Christopher J. Chang

Bio Outline


  • Fellow
  • Bio-inspired Solar Energy


  • University of California Berkeley
Department of Chemistry and Molecular and Cell Biology


  • United States


PhD (Chemistry), Massachusetts Institute of Technology
BSc/MSc (Chemistry), California Institute of Technology


Christopher Chang is an inorganic chemist and chemical biologist who focuses on the study of metals for biological and energy applications.

He has a particular interest in neuroscience and solar-to- chemical conversion. Chang’s group has developed molecular imaging tools to enable identification of copper as a new
element for modulating neural circuitry, as well as an essential role for hydrogen peroxide to promote proper neural stem cell growth and neurogenesis. The discovery of copper as a bona fide cell signal offers a new paradigm for metals in biology, expanding the roles of redox transition metals beyond metabolism. Leading work in catalysis, conducted by Chang’s group, has shown that simple molecular mimics of complex enzymes and materials can be used to create new classes of catalysts for solar energy conversion that features cheap, earth-abundant elements and operates under environmentally friendly conditions. Chang is now pushing the boundaries of catalysis through an approach he calls
‘materials biology’ – integrating biocompatible nanomaterials and living cells to perform the sustainable solar synthesis of fuels, materials and pharmaceuticals.


Blavatnik Laureate in Chemistry, 2015

ACS Nobel Laureate Signature Award, 2013

RSC Award in Transition Metal Chemistry, 2012

ACS Eli Lilly Award in Biological Chemistry, 2012

Relevant Publications

Nichols, E.M., Gallagher, J.J., Liu, Chong,…Chang, C.J. (2015). Hybrid bioinorganic approach to solar-to- chemical conversion. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, 112(37), 11461–11466. DOI:
Lin, S., Diercks, C.S., Zhang, Y-B.,…Chang, C.J. (2015). Covalent organic frameworks comprising cobalt porphyrins for catalytic CO2 reduction in water. Science, 346(6253), 1208–1213. DOI: 10.1126/science.aac8343

Dodani, S.C. Firl, A., Chan, J.,…Chang.C.J. (2014). Copper is an endogenous modulator of neural circuit spontaneous activity. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, 111(46), 16280–16285. DOI:

Karunadasa, H.I., Montalvo, E., Sun, Y.,…Chang, C.J. (2012). A Molecular MoS2 Edge Site Mimic for Catalytic Hydrogen Generation. Science, 335(6069), 698–702. DOI: 10.1126/science.1215868
Dodani, S.C., Domaille, D.W., Nam, C.I.,…Chang, C.J. (2011). Calcium-dependent copper redistributions in neuronal cells revealed by a fluorescent copper sensor and X-ray fluorescence microscopy. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, 108(15), 5980–5985. DOI: