Sam Chan 陳巧新

  • Fellowship in 2020 at Scripp's Research Institute
  • University of Oxford Croucher Scholarship in 2015 at University of Oxford

Sam obtained his BSc in Chemistry from the University of Hong Kong in 2015. His main research interest is in organic chemistry, particularly the total synthesis of natural products and development of synthetic methodologies. He worked under the supervision of Prof. Pauline Chiu on the development of (4+3) cycloadditions during his undergraduate years.

He then obtained his DPhil in Organic Chemistry under the supervision of Prof. Jonathan Burton at the University of Oxford in 2019, working on biomimetic natural product synthesis with an emphasis on the use of oxonium ion chemistry. He stayed in the Burton research group for a year afterwards to investigate the chemistry of hitherto unknown oxonium ions.

He is currently a postdoctoral research fellow with Prof. Jin-Quan Yu at Scripps Research, focusing on the discovery and development of novel chemical reactions through fundamental investigations in transition metal-catalyzed C–H activation processes.


1. Chan, H. S. S., Yang, J.-M. and Yu, J.-Q. Catalyst-controlled site-selective methylene C–H lactonization of dicarboxylic acids. Science. 2022, DOI: 10.1126/science.abq3048 [Link]

Highlighted by Chemical & Engineering News and Synfacts.

2. Hicks, H. B., Brown, D. S., Chan, H. S. S., Sousa, B. A., Christensen, K. E. and Burton, J. W. Total Synthesis and Structure Confirmation of (E) and (Z)-Ocellenyne. Org. Lett. 2022, ASAP [Link]

3. Lucas, E. L., Lam, N. Y. S., Zhuang, Z., Chan, H. S. S., Strassfeld, D. A. and Yu, J.-Q. Palladium-Catalyzed Enantioselective β-C(sp3)–H Activation Reactions of Aliphatic Acids: A Retrosynthetic Surrogate for Enolate Alkylation and Conjugate Addition. Acc. Chem. Res. 2022, 55, 4, 537-550. [Link]

4. Chan, H. S. S., Thompson, A. L., Christensen, K. E. and Burton, J. W. Forwards and backwards – synthesis of Laurencia natural products using a biomimetic and retrobiomimetic strategy incorporating structural reassignment of laurefurenynes C–F. Chem. Sci. 2020, 11, 11592-11600. [Link]

Highlighted by Organic Chemistry Portal.

5. Chan, H. S. S., Nguyen, Q. N. N., Paton, R. S. and Burton, J. W. Synthesis, Characterization, and Reactivity of Complex Tricyclic Oxonium Ions, Proposed Intermediates in Natural Product Biosynthesis. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2019, 141, 40, 15951-15962. [Link]

Highlighted by Science and Nature Reviews Chemistry.