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Zhenan Bao wins inaugural Disrupters and Innovators Prize

Stanford professor honored by ACS Central Science for her work on electronic polymers

by Linda Wang
July 2, 2020

Photo of Zhenan Bao.
Credit: Courtesy of Zhenan Bao
Zhenan Bao

Zhenan Bao, the K.K. Lee Professor of Chemical Engineering at Stanford University, is the inaugural winner of the ACS Central Science Disruptors and Innovators Prize. The prize recognizes individuals who are advancing the central science of chemistry through their innovative research.

“I am thrilled by this honor,” Bao says. “The first thing that came to my mind is my former and current students. Their creativity and hard work made this possible. I am also grateful to so many mentors who helped me over the years.”

Bao’s research on conducting polymers and their applications have led to a greater understanding of molecular design rules for electronic polymers. “I want our work to make an impact on our lives, whether it is to make more efficient batteries for electrical vehicles, continuous monitoring of our health, help a patient who lost their limb to regain sense of touch, or altering electrical connections in the brain to treat neurodegenerative diseases,” Bao says. “In our work, we select problems where furthering our knowledge in chemistry is the key to address them.”

Bao earned a PhD in chemistry from the University of Chicago. She serves as the chair of the department of chemical engineering at Stanford and is the founder of the Stanford Wearable Electronics Initiative. She also cofounded the start-ups C3 Nano and PyrAmes.

“Through her groundbreaking research and discoveries, Professor Bao serves as an inspiration to the scientific community, and is affirming chemistry’s place as the central science.” says Carolyn Bertozzi, editor in chief of ACS Central Science.

“Professor Bao embodies the entrepreneurial scientific spirit the ACS Central Science Disruptors and Innovators Prize seeks to highlight,” says James Milne, president of ACS Publications. “Her research is emblematic of the exciting work that pushes the field of chemistry to new heights.”

Bao will present a lecture during the virtual fall ACS national meeting in August.



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