Ying Diao's directory photo.

Ying Diao

Associate Professor

Primary Affiliation

Artificial Intelligence for Materials


Status Full-time Faculty

Home Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering

Phone 300-3505


Address 3265 Beckman Institute, 405 North Mathews Avenue

  • Biography

    Ying Diao is a researcher at the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology and an associate professor in the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.


    • Postdoctoral scholar, Stanford University & SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, 2011-2014

    • Ph.D., chemical engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 2011

    • M.S., chemical engineering practice, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 2008

    • B.S.E., chemical engineering, Tsinghua University, 2006

  • Honors
    • 2024 List of 2024 Researchers to Know, Illinois Science & Technology Coalition

    • 2023 University Scholar, University of Illinois

    • 2023 New Horizons Solvay Lectures in Chemistry, International Solvay Institutes

    • 2023 List of Teachers Ranked as Excellent, Fa’16, Sp’18, Sp’20, Fa’20, Fa’21, Fa’22

    • 2022 Van Ness Award Lecture, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

    • 2022 Thiele Award Lecture, University of Notre Dame

    • 2022 “Rising Star” series of Advanced Materials

    • 2022 Soft Matter Emerging Investigator

    • 2021 Campus Distinguished Promotion Award

    • 2021 I. C. Gunsalus Scholar, College of Liberal Arts & Science

    • 2020: NASA Early Career Faculty Award 

    • 2020: Rising Star in Materials Chemistry, Chemistry of Materials “Up-and-Coming Series” 

    • 2020: List of Teachers Ranked as Excellent (Fall and Spring)

    • 2020: Emerging Investigator, Chemical Society Reviews, the Royal Society of Chemistry

    • 2019: Lincoln Excellence for Assistant Professor Scholar, College of Liberal Arts & Sciences 

    • 2019: Beckman Fellow, Center for Advanced Study, UIUC 

    • 2019: Early Career Award, AVS Prairie Chapter 

    • 2019: Emerging Investigator in Crystal Growth & Design, ACS Publications 

    • 2019: Emerging Investigator, Molecular Systems Design & Engineering, the Royal Society of Chemistry 

    • 2019: Dean’s Award for Excellence in Research, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign 

    • 2018: List of Teachers Ranked as Excellent (Spring)

    • 2018: NSF CAREER Award 

    • 2018: 3M Non-Tenured Faculty Award 

    • 2018: Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellowship in Chemistry 

    • 2018: Chemistry of Materials Reviewer Excellence Award, ACS Publications 

    • 2017: School of Chemical Sciences Teaching Award, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

    • 2017: US Frontiers of Engineering Symposium, National Academy of Engineering 

  • Research

    Research interests:

    • Phase transformations

    • Interfacial phenomenon

    • Molecular Assembly for Energy and Healthcare

    Broadly, Diao’s research seeks to understand and control multiscale molecular assembly processes to achieve sustainable manufacturing of materials and devices for environment, energy, and healthcare applications, including therapeutic products. Molecular assembly, where a set of inanimate molecules can form structures with ever-evolving complexity and emergent properties, is inextricably linked to the origin of life. With the advent of modern drug development, the rise of nanotechnology, and most recently the renaissance in energy research, the field has resurged into prominence.

    The Diao Research Group, started in 2015 at UIUC, aims to understand the assembly of organic functional materials and innovate printing approaches that enable structural control down to the molecular and nanoscales. The Diao group, started in 2015 at UIUC, focuses on understanding the assembly of organic functional materials and innovating printing approaches that enable structural control down to the molecular and nanoscales.