Zhen graduated from China Foreign Affairs University in 2001 with a first-class honours degree in English, and obtained MSc in Child Development and Education in University of Oxford in 2014.

Before coming to Oxford, Zhen taught English in China or over 10 years. She also worked in 12 UK schools (11 primaries and 1 secondary school) for one year, teaching Chinese and Chinese culture. Her first-hand knowledge of Chinese and English education, combined with the training she received in Oxford, gives her an advantage to create her own voice in child learning, and in second language learning for young children.

Her research interests are children learning, literacy development, bilingualism, second language acquisition, English language teaching and learning.