Yuran grew up in a small town in Henan, China. She attended Tsinghua University in Beijing and graduated with a B.S. in Chemical Engineering in 2010. After briefly playing with microbes and fluidized bed reactors, she focused on the growth of ultralong carbon nanotubes in her undergraduate thesis and synthesized what were at the time the longest carbon nanotubes in the world.
In the fall of 2010, Yuran came to MIT to pursue her Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering. Concerned about sustainable development, Yuran joined the group of Prof. Yuriy Román-Leshkov and focused on catalytic strategies to transform biomass-derived molecules into useful chemicals and intermediates. She has developed different catalytic oxidation systems to convert biomass-derived oxygenates into mono- and di-carboxylic acids and esters.
After completing her Ph.D. in June 2016, Yuran moved across the street and joined the Green Group, hoping to sharpen her computation skills. Now she is working in a large interdisciplinary team to design and build automated systems for knowledge-based continuous organic synthesis. She is currently interested in reaction kinetics in liquid phase as well as separation process design and optimization.
Other than research, Yuran enjoys reading, hiking and travelling.