Jackie Yi-Ru Ying
Becoming one of MIT’s youngest full professors at the age of 35, Jackie Yi-Ru Ying is one of the world’s leading experts on nanotechnology.
Born in Taipei, Taiwan she was raised in Singapore and New York City and earned her Bachelors of Engineering degree from Cooper Union in 1987. She continued her studies in chemical engineering at Princeton University earning a MA in 1988 and a PhD in 1991.
After a year of post-doctoral research she joined the faculty of MIT in 1992, teaching in the Department of Chemical Engineering where she was promoted to full professor in 2001. Two years later she returned to Singapore as the first executive director of the Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology, a division of the Agency for Science, Technology and Research. The mission of the institute is to conduct research at the interface of nanotechnology and bioengineering by creating a knowledge base that bridges molecular sciences and nanotechnology. IBN hopes to create novel nanostructured materials, devices, and systems with unique functionalities and commercialization potential for biomedical applications.
Ying’s research focuses on the synthesis of advanced nanostructured materials for catalytic and biomaterial applications and her lab has been responsible for several novel wet-chemical and physical vapor synthesis approaches to create nanocomposites, nanodevices with unique size-dependent characteristics. The possible applications for these new systems range from the efficient use of energy and resources to the production of fine chemicals and pharmaceuticals. Uses could also include the targeted delivery of drugs, proteins and genes, the generation of biomimetic implants and tissue scaffolds, or the control and prevention of environmental pollutions. Under Ying’s leadership the institute has grown the number of students and research staff to close to 200 members.
Authoring over 300 articles and the holder of 70 U.S. patents, Ying was elected to the Singapore Women’s Hall of Fame in 2014. The next year she was the recipient of the inaugural Mustafa Prize given for her contributions to nano-biotechnology.
Written by Angela Goad