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. 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, she pursued research in the thriving field of printed electronics. Diao group, started in January 2015 at Illinois, has been developing fundamental understanding and innovative methodologies for directed assembly of functional materials, their morphology characterizations using advanced X-ray techniques, and their applications in the areas of electronics, renewable energy and healthcare. Her work has been frequently featured in science journals and news media such as Nature Materials, American Chemical Society, ScienceDaily, Royal Society of Chemistry, Materials Research Society and AAAS. Within the past 5 years, Dr. Diao has published over 40 peer-reviewed publications and 3 patents. She is a recipient of the Spicer Young Investigator Award from DOE’s SLAC national lab, and is recently named to the MIT Technology Review’s annual list of Innovators Under 35 as a pioneer in nanotechnology and materials.


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

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

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

  4. NSF EAGER Award, 2016

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

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

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

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

  9. AIChE Separations Division Graduate Student Award, 2011

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

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

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

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

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

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

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