Dr. Xin Yan, an assistant professor in the Department of Chemistry at Texas A&M University, has been selected as a 2021 recipient of the American Society for Mass Spectrometry (ASMS) Research Award recognizing young academic scientists for their early research accomplishment and career potential.
Yan is one of three current recipients unveiled Thursday (Apr. 15) for the prestigious $35,000 award, presented annually since 1986 to enhance the research programs and professional growth of young faculty within their first four years in tenure-track positions at North American universities. The awards are underwritten by Bruker, Thermo Fisher Scientific and Waters Corporation.
Yan and her fellow 2021 honorees will be presented with their awards during a Tuesday, Nov. 2, ceremony in conjunction with the 69th ASMS Conference on Mass Spectrometry and Allied Topics, set for Oct. 31 – Nov. 4 in Philadelphia.
“I’m very honored to receive an ASMS Research Award, and I am amazed by the past recipients,” Yan said. “Many big names of today are on that list, and I look forward to the challenge as well as the opportunity to live up to their collective legacy.”
Yan joined the Texas A&M Chemistry faculty in 2018 after three years as a postdoctoral researcher at Stanford University. She earned both her master of science in health sciences (2011) and Ph.D. in chemistry (2015) from Purdue University. Her research program at Texas A&M features a cutting-edge combination of catalysis and molecular synthesis, synthetic and structural biology, and sustainability in a broader effort to develop and apply novel mass spectrometric methodologies in disease diagnosis, reaction monitoring, and new synthetic methodology.
In particular, the Yan Group is motivated by the possibility of enabling new technology for next-generation approaches to precision medicine and sustainable synthesis. For Yan, all research roads lead to and through droplet chemistry, a compartmentalized ecosystem ripe with synthetic chemistry potential, from faster, more efficient chemical reactions to accelerated production of small molecules.
As a graduate student at Purdue, Yan was an early contributor to the subject of accelerated reactions in microdroplets, publishing several papers and and serving as lead author on the first significant review of the topic in the international journal Angewandte Chemie in 2016 as well as a subsequent Annual Review of Physical Chemistry review in 2020. In only her third year as an independent scientist, Yan has launched a new area of accelerated electrochemical reactions in droplets — a topic that when paired with her expertise in lipidomics and lipid structures is expected to yield rich discoveries and novel breakthroughs for years to come.
Dr. R. Graham Cooks, Henry B. Hass Distinguished Professor of Analytical Chemistry at Purdue and Yan’s graduate mentor, cites her strong background in organic chemistry as the deciding factor that sets her apart from others in the field of mass spectrometry. In his letter supporting Yan’s ASMS Research Award nomination, he describes her work as a “tour de force of mass spectrometry and chemical reactivity” that, in combination with her growing expertise in biology and related research program in biological imaging, positions her to make major contributions to mass spectrometry and to science as a whole.
“I have supervised more than 150 Ph.D. students and rank Dr. Yan with a very few others at the top of this group,” said Cooks, a 2020-21 Texas A&M Hagler Institute for Advanced Study (HIAS) Faculty Fellow. “She is an original thinker in research, has strong practical instrumentation skills, and seeks to understand problems at a fundamental level. She is sure to be highly successful in her academic career and has strong leadership potential.”
The American Society for Mass Spectrometry (ASMS) was formed in 1969 to promote and disseminate knowledge of mass spectrometry and allied topics. Its membership includes more than 8,500 scientists involved in research and development at academic, industrial and governmental laboratories. Their interests include advancement of techniques and instrumentation in mass spectrometry, as well as fundamental research in chemistry, geology, forensics, biological sciences and physics.
For additional information on Yan and her research, visit http://www.chem.tamu.edu/faculty/xin-yan/.
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