Expanding the Boundaries of
Advanced Biomanufacturing Biology

Developing and applying synthetic biology and metabolic engineering to address challenges in advanced biomanufacturing, with a focus on sustainable manufacturing, nutrition and healthcare. Read More

  Huimin Zhao

Principal Investigator
Ph.D., California Institute of Technology, 1998

Dr. Huimin Zhao is the Steven L. Miller Chair of chemical and biomolecular engineering, and professor of chemistry, biochemistry, biophysics, and bioengineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Dr. Zhao received numerous research and teaching awards and honors, such as Charles Thom Award (2016), Elmer Gaden Award (2014), Guggenheim Fellowship (2012), Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) (2010), Fellow of the American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE) (2009). He has authored and co-authored over 265 research articles and over 20 issued and pending patent applications with several being licensed by industry. In addition, he has given plenary, keynote or invited lectures in more than 300 international meetings, universities, industries, and research institutes. Fifteen of his former graduate students and postdocs became professors in the US (7), China (5), Korea (2), and Egypt (1). Read short bio and the Zhao group at UIUC.

  Ee Lui Ang

Co-Principal Investigator
Ph.D., University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign - National University of Singapore, 2008

Dr. Ee Lui Ang received his B. Eng in Chemical Engineering from the National University of Singapore in 2002 and his Ph. D. in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign & National University of Singapore Joint Ph. D. program in 2007. Subsequently, he joined Codexis Laboratories Singapore Pte Ltd, where he held the positions of Project Technical Lead, Molecular and Cellular Biology Team Leader, and Project Manager for the BioIndustrial project. He joined the Institute of Chemical and Engineering Sciences in 2012 as the Co-Principal Investigator of the Metabolic Engineering Research Lab.


Mingzi Zhang

Ph.D., Rockefeller University, 2012

Yup, I just got married. And yes, I always look this happy when I’m full. Beverage of choice: americano.

Shuobo Shi

Ph.D., Tianjin University, 2009

My wife is always hungry. :(

Zihe Liu

Ph.D., Chalmers University of Technology, 2013

'Til your good is better and better is best!
Meanwhile, I am always hungry! :D

Hongfang Zhang

Ph.D., Nanyang Technological University, 2011

Sometimes I have to remind myself that I don’t have to do what everyone else is doing.

Huihua Sun

Ph.D., Nanyang Technological University, 2012

Stay hungry. Stay foolish.

Jing Liang

Ph.D., University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign, 2014

Welcome to the MERL hunger game. Beverage of choice: Coke Zero.

Huibin Zhang

Ph.D., Stanford University, 2012

Don't mess with the cookie monster. Beverage of choice: Teh-bing.

Yifeng Wei

Ph.D., Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 2015

Beverage of choice: conc. H2O

Yuan Qiao

Ph.D., Harvard University, 2016

Semi-pro basketball player. Beverage of choice: bubble tea with double pearl!

Research Engineers

Leonard Tham

B.S., Nanyang Technological University

Hi I’m MERL’s Health Safety Environment(HSE) Representative! Planning, implementing, ensuring and managing MERL’s HSE systems is what I do. Also a Gaming, geek & nerd culture aficionado!

Wan Lin Yeo

B.S., National University of Singapore

Wanna dance?

Yook Wah Choi

B.S., University of Nevada, Reno

I live to eat and travel!

Yee Ling Tan

B.S., National University of Singapore

I love fishing, movies and KPOP ,and I can speak a total of six languages.


Youyun Liang

Xiaoyun Su