Yongsheng Leng earned his PhD at Tsinghua University in 1999. He was a postdoctoral research associate at University of Washington in Seattle with Shaoyi Jiang (chemical engineering) between 1999 and 2001, and a senior research associate with Peter T. Cummings at Vanderbilt University (chemical engineering) between 2002 and 2005. He later became a research faculty at the assistant professor level in the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at Vanderbilt University (from 2006 – 2008). He moved to The George Washington University in the fall 2008, beginning his tenue-track faculty career as an assistant professor in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering. In 2017, he was promoted to a full professor in the department. Dr. Leng was the recipient of the National Science Foundation CAREER award (2012) and the GW SEAS outstanding junior faculty research award for his contributions to the fundamental understanding of friction behavior of liquid films under confinement. He also received the university writing in the disciplines (WID) distinguished teaching award in 2014. Through theory and computer simulations, his research has been evolving from mechanics of materials and structures, contact mechanics and tribology, to more fundamental questions in the field of surface and interfacial science, including liquid structure and dynamics under nanometers confinements, hydration force and hydrophobic interactions in aqueous system, fundamental understanding of single molecule force spectroscopy and molecular transport phenomena, membrane separation and fouling mechanisms in aqueous solutions, 2D semiconductor materials structure and properties in molecular electronics devices and energy harvesting systems, and CO2 geological fluids in clay minerals for mitigating the climate changes.
Dr. Leng teaches undergraduate materials science and engineering, mechanics of materials lab, and graduate computational nanoscience courses. Since coming to GW in 2008, he has been successfully secured multiple research grants from the National Science Foundation (NSF), including his Career award and recent CDS&E grant to develop computational tools for nonequilibrium molecular dynamics simulations of slow driven systems. He also received three grants from the American Chemical Society (ACS) petroleum research fund (PRF) to support his computational simulation studies of CO2-hydrocarbon fluids in clay minerals to mitigate the global climate change.