Adjunct Assistant Professor TAN Yen Nee

B. Eng. (Chem.), National University of Singapore (NUS), 2004; M.Sc. and Ph.D. (Molecular Engineering of the Chemical and Biological Systems), Singapore-MIT Alliance, NUS, 2008

Contact Information

Department of Chemistry, NUS 
3 Science Drive 3 
Singapore 117543 


Institute of Material Research and Engineering
3 Research Link
Singapore 117602 

Tel: (65)-6874-7091
Fax: (65)-6872-7744

Research Interests

  • Chemical/Biological/Biomimetic Synthesis of Metal Nanoparticles
    Noble metal (e.g., Au, Ag, Pt, etc.) nanoparticles have unique shape- and size-dependent chemical and physical properties that make them suitable for applications in catalysis, optoelectronic, energy, etc. However, most of the synthesis methods in controlling particle morphology requires the use of harsh chemicals/solvent (e.g., toluene) and may limit the use of metal NPs in biomedical applications. We are interested in synthesizing biocompatible metal NPs using peptides as the reducing and stabilizing agents. Through the selection of appropriate amino acid composition and sequences for the peptide design, we are able to control the morphology of the metal NPs formed in aqueous solution. The optical and structural properties of the metal NPs are characterized by TEM, XRD, DLS, UV-vis spectroscopy etc.

    Biointerface and Surface Functionalization of Metal Nanoparticles
    Metal NPs have unprecedented interactions with biomolecules on both the surface of and inside the cells.
    In order to interact with specific biological target, metal NPs need to be modified with relevant biological tags to make these nanoparticles “functional” for certain applications such as targeted drug delivery. Our research in biointerface focus on 1) bioconjugation of metal nanoparticles with a variety of biomolecules such as peptide, aptamer, transcription factor, antibody, etc. with retained bioactivity and 2) studying biomolecular interactions, e.g., DNA/PNA-DNA, antibody-antigen, and enzymatic reaction using SPR spectroscopy and quartz crystal microbalance.

    Metal Nanoparticles-Based Technology for Biomedical Applications

    Our research is currently directed towards the development of multifunctional metal nanoparticles and their hybrid materials (e.g., Fe3O2-AuNPs) for applications in:

    a.     Diagnostics - colorimetric/fluorescent probes for biosensing and bioimaging


    b.     Therapeutics - drug delivery carrier with therapeutic function

    c.     Drug discovery- nanoplatform to identify molecular target/signaling pathway

Representative Publications

  • Tan, Y. N.; Su, X.; Zhu, Y.; Lee, J. Y. “Sensing of Transcription Factor through Controlled-Assembly of Metal Nanoparticles Modified with Segmented DNA Elements.” ACS Nano 2010, 4, 5101–5110.
  • Tan, Y. N.; Lee, J. Y.; Wang, Daniel. I. C. “Uncovering the Design Rules for Peptide Synthesis of Metal Nanoparticles.” J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2010, 132, 5677-5686.
  • Tan, Y. N.; Su, X.; Liu, Edison T.; Thomsen, J. S. “Gold-Nanoparticle-Based Assay for Instantaneous Detection of Nuclear Hormone Receptor−Response Elements Interactions.” Anal. Chem. 2010, 82, 2759-2765.
  • Xie, J.; Tan, Y. N.; Lee, J. Y. “Biological and Biomimetic Syntheses of Metal Nanomaterials.” in Bio-mimetic and Bio-inspired Nanomaterials for Life Sciences (Invited Book Chapter) ed. Challa Kumar. Nanomaterials for Life Sciences. Weinheim: Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA. 2010, pp 251-282.
  • Tan, Y. N.; Lee, J. Y.; Wang, Daniel. I. C. “Morphosynthesis of Gold Nanoplates in Polypeptide Multilayer Films.” J. Phys. Chem. C. 2009, 113, 10887-10895.
  • Zhang, Q.§; Tan, Y. N.§; Xie, J.§ and Lee, J. Y. (§ equal contribution, Invited Review Article) “Colloidal Synthesis of Plasmonic Metallic Nanoparticles.” Plasmonics. 2010, 4, 9-22. 
  • Tan, Y. N.; Lee, J. Y.; Wang, Daniel. I. C. “Aspartic Acid Synthesis of Crystalline Gold Nanoplates, Nanoribbons, and Nanowires in Aqueous Solutions.” J. Phys. Chem. C. 2008, 112, 5463-5470.
  • Tan, Y. N.; Lee, J. Y.; Wang, Daniel. I. C. “Mechanistic Study on the Bis(psulfonatophenyl) phenylphosphine (BSPP) Synthesis of Monometallic Pt Hollow Nanoboxes Using Ag-Pt Core-Shell Nanocubes as Sacrificial Templates.” J. Phys. Chem. C. 2007, 111, 14084-14090.