Dr. Huang is a distinguished virologist, able administrator, and life-long advocate for diversity in the scientific work force. Her research contributions are recognized by the Eli Lilly Award in Immunology and Microbiology (1977) from the American Society for Microbiology (ASM). Her extensive, pioneering work on the structure, replication, and regulation of vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV) introduced VSV as a model experimental system. Her discovery and first purification of defective interfering viral particles presents a new way of understanding disease and a possible tool for ameliorating viral virulence. Her demonstration of phenotypic mixing between DNA and RNA viruses suggests possible extension of host range during mixed infections and, also, provides a laboratory technique now widely used for targeting viruses and their genetic contents to specific cells. Her finding of an RNA-dependent RNA polymerase in VSV and Newcastle Disease Virus led to the grouping of Negative Strand Viruses.
As an administrator, Dr. Huang was instrumental by her vision and support for what is now known as "silicon alley" in NY city. She had national responsibility as the elected President of both the ASM and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. She also dedicated 18 years consulting in Singapore to shepherd the nascent Institute of Molecular Cell Biology into a flagship center in what is now known as the Biopolis. She continues to consult with research institutions and governments, sharing her expertise among countries of the Pacific Rim and elsewhere.
Her advocacy for diversity, communicated in her writings and lectures, first surfaced in a survey of microbiologists in 1974. Her promotion of women and minorities in science is so that they can fully contribute to the scientific enterprise. She is a prominent model for later generations of scientists with her leadership in research, administration, and advocacy.