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Headshot of Professor Yong Cheng in a light blue button-up dress shirt. The background is blurred.
Under Assistant Professor Yong Cheng’s mentorship, students have received several prestigious undergraduate research fellowships. (Photo by Todd Johnson, OSU Agriculture)

Cheng receives OSU Excellence in Research Mentoring Award

Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Media Contact: Gail Ellis | Editorial Communications Coordinator | 405-744-9152 |

Dr. Yong Cheng, assistant professor in the Oklahoma State University Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, has received the 2024 OSU Excellence in Research Mentoring Award.

He was recognized at the OSU Undergraduate Research Symposium on April 16 in the Conoco-Phillips Alumni Center.

The annual honor celebrates faculty mentors for their success and impact in supervising undergraduate research students. Cheng was nominated for his breadth and depth of mentoring activities, individualized mentoring strategies for students, commitment to helping them achieve academic, career or personal growth, and modeling positive behavior.

In the past three years, nearly all of Cheng’s mentees have received research fellowships, including Goldwater, Niblack, Wentz, Purdie, McNair and Ferguson College of Agriculture undergraduate scholars.

“The joy of mentoring undergraduate students in the laboratory comes from the opportunity to make a positive impact on the next generation of scientists and researchers,” Cheng said. “Additionally, it contributes to the advancement of knowledge in my field. It’s a privilege to be part of their academic journey and witness their growth and success along the way.”

Cheng received a bachelor’s degree in biotechnology and a doctorate in microbiology from Huazhong Agricultural University in China. Cheng also completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Basel, Switzerland, and contributed to the development of anti-tuberculosis vaccines and diagnostic tools at the University of Notre Dame.

“Upon his arrival to OSU, Dr. Cheng immediately reached out to inquire about undergraduate research and how to get in contact with students interested in conducting a research project related to biochemistry and molecular biology, human health or disease,” said Karen Hickman, director of undergraduate research in the Ferguson College and director of the environmental science undergraduate program. “Since that time, he has served as a mentor for numerous students in various majors, and in all instances, they have learned so much through their experience with Dr. Cheng, his graduate students and post-docs. He is consistently one of the most prolific mentors for our undergrad research scholars in that he can effectively mentor multiple students at a time.”

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