“I am incredibly thrilled and humbled by this recognition. It would not have been possible without my creative and hardworking students and many mentors who supported me over the years.”

Professor Bao is recognized for her extensive and disruptive research in the field of conducting polymer molecular designs and their applications, as well as her outstanding advances in the development of artificial electronic skin and other bioelectronic devices.

Professor Bao presented her Disruptors Lecture during the ACS Central Science Disruptors & Innovators Prize Symposium, as part of C&EN's Futures Festival.

Following the Lecture, a lively discussion was held between a panel of speakers including Carolyn Bertozzi, E.W. "Bert" Meijer, Monica Olvera de la Cruz, and Richmond Sarpong.


Zhenan Bao is Department Chair and K.K. Lee Professor of Chemical Engineering, and by courtesy, a Professor of Chemistry and a Professor of Material Science and Engineering at Stanford University. Bao founded the Stanford Wearable Electronics Initiate (eWEAR) in 2016 and serves as the faculty director.

Prior to joining Stanford in 2004, she was a Distinguished Member of Technical Staff in Bell Labs, Lucent Technologies from 1995-2004. She received her Ph.D in Chemistry from the University of Chicago in 1995.  She has over 500 refereed publications and over 65 US patents with a Google Scholar H-Index >160.

Bao is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and the National Academy of Inventors. She is a Fellow of MRS, ACS, AAAS, SPIE, ACS PMSE and ACS POLY. 

Bao was selected as Nature’s Ten people who mattered in 2015 as a “Master of Materials” for her work on artificial electronic skin. She was awarded the Gibbs Medal by the Chicago session of ACS in 2020, University of Chicago Alumni Award by the Department of Chemistry in 2020, the Wilhelm Exner Medal by Austrian Federal Minister of Science 2018, ACS Award on Applied Polymer Science 2017, the L'Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science Award in the Physical Sciences 2017, the AICHE Andreas Acrivos Award for Professional Progress in Chemical Engineering in 2014, ACS Carl Marvel Creative Polymer Chemistry Award in 2013, ACS Cope Scholar Award in 2011, the Royal Society of Chemistry Beilby Medal and Prize in 2009, the IUPAC Creativity in Applied Polymer Science Prize in 2008.

Bao is a co-founder and on the Board of Directors for C3 Nano and PyrAmes, both are silicon-valley venture funded start-ups. She serves as an advising Partner for Fusion Venture Capital.

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