PhD 2008.9 – 2013.9
Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)
Advisor: Prof. Paula L. Diaconescu
B. S. 2004.9 – 2008.7
Yuanpei College, Peking University
Advisor: Prof. Yun-dong Wu
Assistant Professor (Tenure-Track) 2017.8 –
College of Chemistry and Molecular Engineering, Peking University
Postdoctoral Associate 2014.1 – 2017.8
Department of Chemistry, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Wenliang Huang was born in an engineer family in Shanghai, the east gate of China. After enjoying his childhood in the hometown without sustainable snow, he decided to move north to see the real snow in Yan Yuan where resides the top Chinese academic institute, Peking University. After taking courses of a variety of subjects, including chemistry, mathematics, physics, and economics, he was determined to devote his life in chemistry and joined the research group of Prof. Yun-dong Wu. At Prof. Wu’s group, he applied computational chemistry tools in studying the mechanism of organometallic reactions.
This experience ignited his interests in organometallic chemistry and encouraged him to apply for oversea PhD program and eventually join Prof. Paula L. Diaconescu’s lab at UCLA to study the reduction chemistry of rare earth metal complexes. While his initial attempt to synthesize the first scandium dinitrogen complex failed, he discovered the unprecedented reductive cleavage of C–H bond of benzene by rare earth metal complexes (a year later Prof. Evans at UC Irvine reported the first scandium dinitrogen complex in J. Am. Chem. Soc.). Inspired by this discovery, he led a systematic study of reduction chemistry of rare earth metal complexes and arenes, featuring (1) region-selective aromatic C–H bond activation; (2) aromatic 6C,10-electron biphenyl tetraanion; (3) the first scandium naphthalene complex; (4) white phosphorus activation by rare earth metal arene complexes. During his PhD, he obtained more than 150 molecular structures by X-ray crystallography and published 13 research articles and 4 reviews or perspectives as first author. He received multiple awards for his outstanding PhD research, including Inorganic Chemistry Dissertation Award and Dissertation Year Fellowship.
Toward the end of his PhD, he became interested in organic synthesis and dreamed to master both inorganic and organic synthesis. Therefore, he joined the research group of Prof. Stephen L. Buchwald, a renowned organic methodology master, at MIT. As a key member of the joint research program established by MIT, Harvard, and Samsung, he participated in the design of novel blue light-emitting OLEDs and led the synthesis team.
In August 2017, after studying abroad for nine years, he came back to his alma mater and joined the faculty of College of Chemistry and Molecular Engineering at Peking University. He established the research group of Coordination Chemistry of f-Elements (CCFE) in the State Key Laboratory of Rare Earth Materials Chemistry and Applications. His main research interests are coordination chemistry and organometallic chemistry of rare earth metals and actinides, rare earth metal–carbon binary compounds and their applications in materials science, and applications of rare earth metal complexes in bioimaging and medical imaging.