Professor Sunney I. Chan is presently George Grant Hoag Professor of Biophysical Chemistry, Emeritus at the California Institute of Technology. Following his early retirement from Caltech, Professor Chan moved to Academia Sinica, Taiwan, where he has served as the Director of the Institute of Chemistry and Vice President of Research. He has a history of contributing to the growth of science in Asia, especially in Hong Kong. He has served as an advisor to both CUHK and PolyU, as well as on multiple committees in Hong Kong including the Croucher Foundation.

His wife, Irene Chan, grew up in Hong Kong where she developed a fascination with chemistry. As a secondary student, she had her own laboratory on the roof where she made various compounds including rocket fuel. Had it not been for biology – the birth of her son, she very likely would have become a chemist. Instead, she switched to work with computers, and had a long career as a Systems Analyst at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California.

The Sunney Chan Lecture in Chemical Biology has been in place at Academia Sinica since 2003. This lecture was created by President Yuan T. Lee to honor Sunney for his more than 15 years of dedicated service to Academia Sinica and to the scientific community in Taiwan. Every year this event brings to Academia Sinica and the Taiwan community an eminent scientist who best exemplifies Sunney's enthusiasm as a scientist, teacher and mentor, and his devotion to public service. Please click here to find out more on the previous Sunney Chan lecturers.








Professor Sunney Chan is a George Grant Hoag Professor of Biophysical Chemistry, Emeritus at the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, USA and Chair Distinguished Research Fellow at Academia Sinica, Taipei.

Sunney obtained his Ph.D. degree in physical chemistry at UC Berkeley in 1960. He then spent one year postdoctoral research in physics at Harvard University. Sunney taught at UC Riverside before joining the faculty at Caltech in 1963. He became Associate Professor of Chemical Physics in 1964; Professor of Chemical Physics (1968-76); Professor of Chemical Physics and Biophysical Chemistry (1976-92); and George Grant Hoag Professor of Biophysical Chemistry (1992-2001). He also served as Executive Officer for Chemistry in the Division of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering (1977-80; 1989-1994), and Chairman of the Faculty at Caltech (1987-1989). In 1997, Chan moved to Academia Sinica, where he served as Distinguished Research Fellow (1997-2006), Director of the Institute of Chemistry (1997-1999; 2004-2005), Vice President of Academia Sinica (1999-2003), and Director of the National Research Program for Genomic Medicine (2001-2003).

Over the years, Chan has also been Visiting Professor at Oxford University, UC Berkeley, Stanford University and The Chinese University of Hong Kong; Adjunct Professor at the National Taiwan University, National Tsing-Hua University and the National Cheng-Kung University in Taiwan; as well as Adjunct Professor at the Hong Kong Baptist University. Sunney has been a world leading scientist and received numerous honors in recognition of his cutting-edge scientific contributions, including the Louis Pasteur Medal from the Université Pasteur in Strasbourg (2003); the William C. Rose Award from the American Society of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (2004); election to the Academia Sinica (1986) and TWAS (Academy of Sciences for the Developing World) (2004)