Peng Chen

Professor and Chairman, Dept. of Chemical Biology


photoEmail: pengchen at

Phone: 86-10-6275577




Ph.D in Chemistry (2007) University of Chicago Chicago, USA


B.S. in Chemistry, Peking University Beijing, China


B.S. Double degree in Economics, Peking University Beijing, China



2022/01- present   Executive Editor, ACS Chemical Biology, American Chemical Society

2021/05- present   Director, Synthetic and Functional Biomolecules Center, Peking University

2020/01-present    Director, Division of Chemical Biology, Chinese Chemical Society

2019/03-2021/12   Associate Editor, ACS Chemical Biology, American Chemical Society

2018/01-present, Cheung Kong Professor, Ministry of Education, P.R.China

2016/01-present, Senior Investigator, Peking-Tsinghua Center for Life Science

2015/01-present, Chairman, Department of Chemical Biology, Peking University

2014/08-present, Professor, Department of Chemical Biology, Peking University

2011/05-2015/12, Investigator, Peking-Tsinghua Center for Life Sciences

2009/07-2014/07, Investigator, Department of Chemical Biology, College of Chemistry, Peking University

2007-2009, Postdoctoral Fellow, The Scripps Research Institute, Advisor: Prof. Peter G. Schultz

2002-2007, Research Assistant, The University of Chicago, Chicago. Advisor: Prof. Chuan He



2023   The Science and Technology Innovation Award, Ho Leung Ho Lee Foundation

2023   New Cornerstone Investigator

2020   National Award for Natural Sciences of China

2020   Fellow, Chinese Chemical Society

2019   XPLORER Prize

2019   C.C. Tan Life Science Award

2017    SBIC Early Career Award (Society of Biological Inorganic Chemistry)

2016    Tan Kah Kee Young Scientist Award

2016    Young Scientist Award, Ministry of Education (China)

2016    OKeanos-CAPA Young Investigator Award at the Chemistry and Biology Interface

2015    China Association for Instrumental Analysis (CAIA) Award

2015    The Chemical Society of Japan Distinguished Lectureship Award

2015    Young Science and Technology Innovation Talents (China)

2014    Roche Chinese Young Investigator Award

2014    (RSC) Chem Soc Rev Emerging Investigator Lectureship

2014    CAPA Biomatik Distinguished Faculty Award

2013    National Young Scientist Award (China)

2013    National Program for Special Support of Eminent Professionals (China)

2012    National Program for Special Support of Eminent Professionals (China)

2012    CCS (Chinese Chemical Society) Young Investigator Award

2011    WuXi PharmaTech Life Science and Chemistry Award

2011    Instructor award for the “Challenge Cup” undergraduate research competition at PKU

2007    Elizabeth R. Norton Prize for excellence in research in chemistry, The University of Chicago



Our group works at the Chemistry-Biology Interface. Current efforts are focused on developing and applying bioorthogonal cleavage chemistry to study protein functions and protein-protein interactions in living systems. We also exploit the therapeutic potential of these novel reactions. Research directions we are actively pursuing include:

• Bioorthogonal Chemistry

• Protein Engineering and proteomics

• Tumor-Immune Interactions



(1) Zhu Y, Ding W, Fan X, Lin S*, Chen P*Genetically encoded bioorthogonal tryptophan decaging in living cells”, Nat. Chem.(2023), under revision.

(2) Weng Y, Chen W, Kong Q, Wang R, Zeng R, He A, Liu Y, Mao Y, Qin Y, Ngai WSC, Zhang H, Wang J, Ke M, Tian R*, Chen P*. “DeKinomics pulse-chases kinase functions in living cells”, Nat. Chem. Biol. (2023), in press.

(3) Zhang X, Huang H, Liu Y, Wu Z, Wang F, Fan X, Chen P*, Wang J*, “Optical control of protein functions via genetically encoded photocaged aspartic acids”, J. Am. Chem. Soc. (2023),145, 19218-24.

(4)Qin F*, Li B, Wang H, Ma S, et al, Ji X*, Chen P*. Linking chromatin acylation mark-defined proteome and genome in living cells”, Cell, (2023)186, 1066-85. 

(5)Liu H, Luo H, Xue Q, Qin S, Qiu S, Liu S, Lin J, Li JP*. Chen, P*, “Antigen-specific T cell detection via photocatalytic proximity cell labeling (PhoXCELL)”. J. Am. Chem. Soc.    (2022), 144, 5517-26

(6) Liu S, Lin C, Xu Y, Luo H, Peng L, Zeng X, Zheng X, Chen P*, Zou P*. A far-red hybrid voltage indicator enabled by bioorthogonal engineering of rhodopsin on live neurons”, Nat. Chem. (2021) 13,472–9.

(7) Wang J, Liu Y, Liu YJ, Zheng S, Wang X, Zhao J, Yang F, Zhang G, Wang C*, Chen P*. Time-resolved protein activation by proximal decaging in living systems Nature, (2019), 569, 509-13

(8)Li J, Chen P*. Development and application of bond cleavage reactions in bioorthogonal chemistry. Nat. Chem. Biol. 2016, 12, 129-137.

(9) Wang J, Zheng S, Liu Y, Zhang Z, Lin Z, Li J, Zhang G, Wang X, Li J, Chen P*. Palladium-triggered Chemical Rescue of Intracellular Proteins via Genetically Encoded Allene-caged Tyrosine. J. Am. Chem. Soc.2016, 138, 15118-15121

(10) Zhang G, Li J, Xie R, Fan X, Liu Y, Zheng S, Ge Y, Chen P*. Bioorthogonal chemical activation of kinases in living systems, ACS Cent. Sci. 2016, 2, 325-331.

(11) Li J, Jia S, Chen P*. Diels-Alder reaction-triggered bioorthogonal protein activation in living cells, Nat. Chem. Biol. 2014, 10, 1003-1005.

(12) Li J, Yu J, Zhao J , Wang J, Zheng S, Lin S, Chen L, Yang M, Jia S, Zhang X, Chen P*. Palladium-triggered deprotection chemistry for protein activation in living cells, Nat. Chem. 2014, 6, 352-361.

(13) Hao Z, Lou H, Zhu R, Zhu J, Zhang D, Zhao B, Zeng S, Chen X, Chan J, He C*, Chen P*. The multiple antibiotic resistance regulator MarR is a copper sensor in Escherichia coli, Nat. Chem. Biol. 2014, 10, 21-28.

(14) Li J, Lin S, Wang J, Jia S, Yang M, Zhang X, Hao Z, Chen P*. Ligand-free palladium-mediated site-specific protein labeling inside Gram-negative bacterial pathogens, J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2013, 135, 7330-7338.

(15) Zhang M, Lin S, Song X, Liu J, Fu Y, Fu X, Chang Z*, and Chen, P*. A genetically incorporated crosslinker reveals chaperone cooperation in acid resistance, Nat. Chem. Biol, 2011, 7, 671-7.



(1) Jiang H, Chen Y, Chen P and Zhang L, “Chemical Biology Frontier and Perspective”. China Science Publishing (2013), ISBN: 978-7-03-037949-8

(2) Liu L, Chen P, Zhao J and He C “Principles of Chemical Biology”, China Science Publishing Group, (2010), ISBN: 978-7-03-028767-0.

(3) “The development Strategy of Chemical Biology in China”, China Science Publishing Group, (2015), Chapter 2 and 6.

(4) “China Medical Technology Report”, China Science Publishing Group, (2015), Chapter 3.

(5) Liu L, Chen P, Li Y, etc. “Chemical Biology Experiments”, USTC Press, (2015), ISBN: 978-7-312-03728-3.



• Fall 2013-present, “Chemical Biology Track”, Graduate Course, CLS, PKU.

• Fall 2009-present, “Introduction to Chemical Biology”, Graduate Course, PKU.

• Spring 2012-present, “Bioinorganic Chemistry”, Graduate Course, PKU

• Fall 2010-2014, “Today’s Chemistry”, Freshman Course, PKU.