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ISTC recognizes research innovations of Elizabeth Gaillard, Tao Xu

September 24, 2020

The Illinois Science and Technology Coalition (ISTC) is highlighting the innovative research work of NIU Professors Elizabeth Gaillard and Tao Xu, both faculty members in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry.

Gaillard and Xu are among a select group of scholars from Illinois institutions tapped for the ISTC’s 2020 Researchers to Know list.

The list provides “a more detailed look at some of the researchers that are driving innovation in the state—from those advancing new treatments in medicine, to those revolutionizing computing and shaping new technologies in the 21st century,” according to the ISTC.

“It’s great to see Beth Gaillard and Tao Xu recognized externally for the innovative research they conduct day in and day out, while often including student scientists in their work,” said Jerry Blazey, NIU’s vice president for research and innovation partnerships. “They provide terrific examples of how our NIU faculty are addressing complex, real-world challenges head-on with interdisciplinary, forward-thinking research.”

Elizabeth Gaillard

Gaillard, a Distinguished Research Professor, is advancing diagnosis and treatment of eye diseases, including age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and diabetic retinopathy. She has more than 80 publications and six patents on her work. To commercialize her research portfolio, she created Therome Innovation Partners and is engaging with the entrepreneurial community to build the company. Gaillard also was instrumental in the formation of the Molecular Analysis Core (MAC) Lab at NIU. The MAC Lab is a premier research resource sponsored by Shimadzu Scientific Instruments, offering analytical and instructional expertise in mass spectrometry.

Tao Xu 

Xu is a Presidential Research, Scholarship, and Artistry Professor at NIU. His research group is developing an electrocatalyst that converts carbon dioxide and water into fuel, a novel environmentally friendly material that converts sunlight to electricity and other innovations. His recent discoveries with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) in Colorado and Argonne National Laboratory were published earlier this year in Nature and Nature Energy, respectively. Professor Xu’s work also has attracted more than a million dollars in grant funds from agencies such as the U.S. Department of Energy and National Science Foundation.

The ISTC Researchers to Know list has been created for three consecutive years. Previous honorees from NIU include Geology Professor Reed Scherer (2019) Chemistry Professor Oliver Hofstetter (2018) and Physics Professor Zhili Xiao (2018).