Chen group

陈以昀课题组

Text Box: State Key Laboratory of Bioorganic and Natural Products Chemistry
Shanghai Institute of Organic Chemistry
Chinese Academy of Sciences

research

Chen group

陈以昀课题组

Text Box: State Key Laboratory of Bioorganic and Natural Products Chemistry
Shanghai Institute of Organic Chemistry
Chinese Academy of Sciences

Professor Chen’s research group aims to develop novel biocompatible light-induced chemical methods to study biology with temporal and spatial  precision, including new light-induced reaction discovery and new optochemical biology tool development. We aim to develop new biocompatible reactions with the following desirable characters: stable substrates with fast reaction kinetics, versatile bond formations and cleavages, and external modulation with light.

Fig. 1 The strategy for biocompatible reaction development.

By discovering new visible-light-induced biomolecule-compatible reactions, we can achieve late-stage modification of biomolecules or complex small molecules, and further enable photo-manipulations in live cells and living organisms.

Fig. 2 The main research areas and accomplishments from Chen’s group.

 

(i) Biocompatibility of visible-light-induced reactions: We have developed the new dual cyclic iodine(III) / photoredox catalytic system for effective oxidative photocatalytic cycle with carboxylate and alcohol activation reactivity, and the new photo-reductive coupling reactions of carboxyl phthalimides, aldehydes, ketones, and imines, both of which photocatalytic systems are biomolecule-compatible. 

 

 

Fig. 3 The research accomplishments of visible-light-induced biomolecule-compatible reactions from Chen’s group.

(ii) New visible-light-induced inert chemical bond activations: We have demonstrated the first examples of visible-light-induced alkoxyl radical generation from alcohols or alcohol derivatives, which enables inert C(sp3)-H, C(sp3)-C(sp3), carbonyl-C(sp3), X-C(sp3)  bond functionalization. We also reported the first electron-donor-acceptor photocatalyst-free system with Hantzsch ester for alkoxyl and carboxyl radical generations.

 

Fig. 4 The research accomplishments of visible-light-induced inert bond activations from Chen’s group.

(iii) Biological applications of light-induced biocompatible reactions: To perturb with light employs both the energy and information character of light, which brings unique temporal and spatial precision. The optogenetic methods have been widely applied and accepted in biological community, which center on the photosensitive proteins. The complementary optochemical methods center on light-induced chemical reactions and may enable light modulation with molecular level precision. The Chen’s group has demonstrated photo-manipulation of bioactive molecules in live cells including neurons with photocatalysis approach. We are aiming to develop systemic light-responsive methods to modulate bioactive small molecule and biomacromolecule functions, which will enable new light-induced diagnostic and therapeutic applications.

 

Fig. 5 The research accomplishments of biological applications on visible-light-induced biocompatible reactions.

 

Students in Chen’s group are trained to solve problems in inter-disciplinary research, and are exposed to multi-disciplinary research environment including reaction discovery, organic synthesis, macromolecular chemistry, molecular biology, cell biology, and neuroscience.