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Christopher J. Chang


  • Fellow
  • Bio-inspired Solar Energy




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.


  • Sackler Prize in Chemistry, 2019
  • Jeremy Knowles Award, Royal Society of Chemistry, 2018
  • Member, American Academy of Arts and Sciences, 2017
  • Fellow, Royal Society of Chemistry, 2015
  • Blavatnik Laureate in Chemistry, 2015

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:

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