Zhao receives D.I.C. Wang Award


Written by

Professor Huimin Zhao has received the 2023 D.I.C. Wang Award for Excellence in Biochemical Engineering from the American Institute of Chemical Engineers’ (AIChE) Society for Biological Engineering. This annual award recognizes individuals “for their contributions to the field and to the practice of biochemical engineering through their position in industry or academia as exemplified by Professor Daniel I.C. Wang in his 50 years of contributions.” The award will be presented at the 2023 AIChE Annual Meeting in Orlando, Fla., where he will also give the D.I.C. Wang Lecture, “Synthetic Biology 2.0: the Dawn of a New Era.”

Zhao’s research focuses on the development and application of synthetic biology, machine learning, and laboratory automation tools to address society's most daunting challenges in human health and energy, and investigating the fundamental aspects of enzyme catalysis, cell metabolism, and gene regulation. His current research program centers on four distinct yet related areas: foundational tool development, drug discovery and development, industrial biotechnology, and mammalian synthetic biology. He has authored and co-authored more than 420 research articles and holds over 30 issued and pending patents.

He has won several awards for his research and teaching, including the Enzyme Engineering Award (Engineering Conferences International, 2019), Marvin Johnson Award in Microbial and Biochemical Technology (American Chemical Society, 2018), and the Charles Thom Award (Society for Industrial Microbiology and Biotechnology, 2016). He is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and has presented close to 500 invited, plenary and keynote lectures.

Zhao joined the University of Illinois faculty in 2000, where he is currently the Steven L. Miller Chair in chemical and biomolecular engineering. He also holds appointments in the departments of Chemistry and Bioengineering, the Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology, and the Carle Illinois College of Medicine. He is Director of the Molecule Maker Lab Institute, an AI Institute for Molecular Discovery, Synthesis Strategy, and Manufacturing supported by the National Science Foundation, and Editor in Chief of ACS Synthetic Biology.

Share this story

This story was published October 5, 2023.