UCLA Engineering Professor Awarded ECS Toyota Young Investigator Fellowship
Yuzhang Li, an assistant professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering at the UCLA Samueli School of Engineering, has been awarded a 2023–2024 Electrochemical Society Toyota Young Investigator Fellowship to support his research on enhancing battery materials and performance.
The fellowship program — a partnership between The Electrochemical Society (ECS) and the Toyota Research Institute of North America — promotes innovative research in batteries, hydrogen and fuel cell technology, and other sustainable technologies by young professors and scholars.
With a $50,000 grant from the fellowship, Li will focus his research on using cryogenic electron microscopy, or cryo-EM for short, to study lithium metal as a battery material. This builds upon a recent study led by Li and featured on the cover of the journal Nature that revealed, for the first time, the true atomic shape of lithium by using a technique to prevent surface corrosion of the lithium metal. The advance opened the possibility of making better and safer rechargeable lithium-metal batteries.
As a fellow, Li will be invited to present his research at one of the society’s meetings and have the findings published open access in a relevant ECS journal. Toyota may choose to enter into a research agreement to continue working with Li after his fellowship ends.
Included in Forbes’ 2021 “30 Under 30” young innovators list, Li has received other notable recognitions such as a U.S. Department of Energy Early Career Research Award, a National Science Foundation CAREER Award and an American Chemical Society Petroleum Research Fund Grant.