James Liao, professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering, was one of nine individuals honored at the White House recently as Champions of Change for advancing new ideas that are leading the way to a clean energy future and an economy that’s built to last.

“Supporting homegrown sources of renewable energy is a key part of the President’s all-of-the-above energy strategy to create jobs, reduce our dependence on foreign oil, and strengthen national security,” said Nancy Sutley, Chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality. “The leaders we’ve selected as Champions of Change are helping to grow our economy, reduce pollution in our communities, and position America as a world leader in clean energy.”

The Champions of Change program was created as a part of President Obama’s Winning the Future initiative. Each week, a different sector is highlighted and groups of Champions, ranging from educators to entrepreneurs to community leaders, are recognized for the work they are doing to serve and strengthen their communities.

The ceremony and panel discussions were live streamed to the public on Thursday, April 19th.

James Liao is the Ralph M. Parsons Foundations Chair in Chemical Engineering at UCLA. As a leading expert in Metabolic Engineering and Synthetic Biology, Liao has developed several microbial technologies for production of fuel and chemicals. Most recently, he and his team have created an integrated process for converting electricity and carbon dioxide to a gasoline substitute. He was also a recipient of the 2010 Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Award.