James C. Liao, UCLA’s Ralph M. Parsons Foundation Chair in Chemical Engineering, was named this month to Taiwan’s Academia Sinica, the preeminent academic institution in the Republic of China. Liao was one of 18 new academicians and two new honorary academicians that the academy announced on July 4 at its biennial convention. Liao, chair of the Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering Department, was elected to in the academy’s Life Sciences Division.
Liao uses metabolic engineering and synthetic biology techniques in his research. He focuses on developing the biological production of the liquid fuel isobutanol while simultaneously consuming carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas. This series of reactions, in essence turning exhaust into fuel, is powered directly by sunlight. He has also developed different methods to create liquid fuels from electricity and from waste proteins; as well as identifying a more efficient way to convert sugars into fuels.
Liao is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and has received many honors for his work. He joins four other faculty members of the UCLA Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science, who have been elected to Academia Sinica.
M.C. Frank Chang, professor and chair of the Electrical Engineering Department and holder of the Wintek Chair in Electrical Engineering. Elected in 2012 in the Mathematics and Physical Sciences Division.
Chih-Ming Ho, professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering, and bioengineering, and holder of the Ben Rich-Lockheed Martin Chair in Engineering. Elected in 1998 in the Mathematics and Physical Sciences Division.
Kuo-Nan Liou, professor of atmospheric and oceanic sciences, electrical engineering, and mechanical and aerospace engineering. Elected in 2004 in the Mathematics and Physical Sciences Division.
King-Ning Tu, professor of materials science and engineering and electrical engineering. Elected in 2002 in the Mathematics and Physical Sciences Division.