Dr. Hu Yang will begin his new role as chair of the chemical and biochemical engineering department at Missouri University of Science and Technology on Aug. 1. Yang comes to Rolla from Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) where he is the Qimonda Endowed Chair in chemical and life science engineering, biomedical engineering, and pharmaceutics.

“Dr. Yang’s experience in biochemical engineering is an excellent fit for the future of the department,” says Dr. Richard Wlezien, vice provost and dean of Missouri S&T’s College of Engineering and Computing. “He is a leader, and I look forward to seeing him develop stronger ties to the National Institutes of Health at Missouri S&T and more generally in bio-based research.”

Engineering, materials science and medicine meet in Yang’s research. In his internationally known, interdisciplinary research initiatives at VCU, he investigates the role of biomaterials and nanotechnology in the treatment of cancer, glaucoma and arterial plaque buildup as well as the use of hydrogels and dendrimers in targeted drug and gene therapies and tissue engineering. One of his research areas is engineering dendrimers, which are highly branched, three-dimensional molecules, to create nanostructured materials that could be used in a number of ways depending on the medical need.

As a researcher, Yang has garnered more than $10 million in research support, including more than $5.5 million for research in which he was primary investigator. He received a CAREER Award from the National Science Foundation (NSF) in 2010 and a Wallace H. Coulter Young Investigator Award in 2009. Yang holds five patents.

Yang’s body of work includes publications, university leadership positions and community outreach. He has mentored dozens of students and worked to increase diversity in the science workforce.

In addition, he has served as a grant reviewer for the NSF and the National Institutes of Health. Yang is associate editor of Materials Express and serves on the editorial boards of the Journal of Biological Engineering, International Journal of Polymeric Materials and Polymeric Biomaterials, and Smart Materials in Medicine. He has been a member of the Massey Cancer Center at VCU since 2011.

ABET, the accrediting organization for college and university programs in applied and natural science, computing, engineering, and engineering technology, has selected Yang as a program evaluator for biomedical engineering. Yang was scheduled to complete training for this role in spring 2020 and begin reviewing programs in the fall. Due to disruptions from COVID-19, his ABET work will begin in 2021.

Yang succeeds Dr. Muthanna Al-Dahhan, Curators’ Distinguished Professor of chemical and biochemical engineering and of nuclear engineering, who served as department chair from 2009 to 2019.

Yang received his bachelor’s degree at Sichuan University in China. He earned his Ph.D. in chemical engineering from the University of Akron in Ohio and conducted postdoctoral research in pharmaceutical sciences at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Yang joined the faculty at VCU in 2005.