Professor Ning Yan received her BEng from Southeast University (China) in 1991 and her PhD degree in 1997 from the University of Toronto. Following employment with Pulp and Paper Research Institute of Canada (now FPInnovations), Trojan Technologies, and Xerox Corporation, she joined the University of Toronto in 2001 as an assistant professor in the Faculty of Forestry. She was promoted to the rank of full professor in 2012 and was awarded an endowed chair in Value Added Wood and Composite in 2014. Professor Yan joined the Department of Chemical Engineering and Applied Chemistry at the University of Toronto in July 2017.
Professor Yan is recognized internationally for her contributions to advancing our fundamental understanding of forest biomaterials and developing innovative technologies for utilizing renewable biomass feedstock to produce bio-based materials and chemicals. In particular, Professor Yan has gained international recognition as a leader in conducting fundamental research and development for converting tree bark, a low value residual material from forest operations, into novel value-added products, such as bio-based adhesives, resins, polyols, foams, and lignin-containing nanocellulose materials. Her research on developing bark biorefinery has been featured in a wide range of media outlets, including the NSERC Research News, Biomass Magazine, Research Matters-Council of Ontario Universities, AgAnnex, Canadian Institute of Forestry, Research2Reality.
Professor Yan has more than 110 refereed journal publications, 7 patent and patent applications, and 2 book chapters. She has delivered more than 85 invited talks and keynote speeches worldwide about her research work. Her research excellence is recognized by a number of prestigious awards, including the Ontario Early Researcher Award, Connaught Innovation Award, and NSERC Discovery Accelerator Supplements Award.
Professor Yan organized and co-chaired premier International Conference on Wood Adhesives (2013, 2017), and International Symposium on Bioplastics, Biocomposites, and Biorefining (2014, 2016) conference series. She has served as an evaluation panel member for international granting agencies, including Academy of Finland; EU Sixth Framework Programme; Romania Executive Agency for Higher Education, Research, Development and Innovation; and Maine Technology Asset Fund.
Professor Yan is an elected member of the Academic Board of the University of Toronto (2015-2018). She has served as a member of The Committee on Academic Policy and Programs (2015-2018) and the Planning and Budget Committee of the University of Toronto (2015-2016). Professor Yan is an Associate Director of the Pulp and Paper Centre (since 2004) and a founding member of the Centre for Bio-composites and Biomaterials Processing at the University of Toronto. In addition, she served as the Graduate Coordinator at the Faculty of Forestry from 2009 to 2012.