By Meranda Masse
Department Communications & Graduate Student (Cavagnero)
Prof. Xuhui Huang, who arrived in Madison over the summer, is the newest faculty member added to the Department. His group is primarily focused on Theoretical Chemistry and Molecular Biophysics, particularly looking at the interface of the two fields.
His group walks this line by elucidating conformational changes in biomolecules through the development of new methods based on statistical mechanics. He mentioned that this knowledge can help bridge the gap between experiments and molecular dynamics simulations.
His group has contributed to the field in many ways. A few examples are: the elucidation of functional conformational changes of RNA Polymerases, the elucidation of dynamics for molecular recognition and self-assembly, and the development of new Integral Equation Theories for Solvation.
Huang will not only bring a breadth of knowledge to the Department, but also enthusiasm for science and collaboration. He comes to the Department with more than 100 papers as an independent PI.
Huang prides himself on his mentorship style, and stated that he likes to train students to become effective independent researchers.
“I am excited to join the Department of Chemistry and Theoretical Chemistry Institute at UW–Madison, and honored to be appointed as the Hirschfelder Chair in Theoretical Chemistry,” Huang said. “I look forward to all the opportunities for collaborations and to working with a number of very talented scientists.”
He brought some students from Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) with him, and they are all very excited for the research opportunities that UW–Madison has to offer.
Huang earned a Ph.D. from Columbia University in 2006, followed by postdoctoral research at Stanford University with Prof. Michael Levitt and Vijay Pande. Huang then became an assistant professor at HKUST in 2010, and was promoted to full professor in 2019.
Huang has won many awards, the most recent be- ing the Pople Medal from the Asia-Pacific Association of Theoretical and Computational Chemists in 2021.