Yang Hai, a UCLA post-doctoral fellow in chemical and biomolecular engineering, has received a prestigious three-year fellowship from the Life Sciences Research Foundation.

Hai, a member of Professor Yi Tang’s laboratory, is looking to understand how enzyme-powered catalysis – nature’s assembly line machinery that produces new chemical products – works at a fundamental level. Then, he will explore how to use that knowledge for protein engineering and applications in synthetic biology. In particular, Hai is looking at two classes of enzymes: polyketide synthases and nonribosomal peptide synthetases, both of which can produce natural compounds that could be useful for pharmaceutical products.

Hai received his Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania and his B.S. from Peking University in China. The fellowship includes an annual stipend of $52,000 plus $10,000 per year for research.

Main Image: Yang Hai, left, with Professor Yi Tang