Li Named Blavatnik National Award Finalist

Han Li is among 28 finalists in the Blavatnik National Awards for Young Scientists. She will be honored at a celebration ceremony in New York in the fall.

July 26, 2023Han Li, UCI associate professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering, is one of nine finalists, announced today, in the 2023 Blavatnik National Awards for Young Scientists in chemistry.  

Established by the Blavatnik Family Foundation and independently administered by the New York Academy of Sciences, the Blavatnik National Awards recognize America’s most innovative young faculty-rank scientists and engineers. The awards honor past accomplishments and future potential of early career faculty members working in three disciplinary categories: life sciences, chemistry, and physical sciences and engineering.

Li was acknowledged for creating new tools to control the biochemical reactions in living cells with unparalleled precision, turning cells into bio-factories to manufacture a wide range of useful molecules for food, medicine or energy.

“I am extremely honored to receive this award,” said Li. “Biomanufacturing is an indispensable solution to sustainability and affordable medicine in the future. I am pleased that my work is recognized by the Blavatnik Family Foundation, and hope this recognition can promote awareness of the grand challenges of energy, climate and health that we are addressing.”

Li has been recognized with a number of awards, including the Sloan Research Fellowship, NIH New Innovator Award and the NSF CAREER award. She is leading a $2.1 million multi-institutional team project funded by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy to create new clean energy processes. 

The 2023 Blavatnik National Awards received 267 nominations from 134 institutions in 38 U.S. states. Three independent juries, one each for each category, were composed of some of America’s most distinguished scientists. They selected three winning laureates and 28 finalists who will be honored at a ceremony on Sept. 19 at the American Museum of Natural History in New York. 

– Lori Brandt