Skip to main content

Department of Chemistry


CHAN, Sunney I.

CHAN, Sunney I.
Distinguished Chair Professor for Research
Room B480, Chemistry Building
Fax: +886-2-3366-8671
Research Interest

  • Physical Biochemistry

  • Protein Folding and misfolding

  • Structure and Function of Membrane Proteins

  • Bioinorganic Chemistry and Biocatalysis

  • C1 Chemistry

  • Rational Design of Catalysts

Career and Service Experiences

  • B.S., 1957; Ph.D., 1960, University of California, Berkeley.

  • National Science Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow, 1960-1961, Harvard University.

  • Assistant Professor, 1961-1963, University of California, Riverside.

  • Assistant Professor, 1963-1964; Associate Professor, 1964-68; Professor, 1968-1992; George Grant Hoag Professor of Biophysical Chemistry, 1992-2001; Emeritus, 2002-, California Institute of Technology.

  • Honorary Professor, 1996-2022, Chinese University of Hong Kong.

  • Chair Distinguished Professor of Chemistry, 2007-2022; Distinguished Research Chair Professor, 2010-2022, National Taiwan University.

  • Honorary Chair Professor, 2012-14, National Ping Tung University of Education.

  • Chair Professor of Bioinorganic Chemistry, 2013-23, National Chung Hsing University.

  • Distinguished Research Fellow, 1997-2011; Distinguished Visiting Fellow, 2011-22, Institute of Chemistry, Academia Sinica.

  • Vice President, 1999-2003, Academia Sinica.

  • Director, National Research Program of Genomic Medicine, 2001-03, National Science Council, Republic of China.

  • Honorary Chair Professor of Chemical Engineering, 2016-2019, National Taiwan University of Science and Technology.

Honors and Awards

  • Fellow, American Physical Society, 1987.

  • Academician, Academia Sinica, 1988.

  • ASCIT Teaching Award, California Institute of Technology, 1991.

  • AAAS Fellow, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, 1992.

  • Wilson T. S. Wang Distinguished Professor, Chinese University of Hong Kong, 1993.

  • Richard M. Badger Teaching Prize, California Institute of Technology, 1994.

  • Doctor of Science honoris causea, Hong Kong Baptist University, 2003.

  • William C. Rose Award, American Society of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, 2004.

  • Fellow, Academy of Sciences for the Developing World, 2004.

  • Fellow, Biophysical Society USA, 2004.

  • CBNet Award in Biophysics, Biophysical Society, 2005.

  • Academic Achievement Award, The Chinese Chemical Society, 2007.

  • Fellow, American Academy of Arts and Sciences, 2010.

  • Fellow, International Academy of Physical Sciences, 2011.

  • Lifetime Achievement Award,  Taiwan Magnetic Resonance Society, 2016

  • Lifetime Achievement Award, Taiwan Society of Biological Inorganic Chemistry, 2018

  • TASCO Lifetime Award Achievement in Chemistry, 2018

  • Honorary Fellow,  Chemical Research Society of India, 2019

Research Content
Selected Publications

  1. Chang, Wei-hau*; Lin, H.-H.; Tsai, I-Kuen;Huang, Shih-Hsin; Chung, Szu-Chi; Tu, I-Ping; Yu, Steve S.-F.*; Chan, Sunney I.* “Copper centers in the cryo-EM structure of particulate methane monooxygenase reveal the catalytic machinery of methane oxidation” J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2021,

  2. Chan, Sunney I.*; Chuankhayan, Phimonphan; Nareddy, Pavan Kumar Reddy; Tsai, I-Kuen; Tsai, Yi-Fang; Chen, Kelvin H.-C.; Yu, Steve S.-F.; Chen, Chun-Jung*. “The Mechanism of pyrroloquinoline quinone-dependent hydride transfer chemistry from spectroscopic and high-resolution x-ray structural studies of the methanol dehydrogenase from Methylococcus capsulatus (Bath)” J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2021, 143 (9), 3359-3372. 

  3. Chen, Yu-Hsuan; Wu, Chang-Quan; Sung, Pei-Hua; Chan, Sunney I.*; Chen, Peter Ping-Yu*. “Turnover of a methane oxidation tricopper cluster catalyst: Implications for the mechanism of the particulate methane monooxygenase (pMMO)” ChemCatChem 2020, 12, 3088-3096.

  4. Chan, Sunney I.*; Yu, Steve S.-F.; Liu, Chih-Cheng; Mou, Chung-Yuan*. “Selective oxidation of light alkanes under mild conditions” Current Opinion in Green and Sustainable Chemistry 2020. 22, 39-46.

  5. Chan, Sunney I.; Yu, Steve S.-F. “Copper protein constructs for methane oxidation” Nature  Catalysis 2019, 2, 286-287.

  6. Chan, Sunney I.; Lee, Seung Jae. “The Biochemistry of Methane Monooxygenases” in Methanotrophs: Microbiology Fundamental and Biotechnological Applications (Microbiology Monographs (Series Ed.: Alexander Steinbüchel))”, (Editor: Eun Yeol Lee), Publisher: Springer Nature, Switzerland, AG. 2019, 32, 71-120.

  7. Lu, Yu-Jhang; Hung, Mu-Cheng; Chang, Brian T.-A.; Lee, Tsu-Lin; Lin, Zhi-Han; Tsai, I-Kuen; Chen, Yao-Sheng; Chang, Chin-Chuo; Tsai, Yi-Fang; Chen, Kelvin H.-C.; Chan, Sunney I.*; Yu, Steve S.-F.* “The PmoB subunit of the particulate methane monooxygenase (pMMO) in Methylococcus capsulatus (Bath): The CuI sponge and its function” J. Inorg. Biochem. 2019, 196, 110691.

  8. Yeh, Chen-Hao; Yu, Steve S.-F.; Chan, Sunney I., Jiang, Jyh-Chiang*. “Quantum chemical studies of methane oxidation to methanol on a biomimetic tricopper complex: Mechanistic insights” Chemistry Select 2018, 3. 5113-5122.

  9. Liu, Chih-Cheng; Janmanchi, Damodar; Wen, Da-Ren; Oung, Jung-Nan; Mou, Chung-Yuan; Yu, Steve S.-F.; Chan, Sunney I.* “Catalytic oxidation of light alkanes mediated at room temperature by a tricopper cluster complex immobilized in mesoporous silica nanoparticles” ACS Sustainable Chem. Eng. 2018, 5, 5431-5440.

  10. Thiyagarajan, Natarajan; Janmanchi, Damoda; Tsai, Yi-Fang; Wanna, Wondemagegn Hailemichael; Ramu, Ravirala; Chan, Sunney I.*; Zen, Jyh-Myng*; Yu, Steve S.-F.* “A carbon electrode functionalized by a tricopper cluster complex: Overcoming overpotential and production of hydrogen peroxide in the oxygen reduction reaction” Angew.Chem. Int. Ed. 2018, 57, 3612-3616.

  11. Wang, Vincent C.-C.; Maji, Suman; Chen, Peter P.-Y.; Lee, Hung Kay; Yu, Steve S.-F.; Chan, Sunney I.* “Alkane oxidation: Methane monooxygenases, related enzymes, and their biomimetics” Chem. Rev. 2017, 117, 8574−8621.

  12. Liu, Chih-Cheng; Mou, Chung-Yuan; Yu, Steve S.-F.; Chan, Sunney I.* “Heterogeneous formulation of the tricopper complex for efficient catalytic conversion of methane into methanol at ambient temperature and pressure” Energy & Environmental Science, 2016, 9, 1361−1374.

  13. Chan, Sunney I.*; Lu, Yu-Jhang; Nagababu, Penumaka; Maji, Suman; Hung, Mu-Cheng; Lee, Marianne, M.; Hsu, I-Jui; Minh, Pham Dinh; Lai, Jeff C.-H.; Ng, Kok Yoah; Ramalingam; Sridevi; Yu, Steve S.- F.; Chan, Michael K. “Efficient Oxidation of Methane to Methanol by Dioxygen Mediated by Tricopper    Clusters” Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2013, 52, 3731 –3735.

Update: 2023-08-01