Alum Weixin Tang (PhD, '15) selected a 2022 Packard Fellow

Professor Wilfred van der Donk, left, and Weixin Tang in 2013, when Tang was a PhD graduate student in Chemistry at Illinois.

As a graduate student in Chemistry at Illinois, Weixin Tang pursued the discovery and design of new antibiotics and natural products in the lab of Wilfred van der Donk. Tang was part of the discovery of a new molecule, geobacillin, that proved effective in fighting foodborne and disease-causing bacteria, and was also involved in work that revealed important information about the structure of a cell-killing protein.

Tang (PhD, '15) is now a Neubauer Family Assistant Professor in chemistry at the University of Chicago, and this fall, was one of a group of early-career scientists and engineers chosen to receive 2022 Packard Fellowships in Science and Engineering.

Each Packard Fellow receives $875,000 in unrestricted funds that they can use over five years in any way they choose. This fellowship, which is heading into its 35th year in 2023, is one of the largest non-governmental fellowships for research and, for many Fellows, is a critical steppingstone in their career, according to the Packard Foundation. Since 1988, the foundation has awarded $481 million to support 675 scientists and engineers from 54 national universities. 

Tang's research is focused on directed evolution, which mimics the process of natural selection and enables researchers to isolate molecules with tailor-made properties. The Tang lab is developing a mammalian biology-compatible, adaptation-ready directed evolution strategy to isolate biomolecules for therapeutic discovery.

Read more about Tang's research.

Related People