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Christopher J. Chang Inorganic chemist, chemical biologist

Christopher Chang focuses on the study of metals for biological and energy applications, with particular interest in neuroscience and solar-to-chemical conversion. His 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 bonafide cell signal offers a new paradigm for metals in biology, expanding the roles of redox transition metals beyond metabolism. His group’s leading work in catalysis 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 feature cheap, earth-abundant elements and operate under environmentally friendly conditions. Chang is now pushing the boundaries of catalysis through an approach he terms “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

E. M. Nichols, et al., "Hybrid bioinorganic approach to solar-to-chemical conversion," * Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA, 112, pp. 11461-11466, 2015

S. Lin, et al., "Covalent organic frameworks comprising cobalt porphyrins for catalytic CO2 reduction in water", Lin, S.; Diercks, C. S.; Zhang, Y.-B.; Kornienko, N.; Nichols, E. M.; Zhao, Y.; Paris, A. R.; Kim, D.; Yang, P.; Yaghi, O. M.; Chang, C. J.* Science 2015, 346, 1208-1213.

S. C. Dodani, et al., "Copper is an endogenous modulator of neural circuit spontaneous activity," * Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 111, pp. 16280-16285, 2014

H. I. Karunadasa, et al., "A Molecular MoS2 Edge Site Mimic for Catalytic Hydrogen Generation," * Science 335, pp. 698-702, 2012.

S.C. Dodani, et al., “Calcium-dependent copper redistributions in neuronal cells revealed by a fluorescent copper sensor and X-ray fluorescence microscopy”, * Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 108, pp. 5980-5985, 2011.



Senior Fellow Bio-inspired Solar Energy


University of California, BerkeleyChemistry and Molecular and Cell Biology


PhD (Chemistry) Massachusetts Institute of Technology

BSc/MSc (Chemistry) California Institute of Technology


United States

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