The 2023 KINGFA Young Investigator Award winner is Dr. Yuanyuan Li, Assistant Professor in the Department of Fibre and Polymer, KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Sweden. She received her Ph.D. in 2014 from Nanjing Forestry University, under the supervision of Prof. Hongqi Dai. During her Ph.D. study, she visited the University of Maryland, USA under the supervision of Prof. Liangbing Hu. Prior to joining KTH as an Assistant Professor in 2020, she did her post-doctoral training also in KTH under the supervision of Prof. Lars Berglund and promoted to Researcher in the same institution. Dr Li is currently the Head of the Division of Biocomposites at KTH.
Yuanyuan’s main research focuses on wood nanoscience and nanotechnology development. The idea is cellulosic nanomaterials composites design, not by the common bottom-up approach exemplified by nanocellulose, but by eco-friendly top-down approaches starting with wood. The hierarchical structure and porosity as well as existing cellulose nanofibril orientation in wood are utilized. Dr Li creates nanostructured and mesoporous wood substrates by selective removal of lignin and hemicelluloses or redistribution of the chemical components in wood structure. The resulting polysaccharide substrates (delignified wood and integrated wood aerogel) are readily modified to create novel nanomaterials.