By Jill Pease
Yan Wang, Ph.D., an assistant professor in the department of epidemiology at the University of Florida College of Public Health and Health Professions, is a 2023 recipient of the university’s Excellence Award for Assistant Professors. The award is one of UF’s top honors for junior faculty.
Wang’s research has focused on leveraging cutting-edge technologies to improve the measurement and intervention of substance use as well as mental and physical health among vulnerable populations, including those living with HIV and older adults with chronic pain. She is considered an emerging leader in the fields of medical cannabis and alcohol biosensor research. She has received more than $7 million in research funding as the principal investigator or multiple principal investigator on studies funded by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism and the National Institute on Aging.
“Dr. Wang is among the very top assistant professors nationwide,” said Beth Virnig, Ph.D., M.P.H., dean of the UF College of Public Health and Health Professions. “It is simply not possible to receive awards of this magnitude as PI without proposing innovative and important science and without having a record that signals she has the skills and experience to manage very large and complex projects.”
Wang has published two book chapters and 45 peer-reviewed journal articles in top tier substance use and/or HIV-related journals. She has been selected to serve as an early-career reviewer for an NIH study section and was invited to serve on a National Science Foundation Small Business Innovation Research/Small Business Technology Transfer review panel for digital health. She is the associate director of the Southern HIV and Alcohol Research Consortium, or SHARC, and the assistant director of the clinical core within the Consortium for Medical Marijuana Clinical Outcomes Research, a statewide consortium providing infrastructure support for research on medical cannabis and its clinical outcomes.
Wang has chaired one dissertation committee and seven master’s theses and is currently serving on three dissertation committees (one as chair) and one master’s thesis. She is a mentor on an NIH-funded T32 translational science training program and she offers mentorship to undergraduate students, medical students and medical residents by providing opportunities for them to participate in her funded research. In 2022, she served as a mentor for Medi-Gators Virtual Shadowing Program, which delivers virtual mentoring lectures to hundreds of undergraduate students interested in medical or public health degrees.
Her service contributions also include acting as an associate editor for the Journal of Child and Family Studies for the past seven years and serving as an editorial board member for Annals of Epidemiology. She is a member of the awards committee for the Society for Epidemiologic Research and the communication committee for the International Society for Biomedical Research on Alcoholism.
The Excellence Award for Assistant Professors award comes with a one-time allocation of $5,000 in support of research. The award can be used to fund travel, equipment, books, graduate student stipends, and other research-related expenses.