Wash. U. professor wins Presidential Early Career Award
President Barack Obama will present the award to Professor Yang and 93 other recipients in the White House.
President Clinton established PECASE in 1996. It is the highest honor that the U.S. government gives to researchers early in their careers. Recipients include professors and members of other research communities.
Professor Yang is the fourth University member to win this award. Between 1999-2001, assistant professors in civil engineering, biomedical engineering and psychiatry and radiology in the Washington University Medical School in St. Louis received the PECASE award.
Yang earned the award for her research on microlasers on a silicon wafer and the development of photonic devices for uses ranging from optical communications to ultra-sensitive biochemical sensing.
“It’s a very great honor to receive the Presidential Early Career Award,” Lan said. “With the support provided by PECASE, we will continue to explore the use of novel photonic devices…with applications in environmental engineering, energy and biomedicine.”
Faculty members in the School of Engineering voiced excitement about Yang’s award.
“I am pleased that the president has honored Lan with this special award for her world-class record of achievement,” says Ralph Quatrano, dean of the School of Engineering & Applied Science. “She is a model for other assistant professors, and I have great confidence in her potential for continued future success…this award brings great visibility to Lan and her innovative work—and to our school and University.”
Other faculty members are joining in celebrating her success.
“It is a great honor for a young researcher, and everyone in the department congratulated her. We are all proud of her; we are glad that her achievement is recognized by the White House,” said Hiro Mukai, professor of systems science and engineering.
Members of the department said that the award will help Lan to extend her interdisciplinary research.
“The award will enable her to expand her projects and attract additional excellent students,” Department Chair and Eugene and Martha Lohman Professor Arye Nehorai said in a statement. “We are very proud of Prof. Lan Yang’s achievements and the prestigious award she received from the president for her research.”
Yang received her B.S. from the University of Science and Technology of China and her Ph.D. in Applied Physics from the California Institute of Technology. She joined the engineering school in 2007.
She currently runs a 12-person Micro/Nano Photonics Lab. The lab focuses on silicon-chip-based ultra-high-quality micro-resonators made from spin-on glass.