Professor CHAN Michael Kenneth

(Office): Room 603B, Mong Man Wai Building
(Lab): Room 611, Mong Man Wai Building
People MC
(Office): (852) 3943 1487
(Lab): (852) 3943 6162
(852) 2603 5646 
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B.S. (Chemistry)  Harvey Mudd College, Claremont, CA
Ph.D. (Chemistry)  University of California, Berkeley, CA
Postdoctoral Fellow (Protein Crystallography)     California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA 


  • 1995-2001        Assistant Professor of Chemistry & Biochemistry, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH
  • 2001-2005        Associate Professor of Chemistry & Biochemistry, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH
  • 2005-2012        Professor of Chemistry/Biochemistry, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH
  • 2010-2012        Interim-Chair of Biochemistry, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH
  • 2012-2015        Director, School of Life Sciences, The Chinese University of Hong Kong
  • 2012- Present  Professor, School of Life Sciences, The Chinese University of Hong Kong

Research Interests

  • Chemical Biology -  We are working to capitalize on our discovery of pyrrolysine, the 22nd genetically-encoded amino acid, to engineer proteins with novel structures and properties.
  • Protein crystallography - We wish to use protein crystallography to elucidate the structure function relationships of proteins.
  • Protein Delivery -  We are exploring new technologies to deliver proteins to cells.

 Representative Publications

  1. Zhang, W.; Yang, Z.; Zheng, J.; Fu, K.; Wong, J.H.; Ni, Y.; Ng, T.B.; Cho, C.H.; Chan, M.K.; Lee, M.M. “A bioresponsive genetically encoded antimicrobial crystal for the oral treatment of Helicobacter pylori Infection”, Adv Sci, 2023, 10, 2301724. doi:10.1002/advs.202301724
  2. Tai, J.; Wang, L.; Chan, W.S.; Cheng, J.; Chan, Y.H.; Lee, M.M.; Chan; M.K. “Pyrrolysine-inspired in cellulo synthesis of an unnatural amino acid for facile macrocyclization of proteins”, J Am Chem Soc, 2023, 145, 18, 10249–10258. doi:10.1021/jacs.3c01291
  3. Li, J.; Kang, P.T.; Jiang, R.; Lee, J.Y.; Soares, J.A.; Krzycki, J.A.; Chan; M.K. “Insights from the structures of the pyrrolysine-containing trimethylaminemethyltransferase and its corrinoid protein complex”, Commun Biol, 2023, 16:54. doi:10.1038/s42003-022-04397-3
  4. Li, J.; Wang, L.; Kotaka, M.; Lee, M.M.; Chan; M.K. "Insights from the structure of an active form of Bacillus thuringiensis Cry5B", Toxins, 2022, 14(12), 823. doi:10.3390/toxins14120823
  5. Yang, Z.; Sun, J.K.; Lee, M.M.; Chan; M.K. “Restoration of p53 activity via intracellular protein delivery sensitizes triple negative breast cancer to anti-PD-1 immunotherapy” J ImmunoTher Cancer, 2022, 10:e005068. doi:10.1136/jitc-2022-005068
  6. Yang, Z.; Yang, M.; Chow, H.-M.; Tsang, S.Y.; Lee, M.M.; Chan; M.K. “Cytosolic delivery of CDK4/6 inhibitor p16 protein using engineered protein crystals for cancer therapy”, Acta Biomater. 2021, 135, 582-592.
  7. Yang, Z.; Lee, M.M.; Chan; M.K. “Efficient intracellular delivery of p53 protein by engineered protein crystals restores tumor suppressing function in vivo”, Biomaterials, 2021,271:120759. 
  8. Liang, Z.; Chan, H.Y.E.; Lee, M.M.; Chan, M.K. "A SUMO1-derived peptide targeting SUMO-interacting motif inhibits α-synuclein aggregation", Cell Chem Biol, 2021: 28, 180-90. doi: 10.1016/j.chembiol.2020.12.010.
  9. Heater, B.S.; Yang, Z.; Lee, M.M.; Chan, M.K.In vivo enzyme entrapment in a protein crystal”, J Am Chem Soc,2020, 142, 9879-9883. doi:10.1021/jacs.9b13462.
  10. Yang, Z.; Heater, B.S.; Cuddington, C.T.; Palmer, A.F.; Lee, M.M.M.; Chan, M.K. ”Targeted myoglobin delivery as a strategy for enhancing the sensitivity of hypoxic cancer cells to radiation”, iScience, 2020, 23, 101158. doi:10.1016/j.isci.2020.101158.
  11. Yang, Z.; Zheng, J.; Chan, C.-F.; Wong, I.L.K.; Heater, B.S.; Chow, L.M.C.; Lee, M.M.; Chan; M.K. “Targeted delivery of antimicrobial peptide by Cry protein crystal to treat intramacrophage infection”, Biomaterials, 2019,217:119286. doi:10.1016/j.biomaterials.2019.119286. 
  12. Heater, B.S.; Chan, W.S.; Lee, M.M.; Chan, M.K. “Directed evolution of a genetically-encoded immobilized lipase for the efficient production of biodiesel from waste cooking oil”, Biotechnol Biofuels, 2019, 12: 165. doi:10.1186/s13068-019-1509-5.
  13. Heater, B.S.; Lee, M.M.; Chan, M.K. “Direct production of a genetically-encoded immobilized biodiesel catalyst”, Sci Rep, 2018, 8:12783. doi:10.1038/s41598-018-31213-y.
  14. Nair, M.N.*, Lee, M.M.*, Bonnegarde-Bernard, A., Wallace, J.A., Dean, D.H., Ostrowski, M.C., Burry, R.W., Boyaka, P.N., Chan, M.K. "Cry protein crystals: a novel platform for protein delivery" PLoS One, 2015, 10, 1-16.
  15. Li, X.*; Fekner, T.*; Ottesen, J.J.; Chan, M.K., “A pyrrolysine analog for site-specific protein ubiquitination”, Angew. Chem., 2009, 48, 9184-7.
  16. Fekner, T.; Li, X.; Lee, M.M.; Chan, M.K., “A pyrrolysine analog for protein click chemistry” Angew. Chem., 2009, 48, 1633-5.
  17. Gong, W.*; Hao, B.*; Wei, Z.; Ferguson, D.J. Jr.; Tallant, T.; Krzycki, J.A.; Chan, M.K., “Structure of the CODH component of the M. barkeri ACDS complex” Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 2008, 105, 9558-63.
  18. Blight, S.K.; Larue, R.C., Mahapatra, A., Longstaff, D.G., Chang, E. Zhao, G., Kang, P., Green-Church, K.B., Chan, M.K., Krzycki, J.A., “Direct charging of tRNACUA with pyrrolysine in vitro and in vivo” Nature, 2004, 431, 333-5. (cited in Nature, C&E News)
  19. Hao, B., Gong, W., Ferguson, T.K., James, C.M., Krzycki, J.A., Chan, M.K., “Identification of novel UAG encoded residue: structure of a methanogen methyltransferase” Science, 2002, 296, 1462-1466. (cited in C&E NewsNature, Science, CNN Headline News, Reuters)
  20. Gong, W.* Hao, B., Mansy, S.S., Gonzalez, G. Gilles-Gonzalez, M.A., Chan, M.K., “Structure of a biological oxygen sensor: a new mechanism for heme-driven signal transduction” Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA, 1998, 95, 15177-15182.

Research Grants

  1. 2023-2024, Innovation and Technology Fund, “Pos3Aa platform-mediated Intracellular delivery of tumor suppressors to potentiate immunotherapy for immunologically cold tumors”
  2. 2022-2025, Health and Medical Research Fund (Co-I, PI: M.M. Lee), “Improving the therapeutic index of melittin to eradicate drug-resistant Acinetobacter baumannii
  3. 2022-2025, Research Grants Council GRF, “In vivo synthesis and site-specific incorporation of pyrrolysine analogs for the facile generation of cyclic peptides and modified proteins”
  4. 2022-2024, Research Grants Council GRF, “Engineered Cry3Aa crystals for improved antimicrobial peptide delivery against intramacrophage infections”
  5. 2021-2024, Health and Medical Research Fund (Co-I, PI: M.M. Lee), "Bioengineering arginine decarboxylase as a new therapeutic for cancer treatment”
  6. 2021-2023, Innovation and Technology Fund, “SUMO-derived peptide inhibitors for treating synucleinopathies”
  7. 2021-2023, Innovation and Technology Fund, (Co-I, PI: Y.P. Ho) “Development of a micro shear porator for loading red blood cells with therapeutic proteins”
  8. 2020-2022 Research Grants Council GRF, “Structural Studies of pyrrolysine-containing Methyltransferases”
  9. 2020-2021, Innovation and Technology Fund, “A versatile platform for generating recyclable catalysts for the production of biodiesel and commodity chemicals”
  10. 2019-2022, Research Grants Council GRF, “Genetically-encoded immobilized lipases for biofuel production”
  11. 2018-2021, Research Grants Council GRF, “Structural studies of nematicidal Cry proteins”
  12. 2017-2025, Research Grants Council AOE Grant (Co-PI, PI: Yang), “Chemical biology approach to molecular medicine”     
  13. 2017-2019, Research Grants Council GRF, "Immobilized lipases for biodiesel conversion"
  14. 2016-2018, Health and Medical Research Fund (Co-I, PI: M.M. Lee), "A novel anti-microbial crystal for the treatment of Helicobacter pylori infection"
  15. 2016-2019, Research Grants Council GRF, "Exploring the potential of myoglobin as an anti-cancer agent"
  16. 2015-2017, Health and Medical Research Fund, "Biological crystal subunit vaccines for mycobacterial diseases"
  17. 2015-2018, Research Grants Council GRF, “Studies of a copper peptide complex that can mediate methane oxidation”
  18. 2013-2015, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Grand Challenges Explorations: Round 10: “Novel dawadawa therapy for intestinal helminthic infections”
  19. 2012-2014, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Grand Challenges Explorations: Round 9: “A new system for dual bacterial/insecticidal crop protection”


Lando-SOHIO Fellowship, University of Minnesota (1984), Sigma Xi (1986), Phi-Lambda Upsilon (1986), Regents Fellowship, University of California (1986), Amoco Foundation Fellowship in Chemistry (1991), NIH Postdoctoral Fellowship (1992-1994), NSF Career Award (2000), Alfred P. Sloan Fellowship (2000), Member, NIH Study Section-BMT (2002-2006), Mr. and Mrs. Sun Chan Award in Organic Chemistry (2002), Visiting Scholar of the National Research Council of the Republic of China (2002), OSU College of Biological Sciences Award for Research and Graduate Education (2004), Visiting Scholar of the National Research Council of the Republic of China (2005, 2011), Japan Society for Promotion of Science Fellowship (2006), OSU Distinguished Scholar Award (2009), S. Y. Chung Visiting Fellow of New Asia College, CUHK (2010), Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (2011), Cynthia Anne Chan Memorial Lecturer, UC Berkeley (2011), RGC Physical Science Panel (2011, Chair 2012).


We currently have openings for a postdoc having a degree from either a Hong Kong or Top 100 University. Those interested should contact us 3 months before the target start date.

We are also currently recruiting highly motivated graduate students with prior publications and/or exceptional academic records who are competitive for the Hong Kong Postgraduate fellowship Scheme. Please contact us by Nov 1 for consideration.