Suzhou High School graduate elected to US NAS

Jul 17, 2012


The United States National Academy of Sciences (NAS) on May 1 announced the election of 84 new members and 21 foreign associates from 15 countries in recognition of their distinguished and continuing achievements in original research.

Zhuang Xiaowei, a Chinese American biophysicist, was elected as a NAS member.

Xiaowei Zhuang at age 40 is already a full professor of Chemistry and Chemical Biology, and Physics, at Harvard University. She is a Howard Hughes Medical Institution investigator with a sheaf of scientific awards.

A US-based Science magazine commented that “new inductee Xiaowei Zhuang could be a poster child for the initiative of involving the truly outstanding young scientists.”
In 1987, Zhuang, 15, graduated from the preparation class for Gifted Young College of USTC (University of Science and Technology of China) in Suzhou High School.

At age 19, Zhuang graduated from USTC with a B.S. in Physics, and won a full scholarship for her to study at University of California, Berkeley, from which he graduated with a Ph.D. in Physics in 1997.

She was a Chodorow Postdoctoral Fellow, at Stanford University from 1997 to 2001. Since forming her own lab at Harvard, she has led a team of researchers to develop super resolution microscopy techniques, identify the entry mechanisms of individual virus particles into cells, and probe the nature of key nucleic acid-protein interactions using single-molecule techniques.

According to accounts from Zhuang’s former classmates in Suzhou High School, Zhuang Xiaowei was a diligent, smart, concentrated, and efficient student in high school, taking the first place in almost every exam.

The May 1 election brings the total number of active members of US NAS to 2,152 and the total number of foreign associates to 430. Zhuang is so far the youngest scientist from the Chinese mainland to be elected to US NAS.


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This series focuses on individuals who have lived in Suzhou, Jiangsu Province for a while and have a tale that’s worth telling. Age, gender, nationality and race are all unimportant in comparison with what adventures the subject has been up to, the experiences they can recount.

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This series focuses on individuals who have lived in Suzhou, Jiangsu Province for a while and have a tale that’s worth telling. Age, gender, nationality and race are all unimportant in comparison with what adventures the subject has been up to, the experiences they can recount.



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