I am pleased to announce that Yong-Hang Zhang will become our new associate dean for research on July 7. Yong follows Paul Westerhoff in this position, and we will have a party this fall to celebrate Paul and welcome Yong. Paul brought new energy and ideas to our research enterprise, and supported large proposal efforts, existing centers and development of young faculty. I thank Paul for his work and accomplishments on our behalf.
The next three years are critical for us to meet high expectations for research growth and impact in a challenging funding environment, and one in which we have about 100 relatively new faculty on our team and a sixth school. Yong is excited and looking forward to working with all of you. He brings experience as a successful researcher and entrepreneur to this role.
Yong joined ASU from the Hughes Research Labs where he won the Innovation and Excellence in Laser Technology and Applications Award. Yong has also served as chair or co-chair of numerous international conferences and workshops, such as the general chair of the biennial International Conference on Molecular Beam Epitaxy to be held in Flagstaff this coming September.
When asked why he was interested in the position, Yong spoke knowledgeably about our past and future. “I have enjoyed my career at ASU in the past 18 years. It is the time for me to pay back to the community through providing service and leadership in growing research and graduate education at the Fulton Schools of Engineering,” he said.
Yong has served in many roles since joining ASU in 1996. He is a professor in the School of Electrical, Computer and Energy Engineering, an affiliated professor in the Physics Department, the Materials Science and Engineering program, the Bioengineering program, and a senior sustainability scientist at the Global Institute of Sustainability. He has been a Fulton Entrepreneurial Professor since 2012 and is the founding Director of the Center for Photonics Innovation. The center is a productive and synergetic research cluster of 12 members from various departments across campus working on research topics from the fundamental study of photon-matter interactions to sensors for imaging and medical and biological application. The center members actively collaborate with each other and have received prestigious research awards such as multiple DoD MURI programs and other multimillion-dollar awards or contracts from Science Foundation of Arizona, NSF, DOE, AFOSR, ARO, DARPA, and industrial sponsors.
His research focuses on optoelectronic materials and devices that include lasers, photodetectors and solar cells and their various applications in communication, sensing, imaging and solar energy harvesting. During his tenure at ASU, he has demonstrated strong leadership in research, directly contributing to awards of more than $44 million in research funding — more than $14 million as his own share.
In addition, he has mentored more than 70 doctoral students, postdocs and visiting scientists, and founded a few ASU spinoff companies, which have won more than $7 million in equity investments from venture capital firms like Intel Capital and government SBIR/STTR Phase I and Phase II awards.
Yong earned a bachelor’s degree from Nanjing Normal University, a master’s degree from the Institute of Semiconductors, Chinese Academy of Science, and a doctorate from University Stuttgart for the research work carried out at the Max-Planck Institute for Solid States.
Please join me in welcoming Yong to this new role, and in offering our collective support to continue to expand and strengthen the impact of our research enterprise.
Paul C. Johnson