Zhu received his bachelor and master's degrees in Computational Mathematics from Shandong University in China in 1994 and 1997, respectively, then a second Master of Science degree in Applied Mathematics in 1998 and PhD in Mathematics and Engineering from Queen's University in Canada in 2003. From 2003 to 2005, he conducted post-doctoral research in the area of Coding Techniques and Information Theory at Queen's University and University of Toronto. In August 2005, Zhu joined Lawrence Technological University as an assistant professor in the department of Mathematics and Computer Science.

Besides teaching, Zhu's main research interests lie in the area of Applied and Computational Mathematics, particularly when they are used to solve real-world problems in Physics and Engineering. Zhu's previous research work includes: Finite Element Methods, Finite Difference Methods, Turbo Codes, Low Density Parity Check Codes, Joint Source-Channel Coding (i.e., Designing joint coding schemes for Data Compression and Error-Correction), etc.