Diao Research Group


Ying Diao

Assistant Professor

Dow Chemical Company Faculty Scholar

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering

213 Roger Adams Laboratory

600 S. Mathews Ave., Urbana, IL 61801

Email: yingdiao at illinois.edu

Phone: (217) 300 3505



Professor Diao is the Dow Chemical Company Faculty Scholar and Assistant Professor at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign since 2015. She received her Ph.D. degree in Chemical Engineering from MIT in 2011. Her doctoral thesis was on understanding heterogeneous nucleation of pharmaceuticals by designing polymeric substrates.  In her subsequent postdoctoral training at Stanford University between 2011 and 2014, she pursued research in the thriving field of printed electronics. Diao group, started in January 2015 at Illinois, has been developing fundamental understanding of molecular assembly, interfacial phenomenon and innovative methodologies for printing functional materials. The group also has extensive expertise in multiscale morphology characterizations of polymers and soft matter, interfacial modifications and characterizations, and electronic device fabrications for renewable energy and healthcare. Her work has been frequently featured in science journals and news media such as the Science Magazine, Nature Materials, American Chemical Society, ScienceDaily, Royal Society of Chemistry, Materials Research Society and AAAS. Dr. Diao has published over 60 peer-reviewed publications and 6 patents. She is a recipient of the Spicer Young Investigator Award from DOE’s SLAC national lab, and is named to the MIT Technology Review’s annual list of Innovators Under 35 as a pioneer in nanotechnology and materials. Dr. Diao is also a NSF CAREER awardee, a Sloan Research Fellow in Chemistry and a recipient of 3M Non-Tenured Faculty Award.


2011 - 2014    Postdoctoral Scholar

Department of Chemical Engineering, Stanford University

Materials Science Division, SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory

Topics: Solution printing and in situ X-ray scattering of organic semiconductors

2006 - 2011    Ph.D., Chemical Engineering, MIT

Minor: Materials Science and Engineering

Thesis: Design of polymeric substrates for controlled molecular crystallization

2006 - 2008    M.S., Chemical Engineering Practice, MIT

2002 - 2006    B.S., Chemical Engineering, Tsinghua University

Selected Awards and Honors

  1. Emerging Investigator, Chemical Society Reviews, the Royal Society of Chemistry, 2020

  2. Lincoln Excellence for Assistant Professor (LEAP) Scholar, College of Liberal Arts & Sciences, 2019-2021

  3. Beckman Fellow, Center for Advanced Studies, 2019-2020

  4. Early Career Award, AVS Prairie Chapter, 2019

  5. Emerging Investigator in Crystal Growth & Design, ACS Publications, 2019

  6. Emerging Investigator, Molecular Systems Design & Engineering, the Royal Society of Chemistry, 2019

  7. Dean’s Award for Excellence in Research, College of Engineering, UIUC, 2019

  8. NSF CAREER Award, 2o18

  9. 3M Non-Tenured Faculty Award, 2018

  10. Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellowship in Chemistry, 2018

  11. Chemistry of Materials Reviewer Excellence Award, 2017

  12. School of Chemical Sciences Teaching Award, 2016-2017

  13. Invited to US Frontiers of Engineering Symposium, National Academy of Engineering, 2017

  14. List of Teachers Ranked as Excellent, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Fall 2016, Spring 2018

  15. Innovators Under 35, MIT Technology Review (MIT TR35 Award), 2016

  16. Named an “Emerging Investigator”, Journal of Materials Chemistry, Royal Society of Chemistry, 2016

  17. William E. and Diane M. Spicer Young Investigator Award, SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, 2014

  18. Best Oral Contribution Award, Materials Research Society (MRS) – Organic Electronics Symposium, 2014

  19. Selected for the Distinguished Young Scientists Summer Seminar Series, University of Washington, Seattle, 2012

  20. AIChE Separations Division Graduate Student Award, 2011

  21. Outstanding UROP Mentor (the only student awarded), 2010 ~ 2011, MIT,
    (UROP: Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program)

  22. Outstanding Poster Award, Novartis Science and Technology Forum, 2011

  23. Bayer Graduate fellowship, Chemical Engineering, MIT, 2006

  24. Institute Excellent Graduate Award (top 1% for overall excellence), Tsinghua University, 2006

  25. Outstanding Senior Thesis Award, Chemical Engineering, Tsinghua University, 2006

  26. First Prize in Beijing Physics Competition (undergraduate level), 2004

  27. Dow Chemical Scholarship, Chemical Engineering, Tsinghua University, 2003