Six Urbana campus faculty members have been recognized as University Scholars. The program recognizes excellence while helping to identify and retain the university's most talented teachers, scholars and researchers.
Dr. Huimin Zhao is the Steven L. Miller Chair Professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering, and professor of chemistry, biochemistry, biophysics, and bioengineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC). He received his B.S. degree in Biology from the University of Science and Technology of China in 1992 and his Ph.D. degree in Chemistry from the California Institute of Technology in 1998 under the guidance of Dr. Frances Arnold. Prior to joining UIUC in 2000, he was a project leader at the Industrial Biotechnology Laboratory of the Dow Chemical Company. He was promoted to full professor in 2008. Dr. Zhao has authored and co-authored over 240 research articles and over 20 issued and pending patent applications with several being licensed by industry. In addition, he has given plenary, keynote or invited lectures in over 260 international meetings, universities, industries, and research institutes.
- Protein engineering; metabolic engineering; bioinformatics; high-throughput technologies such as directed evolution and protein microarrays
Zhao laboratory develops and applies synthetic biology approaches (1), particularly directed evolution, to engineer functionally improved or novel proteins, pathways, and genomes. In parallel, Zhao laboratory investigates the protein structure-function relationship, cell metabolism, and mechanisms of gene expression and regulation. Our current research program centers on four distinct yet related areas, including foundational tool development, drug discovery and development, industrial biotechnology, and mammalian synthetic biology.