Yafang Cheng

Yafang at the Summer Palace in Beijing, China


Employment:        Head of Minerva Research Group
                                Max Planck Institute for Chemistry 
Work address:       Hahn-Meitner-Weg 1
                                55128, Mainz, Germany 
Phone:                    +49-6131-305-7200



Research Interests

Aerosols are at the center of my research interests. I am developing and combining experimental methods and multi-scale modeling tools to elucidate the mechanisms of aerosol particle formation and transformation as well as the impact of aerosols on air quality, public health and climate change.


Over 140 peer-reviewed journal articles including 5 hot papers (top 0.1%), 10 highly-cited papers (top 1%) and several publications in interdisciplinary highlight magazines (5 in Science, 2 in Science Advances, 3 in PNAS, 2 in Nature Communications) with wide international press coverage (e.g., Bloomberg, Wired, Discovery News Channel, Chemistry World, Chemistry Views, Xinhua News, Science News and Tages-Anzeiger etc.); several book/book chapters (English/Chinese).

Our recent publication in Science (2021) was the first to explain quantitatively how “Face masks effectively limit the probability of SARS-CoV-2 transmission” at individual and population levels. It has been elected as “Science Breakthroughs of the Year 2021 in Physical Sciences” by the Falling Walls Foundation, and become a key reference for authorities, media, and the public discourse about COVID-19, which is reflected by an outstanding AltMetric Score (>8700) that keeps growing and is currently ranked as number 11 of over 70 thousand publications in Science and in the top 0.001% of 19 million research outputs worldwide (Dec 2021). 

Highly Cited Researcher (Web of Science & Clarivate, 2021)
World's top 2% most-cited scientists (Stanford University Analysis & Mendeley, 2020 & 2021)

Citation report Web of Science:             h-index = 42 & > 7500 citations      (Researcher ID)
Citation report Google scholar:              h-index = 52 & > 10900 citations    (Google Scholar)

Professional Career

Since 2014        Head of Minerva Independent Research Group, Max Planck Institute for Chemistry, Mainz, Germany
2021-2024         Guest Professor, University of Science and Technology of China (USTC), Hefei, China
2014-2017         Visiting Professor, Institute of Polar Environment, USTC, Hefei, China
2013-2014         Research group leader, Max Planck Institute for Chemistry, Mainz, Germany
2012-2013         Visiting Scientist, Max Planck Institute for Chemistry, Mainz, Germany
2011-2013         “100 Talent” Professor, Peking University, Beijing, China
2009-2011         Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Iowa, Iowa City, USA
2007-2009         Postdoctoral Scholar, Leibniz Institute for Tropospheric Research, Leipzig, Germany


2001-2007         Ph.D. in Environmental Sciences, Peking University, Beijing, China
1997-2001         B.Sc. in Environmental Sciences, Wuhan University, Wuhan, China

Awards and Honors

2021                   Highly Cited Researcher, Web of Science & Clarivate
2021                   Science Breakthroughs of the Year 2021 in Physical Sciences, Falling Walls Foundation
2020                   Atmospheric Science Ascent Award (mid-career), American Geophysics Union (AGU)
2020                   Schmauss Award, German Association for Aerosol Research (GAef)
2020-2021         World's top 2% most-cited scientists, Stanford University Analysis & Mendeley
2014                   Minerva Outstanding Female Scientist Award, Max Planck Society (MPG)
2014                   Top 10 publications, Integrated Land Ecosystem - Atmosphere Processes Study,
                            Global Research Project of Future Earth (iLEAPS)
2012                   Highest Impact Research Work of Chinese Scientists in 2011,
                            Chinese Academy of Science (CAS), in total 19 works from all disciplinary
2011                   "100 Talent" Award, Peking University
2004-2007         Daimler-Chrysler-Benz Fellowship, Peking University & Daimler-Chrysler-Benz Foundation
1998-2001         Bao-Gang Award (top 0.1%), Outstanding Student Awards (top 1%), Wuhan University

Research leadership

2019                   Steering Committee member of the Exploratory Round Table Conference
                            between the Max Planck Society (MPG) and the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS)
Since 2019        S/Y Eugen Seibold SP2 black carbon observation on shore and in open ocean
                            (instrument ~0.2M Euro + others) supported by Max Planck Society
2017-2019         PI, National Key R&D Program of China, No. 2017YFC0210104 (~3M Euro),
                            funded by MOST of China (similar to ERC Synergy Grant)
2017-2018         PI, project AEROCARB, No. ESA 4000120532 (~0.25M Euro),
                            funded by European Space Agency (ESA)
2016-2019         Unit head, MPIC-JNU Anthropocene Research Program funded by Jinan University (JNU)
2014-2021         PI, Minerva group research grant (~2.7M Euro), funded by Max Planck Society
2014-2018         PI, project NanoAero (AOT-100 ~0.2M Euro & nano-HTDMA ~0.1 M Euro),
                            funded by Großgeräteantrag of Max Planck Society
Since 2014        PI, project CARIBIC-SP2 (instrument ~0.2M Euro + annual cost ~50k Euro/yr + others),
                            supported by Max Planck Society
2013-2016        Co-PI (international partner), Key program No. 41330635 (~0.5M Euro), funded by NSFC
2011-2012        WP leader, WP3 of the MIX-ASIA initiative of multiple model inter-comparison in Asia 

Positions of trust and consulting

•    Senior editor of Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics (ACP) overseeing the subject area of aerosols
•    Co-editor of Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics (ACP)
•    Review for Science, PNAS, Nature Chemistry, Nature Geosciences, Nature Communications,
     Science Advances, Angewandte Chemie, AGU advances, ACP, JGR, GRL, ES&T and JPC etc.
•    Liaison for Atmosheric Sciences Division of European Geosciences Union (EGU)
•    Keynote/invited speaker, convener and chair of international conference and meetings (AGU, EGU, CTWF, ERTC etc.)
•    Project reviewer for ANR (Frech National Research Agency)
•    Examiner/opponent and reviewer for PhD and master thesis at JGU (Mainz, Germany), CEREA (Paris, France),
      Peking University (Beijing, China), Nanjing University (Nanjing, China), Tianjin University (Tianjin, China).
•    ETH-Medal reviewer for the ETH Zurich
•    Invited commentator on air pollution control by Ministry of Environment Protection of China

Supervision and teaching

•   Principal (co-)advisor of 20 postdocs & 17 PhD/exchange PhD students in my research group
    at the Max Planck Institute for Chemistry, Germany.
    Under my supervision, my students and postdocs have published first author papers at Science,
    Science Advances, PNAS, Nature Communications etc. Three of my postdocs became professors
    in top universities in China; one of my students got a permanent position as research scientist in
    European leading institution.
•   Lectures in atmospheric chemistry, advances in atmospheric sciences, synthetic research approach 
    combining observation and modeling, as well as scientific writing for graduate students at Peking
    University (Beijing), University of Science and Technology of China (Hefei), and Jinan University

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