UCLA Engineering Professor Awarded ECS Toyota Young Investigator Fellowship

Yuzhang Li

UCLA Samueli

Aug 22, 2023

UCLA Samueli Newsroom

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.

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