Yu "Frank" Yang, assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering, was recently awarded the Nevada Regents' Rising Researcher Award for 2019. He joined the University in 2013 and since then has developed a strong research program focused on the fate of carbon and emerging contaminants during redox reactions in soil and water.
"I am really flattered and honored by this recognition," Yang said. "It is definitely encouraging me to continue my efforts and aim high."
Along with its implications for soil management under climate change for agriculture, Yang's research also provides important information for preventing human exposure to engineered nano-materials through the food chain.
Yang's research has led to 67 publications published in top-tier journals in his area, and his work was featured on the cover of Environmental Science: Nano and Environmental Science: Processes and Impacts.
He has received national and international recognitions, including Emerging Investigator awards in 2017 and 2019 from the Royal Society of Chemistry, International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry Young Observer Fellowship in 2017, the National Institute of Food and Agriculture Fellowship in 2019, as well as outstanding associate editor for Journal of Environmental Quality for 2019.
"Dr. Yang developed the first method for quantification of carbonaceous nanomaterials in plant tissues, which can be broadly used," said Ahmad Itani, Foundation Professor and chair of the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department. "His outstanding research has greatly strengthened and extended the connections of the environmental engineering group with other programs, nationally and internationally."
Since joining the University, Yang has graduated three doctoral students and one master's student, and mentored three postdoctoral researchers, one visiting scholar, one visiting doctoral student, and several undergraduate and high school students. Under his supervision, his students have been awarded Department of Energy Graduate Student Research Fellowship, the American Chemical Society's Ellen Gonter award, and other recognitions. He is also an adjunct faculty member for the graduate programs of environmental science and health and hydrologic sciences.
According to the NSHE website, the Board of Regents established the Rising Researcher Award in 2008 and it is bestowed upon "one faculty member at each Nevada research institution in recognition of their early-career accomplishments and potential for future advancement and recognition in research."
"Frank's accomplishments during his time at the College of Engineering shows his dedication to the field of environmental engineering. His mentorship and unique research skills exemplify excellence and national competitiveness," said Manos Maragakis, dean of the College of Engineering.