Professor Honored for DNA Chip Research

Xiaolian Gao Recognized by Association for Women in Computing

Xiaolian Gao, University of Houston biology and biochemistry professor and adjunct professor in chemistry and biomedical engineering, has been named one of Houston's top women in technology by the Houston chapter of the Association for Women in Computing (AWC).

One of 24 honorees, Gao will receive her AWC-Houston Leadership in Technology Award during the annual gala June 10 at the Inter-Continental Houston Hotel. Dedicated to the advancement of women in technology fields, the AWC, founded in 1978, is a national non-profit professional organization for women and men interested in information technology.

Gao was selected based on her leadership roles in Houston's technology and computing arenas, as well as her significant career accomplishments. Representing an array of leaders in Houston, the 2006 recipients are all positive role models for women.

Gao has collaborated with researchers at Harvard University and the University of Michigan to synthesize long molecules of DNA. Their findings on how to mass produce multiple genes on a single DNA chip were published in the science journal Nature.

Their breakthrough has the potential for developing and producing safer, less toxic proteins than those currently used in disease treatment and could also allow for production of large molecules that do not occur naturally, but that are needed for new generations of vaccines for HIV and other viral diseases.

Last year Suncica Canic, a mathematics professor, brought home this honor for UH.

Gao received her PhD in chemistry in 1986 from Rutgers University, New Brunswick. She then became a post-doctoral fellow and Associate Research Scientist in Biochemistry and Biophysics at Columbia University. In 1990, she became a Senior Research Scientist and Research Investigator in Structural Biology at Glaxo Inc. Research Laboratories. Gao joined the Universtiy of Houston in 1992.