Announcement of Winners for the

2021 CACA Young Investigator Awards and Student Excellence Awards


The Chinese American Chromatography Association (CACA) is pleased to announce the winners for one 2021 Young Investigation Award (YIA) and two Student Excellence Awards (SEA). These awards are awarded annually to outstanding scientists and students who have made exceptional contributions to the development of separation science and its applications.

Young Investigator Award (1) Sponsored by Advanced Materials Technology (

Dr. Zhenbin Zhang is the winner of the 2021 CACA Young Investigator Award.

Dr. Zhang is currently a Research Assistant Professor at the University of Notre Dame and holds a Ph.D. from the Dalian Institute of Chemical Physics. Dr. Zhang’s training has provided him with expertise in the fundamentals and applications of liquid chromatography, capillary zone electrophoresis (CZE), and mass spectrometry in areas of single-cell proteomics, micro-sample preparation, and CZE/MS analysis. His work has resulted in 46 publications (20 first author papers) in peer-reviewed journals, with 1654 citations in total and h-index of 21 (Data from Google Scholar). He owns four issued patents, two of which have been commercialized. He has presented at numerous national and international conferences and symposiums. He also serves as an active reviewer for many high impact journals, including Analytical Chemistry, Journal of Chromatography A, and Analytica Chimica Acta, etc.


Student Excellence Awards (2) sponsored by MAC-MOD Analytical (

Marcelino Varona Ortiz and Xiaojian Shao have been selected to be the winners of the 2021 CACA Student Excellence Awards.

Mr. Marcelino Varona Ortiz is a Ph.D. student under the direction of Professor Jared L. Anderson at Iowa State University (ISU). He obtained his B. Sc. at Concordia University, Nebraska, in 2016. His research focuses on developing bioanalytical and point-of-care technologies to extract DNA from complex biological samples. He has published sixteen papers, with six as the first author and three in Analytical Chemistry.

Mr. Xiaojian Shao is a Ph.D. student at the Hong Kong Baptist University, under the direction of Professor Zongwei Cai. He received his B. Sc. degree at Nankai University in 2013 and his M. Sc. degree at Tsinghua University in 2016. Xiaojian’s expertise focuses on applying LC and LC-MS to investigate RNA capping with NAD and CoA, and proteomics. He has nine publications, with five as the first author and two in Analytical Chemistry. Furthermore, Xiaojian has recently published an article as the first author in Nature Protocols.

Award Selection Process and Presentation

The selection process is based on research accomplishments/innovations, the number of publications and impacts, and the service record to the scientific community.  The CACA award committee is chaired by Dr. Perry Wang of the U.S. FDA, and consists of four other CACA board members: Dr. Michael Ye of Millipore Sigma/Supelco, Professor Yi He of the City University of New York, John Jay College, Dr. Tao Chen of Genentech, and Dr. Michael Dong of MWD Consulting. 

All three awards (plaques and cash awards, $1000 for YIA, and $500 for SEA) are supposed to be presented to the winners at the CACA dinner event at PittCon. However, due to the pandemic, the 2021 awards will be mailed to the awardees.   

CACA is a non-profit organization with a mission to promote networking and career development for its members. CACA hosts frequent webinars, workshops, symposia, and dinner networking events at Pittcon, HPLC, and EAS Conferences to provide forums for sharing technical information in separation sciences and the development of collaborative relationships.  Additional information is available at

Zhenbin Zhang  Dr. Zhenbin Zhang at the University of Notre Dame (YIA) 
 Emmi Zheng Mr. Marcelino Varona Ortiz at Iowa State University (SEA)
 Xiaojian Shao Mr. Xiaojian Shao at the Hong Kong Baptist University (SEA)