Dr. Jing Zhao, Assistant Professor of Chemistry and IMS associated faculty member, is the recipient of the National Science Foundation CAREER Award. This honor recognized Dr. Zhao’s leading example in conducting outstanding research, guiding in education, and the integration of both research and education. Providing funds of $675,000 over the span of five years, the award will support her research project, Synthetically Controlled Plasmon-Multiexciton Interaction in Semiconductor-Metal Hybrid Nanostructures. She is one of four CLAS assistant professors to receive the award this year.

In building her own education, Dr. Zhao attended the University of Science and Technology of China. After earning her Bachelor of Science Degree, she went on to earn her Ph.D. from Northwestern University and completed her Postdoctoral fellowship at MIT. Her research aims to distinguish optical and structural properties of nanoparticles and to recognize the interaction between materials at the single particle level.

To accomplish these research goals, Dr. Zhao advises over a group of collaborative students in the lab. The current team includes two undergraduate students: Gabriella Reggiano and Lacie Dube; six Ph.D. students: Julie Jenkins, Sravan Thota, Swayandipta Dey, Terianna Wax, Yi Luo, and Xudong Wang; and Postdoc Shutang Chen. Over the years, Dr. Zhao has produced more than 40 publications included in the Journal of Physical Chemistry, Chemical Communications, Journal of the American Chemical Society, and more. She also has several collaborative projects with research groups in Chemistry, Chemical Engineering and IMS at UConn.

Continuing her work in mentoring young students, Dr. Zhao and her team have also been involved in a few of UConn’s Outreach programs. She co-organized and participated in both the UCONN Research Experience for Undergraduates Program(REU) and UCONN School of Exploratory Chemistry Research Experience & Training (SECRET). Dr. Zhao was involved in putting together an ECE workshop for high school teachers and a High School Summer Program. She is involved in the ACS SEED Project for economically disadvantaged high school students. Finally, she also participated in a Nanomaterials Workshop for middle school and high school students, organized by Dr. Yao Lin of the IMS and Chemistry Department, in collaboration with Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth.