Ying Bao , PhD

Associate Professor


I was born and raised in the "small" (population: 1.5 million) and beautiful city of Jinhua, located in the Zhejiang Province of China about 200 miles southwest of Shanghai.  Unlike in the U.S. educational system, in China we have to choose a track to focus on in high school (Science or Liberal Arts) and I chose Science because I was always curious to learn more about why things happen the way they do in nature.  During my undergraduate study at the Zhejiang Chinese Medical University, I worked as a research assistant in an Animal Study Center where I learned more about the complex process of drug development.  Later on, I also participated in a undergraduate research summer opportunity which really solidified my understanding of how much I love science. One year before graduation, I decided to pursue a chemistry doctoral degree in the United States. 

I really appreciate the educational opportunities I have had in the United States, where I earned my Ph.D. degree in Chemistry at the University of South Dakota in the Chaoyang Jiang Lab and participated in four years of post-doctoral training in the Norbert Scherer Lab at the University of Chicago.  At both USD and UChicago, I studied the manipulation and understanding of various types of nanomaterials with the objective of optimizing their functionality. 

I came to Western Washington University in 2017, excited to participate in the WWU Chemistry Department’s mix of strong academics and undergraduate-inclusive research atmosphere.  At Western, my teaching responsibilities include general chemistry, analytical chemistry, and various upper division courses. In addition, I continue to research functional nanomaterials in my lab with both undergraduate and Masters students, along with collaborators from elsewhere in the United States and China. 

I highly value the opportunity to mentor students, from both my classes and my research lab, and am passionate about helping students from all backgrounds succeed.  The wonderful colleagues and mentors that I have along the way have given me great support and taught me to be a scientist and I want to pass this on to others.  I believe in the values of grit, persistent effort, and a growth mindset for success which have allowed me to keep moving up when facing setbacks and self-doubt. I hope to attract students to my research group who believe similarly and are willing to put in the time that self-improvement takes.

Research Interests

The primary interests of our research group lie in syntheses and surface modifications of nanoparticles, assembly of nanostructures at surface and in composite materials with controlled physical, chemical, and biological properties, characterization of nanostructures with various microscopes and spectroscopes, and explorations of their potential applications in ultra-sensitive sensors, highly efficient separation technique, and energy related devices.

Students in our group will gain expertise in synthesis and assembly of nanomaterials and instruments for characterization.  In addition, they will also learn to better critical thinking and develop advanced problem-solving skills.

If you are an undergraduate or graduate student interested in joining the group, please contact us

Educational & Professional Experience

2013-2017 Postdoctoral Scholar, The University of Chicago

2009-2013 Ph.D., University of South Dakota

2004-2008 B. E., Zhejiang Chinese Medical University, China

Recent Publications

Google Scholar or Group Website