American Chemical Society honors Chemical Engineering chair Zhenan Bao

ZHENAN BAO, the K.K. Lee professor of chemical engineering at Stanford and chair of Chemical Engineering, has been named the first winner of the ACS Central Science Disruptors & Innovators Prize for her research into the molecular design of conducting polymers and their applications, including the creation of artificial electronic skin and other wearable medical electronic technologies.

Zhenan Bao. (Courtesy Zhenan Bao)

“I am incredibly thrilled and humbled by this recognition. It would not have been possible without my creative and hardworking students and many mentors who supported me over the years,” said Bao.

The award was presented by Stanford Professor CAROLYN BERTOZZI in her role as editor-in-chief of ACS Central Science, the peer-reviewed publication of The American Chemical Society, a nonprofit organization chartered by the U.S. Congress in 1876 to advance this fundamental science.

“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,” said Bertozzi, who is the director of Stanford ChEM-H, the Anne T. and Robert M. Bass Professor in the School of Humanities and Sciences and professor, by courtesy, of radiology and of chemical and systems biology.

The ACS Central Science Disruptors & Innovators Prize was established last year in order to showcase exceptional science by recognizing an individual who, through their innovative research, is advancing the central science of chemistry. Bao, who has pioneered the study of electronically-active and stretchable conducting polymers, founded the Stanford Wearable Electronics Initiative (eWEAR) in 2016 and serves as its faculty director. Bao is a co-founder and sits on the board of directors for the Silicon Valley venture-funded startups C3 Nano and PyrAmes. She received her PhD in chemistry from the University of Chicago in 1995, and has over 500 refereed publications and over 65 U.S. patents.

James Milne, president of the ACS Publications Division praised Bao’s entrepreneurial achievements and called her research “emblematic of the exciting work that pushes the field of chemistry to new heights.”

As a part of the award, Bao will present a lecture at the ACS Central Science Disruptors & Innovators Symposium, which will be held during a virtual event taking place in late August 2020. More details will be announced soon.

ACS, which does not itself conduct research, is a global leader in providing access to chemistry-related information and research through peer-reviewed journals, scientific conferences, eBooks and the weekly news periodical Chemical & Engineering News. ACS’s main offices are in Washington, D.C., and Columbus, Ohio.