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the Walker Department
of Mechanical Engineering

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Guihua Yu


Dr. Yu earned his Ph.D. degree in Chemistry from Harvard University in 2009, after graduating from the University of Science and Technology of China (USTC) in Chemistry with the highest honor in 2003. With three years' postdoctoral research at Stanford University, Dr. Yu joined the faculty of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Texas at Austin in Fall 2012 as an assistant professor of Materials Science.

Dr. Yu has received a significant number of prestigious international and national awards and honors for outstanding research achievements, including 2021 Blavatnik National Awards Honoree, 2021 Edith and Peter O’Donnell Award by TAMEST, 2021 TMS Brimacombe Medalist Award, 2021 IAAM Medal Award, 2020 Polymer International - IUPAC Award for Creativity in Applied Polymer Science, 2020 Outstanding Young Scientist by World Laureates Forum (WLF), 2019 Fellow of Institute of Physics, 2019 IUPAC Periodic Table of Young Chemists worldwide, 2018 DOE Early Career Award, 2018 Nano Letters Young Investigator Award, 2018 ACS ENFL Division Emerging Researcher Award, 2018 Caltech's Resnick Young Investigator, 2017 Royal Society of Chemistry Fellow, 2017 Camille Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Award, 2017 SMALL Young Innovator Award, 2017 TMS Society Early Career Faculty Award, 2016 Chemical Society Reviews Emerging Investigator Lectureship, 2016 Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellowship and 2016 Emerging Investigator by American Chemical Society (Chemistry of Materials). In 2015, he received 3M Non-Tenured Faculty Award and American Chemical Society's ACS-PRF Young Investigator Award. He was recognized as one of the global 2014 Top Innovators Under age 35 by MIT Technology Review and 2014 Emerging Investigator by Royal Society of Chemistry. Additionally, Dr. Yu was awarded 2013 Ralph E. Powe Junior Faculty Award, 2010 International Prize for Young Chemists by International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC) for best Ph.D. research, 2007 MRS Outstanding Graduate Student Award by Materials Research Society, and 2005 Distinguished Undergraduate Teaching Award by Harvard University.

Dr. Yu's research has been broadly centered on rational design and synthesis of functional nanomaterials, fundamental understanding of their chemical and physical properties, and development of large-scale assembly and integration strategies to enable their technologically important applications in energy, environment, and sustainability technologies. He has published over 230 papers in many prominent scientific journals including Science, Nature, Nature Reviews Materials, Nature Materials, Nature Nanotechnology, Nature Catalysis, Nature Sustainability, Nature Communications, Science Advances, PNAS, Chemical Reviews, Chemical Society Reviews, Accounts of Chemical Research, Journal of the American Chemical Society, Angewandte Chemie, Advanced Materials, Energy & Environmental Sciences, Chem, Joule, Nano Letters, ACS Nano, Applied Physics Reviews, Materials Today, Nano Today, etc. His publications have received total citation of over 42,500 times with H-index ~110. He is constantly ranked the global Top 1% Highly Cited Researcher in Materials Science by Thomson Reuters since 2017. His research works have been featured in over 200 major science and technology media worldwide, such as Nature, Science, ABC News, NBC News, Fox News, Bloomberg, Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Discovery, National Geographic, Scientific American, Thomson Reuters, World Economic Forum, Business Standard, Daily Mail (UK), The Times (UK), Sueddeutsche Zeitung(Germany), Frankfurter Allgemeine (Germany), Al Jazeera, USA Today, CGTN, XINHUA (China), SINA (China), SOHU (China), Tencent (China), The Indian Express, Times of India, Irish Times, Science News, Science Daily, R&D Magazine, MIT Technology Review, Popular Science, Ars Technica, Futurism, New Scientist, Reddit, Yahoo!, C&EN, Gizmodo, Gizmag, IEEE Spectrum, E&T, Design News, Phys.Org, SciTech Daily, Chemistry World, Materials World, Physics World, MRS Bulletin, Chemistry Views, Materials Views, Popular Mechanics, Daily Texan, Austin American-Statesman, Houston Chronicle, etc. Currently, his main research interests include:

  • Nano-Architected functional materials for energy storage and conversion devices: next-generation lithium batteries and beyond-lithium batteries, electrochemical supercapacitors, thermoelectric devices, microbial fuel cells
  • Novel organic nanomaterials for solar water purification and harvesting: solar desalination, atmospheric water harvesting, wastewater treatment
  • Self-assembled nanostructures and bio-inspired materials for advanced energy, electronics and sensor technologies
  • Hybrid inorganic-organic nanomaterial systems for functional interfaces with biological systems

The nature of research program in Dr. Yu's group is highly interdisciplinary, and it explores the basic principles in chemistry, physics, materials science and engineering to enable both fundamental understanding of novel materials with designed nano-architectures, and development of their technological applications. Truly motivated graduate and undergraduate students and postdoc researchers are warmly welcome!

Most Recent Publications
  1. Z. Jin, P. Li, Y. Meng, Z. Fang, D. Xiao, G. Yu, "Understanding Inter-Site Distance Effect in Single-Atom Catalysts for Oxygen Electroreduction", Nature Catalysis, 2021, 4, 615.
  2. Q. Li, H. Li, Q. Xia, Z. Hu, Y. Zhu, S. Yan, C. Ge, Q. Zhang, X. Wang, X. Shang, S. Fan, L. Gu, G. Miao, J. Moodera, G. Yu, "Extra Storage Capacity in Transition Metal Oxide Lithium-Ion Batteries Revealed by In Situ Magnetometry", Nature Materials, 2021, 20, 76.
  3. C. Lv, L. Zhong, H. Liu, Z. Fang, C. Yan, M. Chen, Y. Kong, C. Lee, D. Liu, S. Li, J. Liu, L. Song, G. Chen, Q. Yan, G. Yu, "Selective Electrocatalytic Synthesis of Urea with Nitrate and Carbon Dioxide", Nature Sustainability, 2021, 4, .
  4. N. Wang, X. Zhang, Z. Ju, X. Yu, Y. Wang, Y. Du, Z. Bai, S. Dou, G. Yu, "Thickness-Independent Scalable High-Performance Li-S Batteries with High Areal Sulfur Loading via Electron-Enriched Carbon Framework", Nature Communications, 2021, 12, 4519.
  5. F. Zhao, Y. Guo, X. Zhou, W. Shi, G. Yu, "Materials for Solar-Powered Water Evaporation", Nature Reviews Materials, 2020, 5, 388. (Featured Cover).
  6. Y. Guo, J. Bae, Z. Fang, P. Li, F. Zhao, G. Yu, "Hydrogels and Hydrogel-Derived Materials for Energy and Water Sustainability", Chemical Reviews, 2020, 120, 7642. (Featured Cover)
  7. L. Zhang, Y. Qian, R. Feng, Y. Ding, X. Zu, C. Zhang, X. Guo, W. Wang, G. Yu, "Reversible Redox Chemistry in Azobenzene-Based Organic Molecules for High-Capacity And Long-Life Nonaqueous Redox Flow Batteries", Nature Communications, 2020, 11, 3843.
  8. Y. Zhou, Z. Zhang, Z. Fang, M. Qiu, L. Ling, J. Long, L. Chen, Y. Tong, W. Su, Y. Zhang, C.S. Wu, J.M. Basset, X. Wang, G. Yu, "Defect Engineering of Metal–Oxide Interface for Proximity of Photooxidation and Photoreduction", PNAS, 2019, 116, 10232.
  9. X. Zhou, F. Zhao, Y. Guo, J. Bae, B. Rosenberger, G. Yu, "Architecting Highly Hydratable Polymer Networks to Tune Water State for Solar Water Purification", Science Advances, 2019, 5, eaaw5484.
  10. Zhao, X. Zhou, Y. Shi, X. Qian, M. Alexandre, X. Zhao, S. Mendez, R. Yang, L. Qu, G. Yu, "Highly Efficient Solar Vapour Generation via Hierarchically Nanostructured Gels", Nature Nanotechnology, 2018, 13, 48. (Featured Cover)


Donald Siegel

Donald Siegel Named New Chair of the Walker Department of Mechanical Engineering

The Cockrell School of Engineering at The University of Texas at Austin has named Donald Siegel, a professor at the University of Michigan and an internationally recognized computational materials scientist, as the next chair of UT’s Walker Department of Mechanical Engineering. He will assume his position on Sept. 1, 2021, succeeding the department’s current chair, Rick Neptune.

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Research Areas


Graduate Mechanical Engineering Program


Undergraduate Mechanical Engineering Program


Nobel Prize Recipient


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