IEEE Nanotechnology Council Best PhD Thesis Award in Nanotechnology

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Dr. Chuangzhen Zhao

Alumnus Dr. Chuanzhen Zhao (M.S. ’17 chemistry, Ph.D. ’20 materials chemistry P. Weiss and A. Andrews groups) is the recipient of the prestigious Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Nanotechnology Council Best Ph.D. Thesis Award in Nanotechnology “for developing and applying nanoscale tools critical to chemical sensing for the BRAIN Initiative, with further applications in wearable sensors”.

Dr. Chuanzhen Zhao with Prof. Fabrizio Lombardi, President of the IEEE Nanotechnology Council.

The award, bestowed annually, acknowledges a Ph.D. thesis in nanotechnology that demonstrates remarkable technological innovation or excellence.  Zhao was selected as the sole recipient for this year’s award. In addition to the esteemed recognition, he received a $500 honorarium and a certificate. The award was presented to him during the annual IEEE Conference on Nanotechnology (NANO) banquet.

Zhao received his Ph.D. in Materials Chemistry from UCLA in 2020 working with Professor Paul S. Weiss and Professor Anne M. Andrews in the Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry and the Department of Psychiatry & Biobehavioral Health. His doctoral work centered on the development of translational biosensors, encompassing implantable neuroprobes and wearable devices, to monitor chemical signaling within the body.

An NIH/NIBIB NRSA F32 postdoctoral fellow in Professor Zhenan Bao’s lab at Stanford University, Zhao is currently working on developing flexible and stretchable biosensors and bioelectronics.  He was recently named to Forbes magazine’s 30 Under 30 in Science list for 2023 in recognition of his work in making biosensors for health monitoring.

While at UCLA, Zhao received a Materials Research Society (MRS) Gold Graduate Student Award, a Dimitris N. Chorafas Foundation Award, a Dissertation Year Fellowship, and a Thomas and Ruth F. Jacobs Dissertation Award.  He is the first author or co-author of 27 publications in top journals. 

Zhao received his bachelor’s degree in materials science and engineering from the Beijing Institute of Technology, Beijing, China in 2015, which included research at UCLA in the Cross-disciplinary Scholars in Science and Technology program in 2014.  

Penny Jennings, UCLA Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry,