The goal of our research is to realize high-performance, durable, and cost-effective energy storage and conversion technologies through rational materials design. We use an integrated theoretical and experimental approach through collaborations to define scientific questions and establish fundamental understandings of key challenges in these technologies. We tackle such challenges through rational materials design, novel synthesis approach, and experimental validation. With the unique combination of research capability in organic and inorganic materials, our group has investigated a broad range of materials including two-dimensional materials, inorganic nanostructures, organic crystals, polymers, and organic/inorganic hybrid materials. Current projects include redox-active organic materials, aqueous batteries, solid-state batteries, multivalent ion batteries and others. I encourage you explore our website to lean more about our ongoing research.


The goal of Ph.D. training is to transform a student to become an independent and creative scholar. We provide training on following areas: basic research skills, critical thinking, problem solving; writing and communication skills; research ethics, leadership, proactive attitude, and teamwork.


Yan Yao is Cullen College of Engineering Associate Professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at University of Houston. His research group focuses on functional materials for energy conversion and storage. The recent research programs include the design, synthesis, processing, and operando characterizations of organic electrode materials in rechargeable solid-state batteries, polymeric cathode materials for magnesium ion batteries, and long cycle-life aqueous batteries for large scale grid storage. Yan is the author and coauthor of more than 100 peer-reviewed journal articles, 1 book chapter and 10 U.S. patents. He is a Fellow of Royal Society of Chemistry, and a Highly Cited Researcher by Clarivate Analytics with citations over 20,000. Yan received B.S. and M.S. from Fudan University in 2000 and 2003, Ph.D. from UCLA in 2008, all in Materials Science Engineering. He joined the University of Houston in 2012 as an Assistant Professor after working as a senior scientist at Polyera Corporation and as a postdoctoral fellow at Stanford University. He is a Principal Investigator in the Texas Center for Superconductivity at the University of Houston. His research has been recognized with Office of Naval Research Young Investigator Award, Scialog Fellow on Advanced Energy Storage, UH Award for Excellence in Research, and Cullen College of Engineering Professorship.

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

2018-2019 Power electronics-Energy storage-Microgrids and Subsea Electrical Consortium (PEMSEC), Co-Director
2019-Present UH Faculty Senate, Graduate & Professional Studies Committee
2019 Guest Editor, ChemSusChem, Special Issue on Organic Batteries
2018-present Academic Editor, PLOS ONE
2017-present Board Member, Organic Battery Days
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.