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NanoEngineering Department at UC San Diego Receives $2.1M Gift from the Aiiso Yufeng Li Family

A photo of a group of people celebrating the gift to the Department of NanoEngineering at the UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering. Left to right, these people are: Ping Liu, nanoengineering professor and director of the UC San Diego Sustainable Power and Energy Center (SPEC); Ji Song, nanoengineering department business officer; Aiiso Yufeng Li (Jeff), Founder and Chief Strategy Officer (CSO) of CorDx, a global biotech company and leader in the manufacturing of in vitro diagnostics; Liangfang Zhang, professor and chair of the nanoengineering department at the UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering; and Doreen Guo, a member of the CorDx family and wife of Aiiso Yufeng Li (Jeff) .
Celebrating the gift to the Department of NanoEngineering at the UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering are (left to right): Ping Liu, nanoengineering professor and director of the UC San Diego Sustainable Power and Energy Center (SPEC); Ji Song, nanoengineering department business officer; Aiiso Yufeng Li (Jeff), Founder and Chief Strategy Officer (CSO) of CorDx, a global biotech company and leader in the manufacturing of in vitro diagnostics; Liangfang Zhang, professor and chair of the nanoengineering department at the UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering; and Doreen Guo, part of the CorDx family and wife of Aiiso Yufeng Li (Jeff).

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Nanoengineer, entrepreneur and philanthropist Aiiso Yufeng Li (Jeff), together with his family, have pledged a $2.1 million gift to the University of California San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering. The gift will support research, education and student activities in the Department of NanoEngineering at the UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering.

This department is unique in that it is home to world-renowned research teams in both chemical engineering and nanoengineering. It is also home to undergraduate, masters and PhD programs in chemical engineering and nanoengineering. The new gift will support efforts to create and strengthen research and educational bridges between chemical engineering and nanoengineering within the department. 

“I am inspired by the way chemical engineering and nanoengineering are linked at the UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering. These two majors are extremely complementary, but their connections are too often overlooked. I believe many important breakthroughs in novel products, and their manufacturing, will emerge from efforts to combine chemical engineering fundamentals with innovations and new technologies enabled by nanoscale engineering,” said Aiiso Yufeng Li (Jeff). “My family – including my wife Doreen Guo, my business partners Mr. Mac Chen, Ms. Haixia Yang, Ms. Monica Hu, Shuang (Jack) Hou, Xiaoyan Vicky Huang and others – and I are pleased to accelerate the vision of enhancing the connection between chemical engineering and nanoengineering research and education at the UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering.” 

A nanoengineer, an entrepreneur and a philanthropist, Aiiso Yufeng Li (Jeff) is founder and chief strategy officer of CorDx, which is a global biotech company and leader in the manufacturing of in vitro diagnostics. CorDx is transforming the global diagnostics industry with innovative research and development, a vertically integrated supply chain, and manufacturing footprints in the United States and around the world. With this generous gift, Li, his wife Doreen Guo, and the broader CorDx family have established the Aiiso Yufeng Li Family Fund at the UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering. 

A Unique and Powerful Vision 

At UC San Diego, existing bridges between chemical engineering and nanoengineering have empowered research teams to make important advances in healthcare and sustainable energy by combining discoveries and technologies driven by nanoscale science and engineering with fabrication and production-oriented expertise from chemical engineering. This approach also creates exciting and valuable experiences for students in the department. 

“We are extremely grateful for the generous support from Jeff, Doreen, Mac, and the entire CorDx family,” said Liangfang Zhang, professor and chair of the Department of  NanoEngineering at the UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering. “I am also personally grateful to Jeff for our conversations around creating value to society through philanthropy. This new gift will allow us to continue the important work of removing boundaries between chemical engineering and nanoengineering in our department. We have a clear plan for how to strengthen our unique department and inspire others to deepen connections between chemical engineering and nanoengineering. This gift represents a critical step toward realizing this vision.”

Chemical Engineering and Nanoengineering

Chemical engineering provides research and industrial communities with strong foundations in fabrication, production and manufacturing. Meanwhile, nanoengineering is constantly opening up new research opportunities through efforts to build, grow and modify materials at the nanoscale. 

Even across UC San Diego, which is well-recognized for interdisciplinary research, the Department of NanoEngineering stands out in terms of the quantity and quality of discoveries that have been translated into real-world solutions. 

“It is not a fluke that we have so many instances in which significant discoveries turn into high impact papers and then into companies,” said Zhang, the department chair. “This is because of the great intellectual culture in our department in which we are making important discoveries in nanoscale engineering and at the same time, we have strong foundations in the principles of chemical engineering which are necessary for scaling up ideas into solutions and products that can be used by others.” 

Research teams grounded in both chemical engineering and nanoengineering, for example, have the outlook and the expertise needed to combine advances in biology, chemistry, materials, and nanoscale and macroscale engineering. This toolkit enables teams to invent platform technologies and translate them for use in different areas. 

“I am humbled and grateful that Jeff and his family share our vision for the importance of fully linking chemical engineering and nanoengineering. Great engineering schools lead by example, and we are hard at work to demonstrate that the foundation of tomorrow’s manufacturing economy relies on connections between production-oriented chemical engineering and exciting innovations at the nanoscale,” said Albert P. Pisano, Dean of the UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering and Special Adviser to the Chancellor. “I also truly and profoundly appreciate Jeff and his CorDx team's continued support for the UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering.”

CorDx Yufeng Li Collaboratory

Through his company CorDx, Aiiso Yufeng Li (Jeff) and Dongdong Guo (Doreen) recently pledged a $3 million naming gift to support research, education and collaborations in the UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering’s Sustainable Power and Energy Center (SPEC). In recognition of Li's generous gift, UC San Diego has named SPEC’s large research laboratory in Franklin Antonio Hall, within the Jacobs School of Engineering, as the CorDx Yufeng Li Collaboratory. SPEC is an integral part of the Jacobs School’s NanoEngineering Department. The Center serves as an interdisciplinary hub for advancing battery, solar cell and other sustainable energy technologies through a mix of fundamental research and applied-research projects in collaboration with industry partners. 

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