Yan Jiao

Associate Professor Yan Jiao

Deputy Head

School of Chemical Engineering

Faculty of Sciences, Engineering and Technology

Eligible to supervise Masters and PhD, but is currently at capacity - email supervisor to discuss availability.

The goal of my research is to design better energy materials for more efficient conversion between chemical energy and electrical energy. My research is in nature multidisciplinary and involves materials science, chemical engineering, nanotechnology, and physical chemistry, with a core strength in molecular modelling.

I received my Ph.D. from the School of Chemical Engineering at The University of Queensland (UQ) in October 2012. After graduation, I joined the University of Adelaide as a Research Fellow in the School of Chemical Engineering. I was appointed as Senior Lecturer in 2019 and was promoted to Associate Professor in 2021. I received Young Tall Poppy Award in 2020, and is the finalist for 2022 Malcolm McIntosh Prize for Physical Scientist of the Year. I am a College of Experts for the Australian Research Council (https://www.arc.gov.au/about-arc/arc-profile/arc-committees/arc-college-experts).

I have published more than 110 papers in journals including Nature Energy, Nature Communications, Journal of the American Chemical Society, and Energy & Environmental Science. My research publications have collectively received more than 29,000 citations, with an h-index of 62. I am a Highly Cited Researcher as recognized by Clarivate Analytics.









Research Expertise

My research interest is molecular modelling, the development of computational electrochemistry, and the design of energy materials by computation methods.

Background. Australia has a natural endowment of sunshine and prevailing wind. It is now standing at the forefront of transitioning to renewable energy supported economy. South Australia is currently leading the country with more than 50% of the electricity generated from renewable energy. The rapid expansion of generated renewable electricity can lead to short-term and long-term benefits for our society, such as reducing million tons of CO2 emission, solving the energy crisis, and potentially creating huge revenues for Australia on the energy market (billions of dollars). The current bottleneck is the conversion and storage of renewable electricity, where the development of catalyst materials is the most critical. My research aims to solve this problem by molecular modelling. This powerful approach can tell if and why a type of material is suitable for a specific reaction and design better materials different from the normal trial-and-error materials discovery process. Using hydrogen/carbon/nitrogen/battery as energy carriers and renewable energy as input, I am researching better catalyst materials that can produce and utilise clean fuels that do not pollute our planet.

Methodology. The specific methodology I use to discover and engineer these catalyst materials is molecular modelling on high-performance computers (HPC). I build atom-by-atom models of these catalyst materials. I investigate the energetics of the reaction pathway for generating these fuels. Based on a fundamental understanding of the reaction mechanisms, I design new catalyst materials to produce more fuels from the same amount of renewable electricity. I collaborate with researchers doing experiments extensively: I build the models based on experimental observations and predicts better catalyst materials for experimental researchers to validate. I am also developing computational electrochemistry theory to more accurately model the energy conversion process and design more reliable catalyst materials.

Publication Summary

The results from A/Prof Jiao's research were published in top-tier journals, such as Nature Energy, Nature Communications, Journal of the American Chemical Society, Angewandte Chemie International Edition, Energy and Environmental Science, and Chemical Society Reviews. So far, she has published 100+ journal papers and a book chapter, which have collectively attracted more than 29,000 citations (h-index of 62). She is a Highly Cited Researcher (1 in 1,000 global scientists and social scientists whose papers have demonstrated significant citation impact during the last decade) for four consecutive years.



Recorded Research Presentations

Recommended Reading

  • Turning the Tide for Academic Women in STEM: A Postpandemic Vision for Supporting Female Scientists. https://pubs.acs.org/doi/10.1021/acsnano.1c09686 (Note from Yan: I didn't write this perspective, but I strongly support the recommendations set out in this perspective. I received tremendous support and mentorship during my career development. That support and mentorship mean a lot to me and I would like to advocate for the community to show provide more opportunities, mentorship and support to young female researchers.)
  • Appointments

    Date Position Institution name
    2022 - ongoing Deputy Head of School School of Chemical Engineering, University of Adelaide
    2021 - ongoing Associate Professor The University of Adelaide
    2020 - ongoing Future Fellow University of Adelaide
    2020 - 2021 Director of Research, School of Chemical Engineering and Advanced Materials University of Adelaide
    2019 - ongoing Theme Leader, Functional Materials, Faculty of ECMS The University of Adelaide
    2019 - 2021 Senior Lecturer University of Adelaide
    2018 - ongoing Deputy Director, Centre for Materials in Energy and Catalysis The University of Adelaide
    2018 - 2018 Beacon Research Fellow University of Adelaide
    2012 - 2017 Postdoctoral Researcher University of Adelaide
  • Awards and Achievements

    Date Type Title Institution Name Country Amount
    2020 Award Highly Cited Researcher (Chemistry) Clarivate Analytics Australia -
    2015 Award Women's Research Excellence Awards Early Career, The University of Adelaide - - -
    2013 Award Chinese Government Award for Outstanding Students Abroad - - -
    2013 Award Dean's Award for Research Higher Degree Excellence, The University of Queensland - - -
    2012 Award Graduate School International Travel Award, The University of Queensland - - -
    2009 Scholarship UQIRTA, The University of Queensland - - -
    2009 Scholarship School of Engineering Scholarship, The University of Queensland - - -
  • Language Competencies

    Language Competency
    Chinese (Mandarin) Can read, write, speak, understand spoken and peer review
    English Can read, write, speak, understand spoken and peer review
  • Education

    Date Institution name Country Title
    2009 - 2012 The University of Queensland Australia PhD
    2001 - 2005 Ocean University of China China BSc
  • Research Interests

  • CE230100032. ARC Centre of Excellence for Carbon Science and Innovation. Program 3 Leader. 2023-2030
  • LE230100113. Cryogenic Near-Field Imaging and Spectroscopy Facility at the 10-nm-Scale. ARC Linkage Infrastructure, Equipment and Facilities. CI. 2023.
  • FT190100636. Develop Catalyst Materials for Future Fuels by Operando Computation. ARC Future Fellowship. Sole CI.  2020-2023
  • DP190103472. Design of Electrocatalysts for Hydrogen-Free Ammonia Production under Ambient Conditions. ARC - Discovery Projects. Lead CI. 2019 - 2021 
  • FND000164. Density Functional Theory aided material design for solar-fuel generation, University of Adelaide - Research Fellowships Scheme. Sole CI. 2018
  • ENG 1003 Programming (MATLAB/Excel)
  • CHEM ENG 7102 Computation for Materials Engineering
  • CHEM ENG 1011 Introduction to Process Modelling
  • CHEM ENG 3026 Unit Operation
  • Current Higher Degree by Research Supervision (University of Adelaide)

    Date Role Research Topic Program Degree Type Student Load Student Name
    2022 Principal Supervisor Electrocatalytic CO2 Reduction and Clean Energy Generation by Metastable Phase nanomaterials Master of Philosophy Master Full Time Mr Haifeng Shen
    2022 Principal Supervisor Electrode/electrolyte Interphase Engineerings for Advanced Aqueous Zinc-ion Batteries Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mr Yilong Zhu
    2022 Co-Supervisor Synthesising high bandgap metal oxides using Atomic Layer Deposition (ALD), capable of producing highly efficient, low power consumption power electronic devices and LEDs. Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Part Time Yong Cheow Gary Lim
    2022 Co-Supervisor Production of personalised mRNA vaccines - a process based modelling approach Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mr The Nhut Nguyen
    2021 Co-Supervisor iPhD Project: Upscaling Atomic Layer Etching from the Bench to Full Fabrication Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Miss Xiting Zhou
    2021 Principal Supervisor Design Electrocatalyst Materials for Synthetic Fuel/Chemical Production by Molecular Modelling Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mr Yiran Jiao
    2021 Principal Supervisor Design of Nanostructured Electrocatalysts for Facile C-N Coupling by Molecular Modeling Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mr Ling Chen
    2021 Principal Supervisor Design of Semiconductor Based Photo-/Electro-Catalyst Materials for Water Splitting Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Miss Sijia Fu
    2021 Principal Supervisor Design Electrocatalysts for Clean Energy Conversion Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Miss Lin Jiang
    2021 Co-Supervisor Rational Design and Preparation of Advanced Photocatalysts for Solar Fuels Production Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mr Mahmoud Adel Hamza Elsayed Gharib
  • Past Higher Degree by Research Supervision (University of Adelaide)

    Date Role Research Topic Program Degree Type Student Load Student Name
    2019 - 2021 Principal Supervisor Design of g-C3N4 Based Electrocatalysts for CO2 Reduction to Ethylene by Molecular Modelling Master of Philosophy Master Full Time Miss Sijia Fu
    2018 - 2021 Co-Supervisor Hepatitis B core (HBc) virus like particle (VLP) as a platform for innovation of chimeric adjuvant-free VLP vaccines targeting oncoviruses Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mr Bingyang Zhang
    2017 - 2021 Co-Supervisor Computational Design of Catalysts for Electrochemical Hydrogen Evolution and Nitrogen Reduction Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mr Xin Liu
    2017 - 2021 Co-Supervisor Directing Selectivity of Carbon Dioxide Reduction Reaction via Heteroatom Doping Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Dr Xing Zhi
    2017 - 2022 Principal Supervisor Development of Functional Iron-based Nanomaterials for Biomedical and Energy Conversion Applications Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Part Time Mr Yechuan Zhang
    2017 - 2018 Co-Supervisor Advanced Nano-Array Catalysts for Electrochemical Energy Conversion Reactions Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mr Jinlong Liu
    2017 - 2019 Co-Supervisor Synthesis of Advanced Electrocatalysts via the Ampoule Method for Water Electrolysis Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mr Yongqiang Zhao
  • Position: Deputy Head
  • Phone: 83130753
  • Email: yan.jiao@adelaide.edu.au
  • Campus: North Terrace
  • Building: Engineering North, floor First Floor
  • Room: N116
  • Org Unit: Materials Engineering

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