The Publications Division of the American Chemical Society (ACS) has appointed University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign chemical and biomolecular engineering professor Huimin Zhao (CABBI/BSD/GSE/MMG Affiliate, CGD) as editor in chief of ACS Synthetic Biology. Zhao previously served as a founding associate editor of ACS Catalysis, a position he held from 2011–2022.
“Advances in synthetic biology are needed more than ever, as the world seeks solutions to improve human health, mitigate climate change and reduce environmental waste,” Zhao said. “I am excited to lead the world-renowned journal ACS Synthetic Biology, particularly as the field enters an exponential growth phase that has attracted numerous researchers, government funding, and private sector interest.”
At UIUC, Zhao is the Steven L. Miller Chair with additional affiliations with the Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology, Center for Biophysics and Quantitative Biology, and Biotechnology Center. He also holds appointments as the Qiushi visiting chair professor at Zhejiang University and is the director of the Molecule Maker Lab Institute, a National Science Foundation AI Institute for Molecular Discovery, Synthetic Strategy, and Manufacturing. Zhao’s research focuses on developing and applying synthetic biology approaches, with particular attention paid to directed evolution to engineer functionally improved or novel proteins, pathways, and genomes. Currently, his work is centered around drug discovery and development, mammalian synthetic biology, industrial biotechnology, and foundational tool development.
“Professor Zhao is a forward-looking scientist who has helped advance the field of synthetic biology globally,” says James Milne, president of the ACS Publications Division. “He brings a wealth of editorial experience to the role of editor in chief of ACS Synthetic Biology, a commitment to diversity, and a true passion to support synthetic biologists.”
ACS Synthetic Biology publishes content across the broad scope of synthetic biology, including design, synthesis, and engineering of genetic systems; protein and metabolic engineering; computation; and automation. The journal publishes research on cell-free systems, microbes, plants, mammals, and more.