, he was hired as an Assistant Scientist in the Department of Applied Science at Brookhaven National Laboratory.

For over 30 years at BNL, Dr. Zhu continued to use transmission electron microscopy to investigate microstructural properties of superconducting oxides, magnetic materials, and energy materials. He also developed various new analytical methods and technologies for transmission electron microscopy, including pulsed beam microscopy and novel sample holders for concurrent optical excitations, cryogenic microscopy, and MeV ultrafast electron microscopy. He co-founded the Center for Functional Nanomaterials at BNL, one of the premier advanced electron microscopy user facilities in the world, and served as director for its first seven years.

More recently, his efforts to promote the needs for research and development funding support from U.S. government agencies like the Department of Energy, through organizing research roadmap workshops and writing reports on research goals and priorities for the field, has helped to define future research directions for electron microscopy and microanalysis.

Dr. Zhu was elected as a MAS Fellow in 2020.