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 opto-chemical methods to study biology.  Specifically, we are interested in developing new light-induced biocompatible chemical reactions to enable the dynamic  regulation of biomolecule function  with temporal and spatial precision.  The major research interests include new light-induced reaction discovery and new optochemical tool discovery.

 

(i) Discovery of new light-induced biocompatible chemical reactions: Light is an ideal approach to provide energy with biocompatibility to chemical reactions. The light-induced chemical reactions include direct photochemistry and indirect photocatalysis, and the latter includes oxidative quenching, reductive quenching, and energy transfer mechanisms (Fig.1). We have developed visible-light-induced biomolecule-compatible reaction systems including the oxidative hypervalent iodine(III) system, the reductive phthalimide system, as well as the alkoxyl radical system for inert chemical bond activations  (see Publications for details). We are aiming to develop new biocompatible reactions with the desirable characteristics in biological studies: stable substrates with fast reaction kinetics, diversified bond formations and cleavages, and external modulation.

 

Fig. 1

 

(ii) Development of metal-free photochemical reactions: The biocompatible reactions are developed step by step from simplicity to complexity, from small molecule and biomacromolecule system, and eventually to living cells and living organisms (Fig. 2). Starting from transition-metal-based biomolecule-compatible photocatalytic systems, we are aiming to develop new metal-free photocatalytic systems (including small molecule and biomacromolecule photocatalysts), as well as the photocatalyst-free reaction system, such as to be compatible with living cells and living organisms.

 

Fig. 2

 

(iii) Biological applications of light-induced biocompatible reactions: Light is the carrier of both energy and information. The observation with light has been widely used in biological applications, including microscope, fluorescent proteins, and superresolution microsope, which replies on the information output of light. In contrast,  the perturbation with light employs both the energy and information character of light, such that its temporal and spatial precision brings many unique biological applications. The optogenetic methods have been widely used and accepted in biological community, which center on the photosensitive proteins. The complimentary optochemical methods center on light-induced chemical reactions and will enable light modulation with molecular level precision. We are aiming to develop new light-responsive methods to modulate bioactive small molecule and biomacromolecule functions, which will enable new light-induced diagnostic and therapeutic applications.

 

Fig. 3

 

Students in the group will be trained to solve problems in inter-disciplinary research, and be exposed to multi-disciplinary research including reaction discovery, organic synthesis, macromolecular chemistry, molecular biology, and cell biology.