Dr. Yao is Cullen Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Houston. Yao is a Fellow of Royal Society of Chemistry (UK), a Senior Member of National Academy of Inventors and Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers. He received his Ph.D. degree in materials science and engineering from UCLA in 2008. After working as a senior scientist at Polyera Corporation and a postdoctoral fellow at Stanford University with Prof. Yi Cui, he became a faculty member of the University of Houston in 2012. He was promoted to Associate Professor in 2017 and Full Professor in 2020.

Yao has been leading research on the fundamental study of energy storage materials and devices, spanning from solid-state batteries for electric vehicles to multivalent-ion batteries and aqueous batteries for grid energy storage. He has authored more than 110 journal articles with 25,000 citations, and holds 10 US patents. He received the Office of Naval Research Young Investigator Award (2013), UH Teaching Excellence Award (2016), UH Research Excellence Award (2018), Top 1% Clarivate Highly Cited Researcher (2018), Scialog Collaborative Innovation Award (2018 and 2020), and Cullen College of Engineering Professorship (2020).

Honors & Awards

2020 Fellow of Royal Chemical Society (UK)
2020 Senior Member of National Academy of Inventors
2020 Cullen College of Engineering Professorship
2019 Senior Member of IEEE
2018 Highly Cited Researchers List (Top 1% by citations) – Clarivate Analytics
2018 Award for Excellence in Research, Scholarship, or Creative Activity at the Associate Professor Level – University of Houston
2018 Scialog Collaborative Innovation Award – Research Corporation for Science Advancement
2017 Scialog Fellow on Advanced Energy Storage – Research Corporation
2016 Junior Faculty Research Excellence Award – University of Houston, Cullen College of Engineering
2016 Teaching Excellence Award – University of Houston, Cullen College of Engineering
2013 Office of Naval Research Young Investigator Award – U.S. Office of Naval Research
2013 Principal Investigator – U.S. Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy
2012 TcSUH Welch Foundation Professorship Award – Welch Foundation
2013 Ralph E. Powe Junior Faculty Enhancement Award – Oak Ridge Associated Universities
2008 Excellence in Graduate Polymer Science Research – American Chemical Society
2007 Chinese Government Award for Outstanding Students Abroad – China Scholarship Council
2007 ICI Student Award Finalist in Applied Polymer Science – American Chemical Society
2007 Dissertation Year Fellowship – UCLA
2000 Chun-Tsung Scholar – Chun-Tsung Endowment
2000 Outstanding Undergraduate Student Award – Shanghai Educational Council

Leadership and Services

2018−present Co-Director of Power electronics-Energy storage-Microgrids and Subsea Electrical Consortium (PEMSEC)
2020-present Editorial Board Member of eScience
2016-present Electrochemical Society University of Houston Chapter, Faculty Advisor
2015-present IEEE Nanotechnology Council Houston Chapter, Treasurer
2013-present Proposal reviewer for DOE Basic Energy Science, DOE Energy Frontier Research Center, DOE SBIT/STTR, ACS Petroleum Research Fund, National Science Foundation, NASA Space Technology Research Fellowship, Kentucky Science & Technology Foundation, Maryland Industrial Partnership, NASA Missouri Space Grant/EPSCoR Programs, European Research Council, China QiuShi Outstanding Young Scholar Award, German-Israeli Battery and Electrochemistry Research Program, Indo-US Science & Technology Forum Center.
2012-present Journal reviewer for ACS Energy Letters, ACS Nano, ACS Polymer Materials, Advanced Energy Materials, Advanced Materials, Angewandte Chemie, Chem, Chemistry of Materials, Chemical Review, Chemical Science, Chemical Society Review, Energy Environmental Science, Electrochimica Acta, Energy Storage Materials, JACS, Journal of Materials Chemistry A, Joule, Nano Energy, Nano Letters, Nano Research, Nature, Nature Communications, Nature Energy, Nature Materials, PNAS, Science, Science Advances, Scientific Reports, Small, Small methods.