Professor YAO Shao Qin

B.Sc., Ohio State University (USA) PhD, Purdue University (USA) Post-doc., UC Berkeley/ Scripps Research Institute (USA)

Contact Information
Department of Chemistry, NUS 
3 Science Drive 3 
Singapore 117543 
Office: S5-03-05
Tel: (65)-6516-2669
Fax: (65)-6779-1691

Research Assistant (RA) position available immediately:

A Research Assistant position is available immediately with Asst Prof. Mahesh Uttamchandani/ Prof. Shao Q. Yao. The successful candidate will be working in the area of comparative protein profiling using peptide/protein microarrays. For more background on our research, please visit:

Requirement: MSc, BSc with Honors, or BSc in life sciences/Chemistry related fields. Prior research experience in protein chemistry/molecular biology is preferred. Good communication and interpersonal skills would be essential. The candidate should be motivated and eager to learn.

Interested candidates are to send in their CV, research statement and two recommendation letters to:

Dr. Mahesh Uttamchandani/Prof Shao Q Yao
Department of Chemistry 
National University of Singapore 
3 Science Drive 3
Singapore 117543
For more information, please see

Research Interests

Organic & Bioorganic Chemistry/Chemical Biology

Research program in my group is directed towards the interface of organic chemistry and molecular biology/cell biology, namely chemical biology and chemical genetics. We are interested in designing, identifying, synthesizing and studying biologically interesting molecules, which include small molecules and natural products, peptides and their analogs, as well as natural and unnatural proteins. Current research projects center around the following areas: 

(1) Combinatorial Chemistry & Organic Synthesis. By utilizing combinatorial approaches, we are synthesizing libraries of small molecules that possess novel fluorescent properties. We are also exploiting the possibility of making encoded small molecule and peptide-based libraries suitable to make the corresponding, addressable microarrays. Other interests include developing one-bead, two-compound strategies for high-throughput screening (HTS) of peptide and non-peptide protease (and other enzymes) inhibitors, as well as developing combinatorial approaches towards novel chiral catalysts. 

(2) De Novo Peptide & Protein Design. Both rational design and combinatorial approaches (semi-rational/irrational) are being utilized in our group to design peptides and proteins that possess novel properties in their folding and chemical activities, etc. For example, can functional proteins composed of less than the 20 naturally occurring amino acids (i.e. 15 AA) exist? Techniques that we use include phage display, DNA shuffling, cloning, protein expression, solid-phase peptide synthesis and chemical protein synthesis. 

(3) Genomics/Functional Genomics & Biochip technologies. DNA microarray technology has made it possible to look at differential transcription profiles at the whole genome scale. Research in our group focuses on using this powerful technology to look at how natural products affect human diseases (cancer, TB, etc.) at their genetic levels. With the information obtained, ultimately we hope to be able to design better drugs that combat these diseases. In addition, we are interested in developing next-generation biochips (protein chips, peptide chip, small molecule chips, etc.), which we believe will play a major role in biotechnology in the post-genomic era. An automatic microarray spotter has been set up in the lab. Together with our expertise in combinatorial chemistry, organic synthesis and molecular biology, we are currently exploring a number of approaches, each of which will lead to high-throughput deposition of thousands of different functional molecules (proteins, peptides, small molecules, etc.) onto different locations of a microscope glass slides (1" x 2").


Representative Publications

(For complete publication list, click here)

  • Li, L.; Shen, X.; Xu, Q.-H.; Yao, S. Q.* “A Switchable Two-photon Membrane Tracer Capable of Imaging Membrane-Associated Protein Tyrosine Phosphatase Activities”, Angew. Chem. Int. Ed., 2012, in press.
  • Li, L.; Ge, J.; Wu, H.; Xu, Q.H.; Yao, S.Q.* “Organelle-Specific Detection of Phosphatase Activities with Two-Photon Fluorogenic Probes in Cells and Tissues”, J. Am. Chem. Soc., 2012, 134, 12157-12167.
  • Shi, H.; Zhang, C.; Chen, G.Y.J.; Yao, S.Q.* “Cell-Based Proteome Profiling of Potential Dasatinib™ Targets Using Affinity-Based Probes (AfBPs)”, J. Am. Chem. Soc., 2012, 134, 3001-3014.   
  • Liu, K.; Yang, P.-Y.; Na, Z.; Yao, S.Q.* “Dynamic Monitoring of Newly Synthesized Proteomes: Up-Regulation of Myristoylated Protein Kinase A During Butyric Acid Induced Apoptosis”, Angew. Chem. Int. Ed., 2011, 50, 6776-6781.
  • Hu, M.; Li, L.; Wu, H.; Su, Y.; Yang, P.-Y.; Uttamchandani, M.; Xu, Q.-H.; Yao,  S.Q.* “Multi-Color, One- and Two-Photon Imaging of Enzymatic Activities in Live Cells with Novel Fluorescently Quenched Activity-Based Probes (qABPs)”, J. Am. Chem. Soc., 2011, 133, 12009-12020.
  • Wu, H.; Ge, J.; Yang, P.-Y..; Wang, J.; Uttamchandani, M.; Yao, S.Q.* “A Peptide Aldehyde Microarray for High-Throughput Detection of Cellular Events”, J. Am. Chem. Soc., 2011, 133, 1946-1954.
  • Wu, H.; Ge, J.; Yao, S.Q.* “Microarray-Assisted High-Throughput Identification of a Cell-Permeable Small Molecule Binder of 14-3-3 Proteins”, Angew. Chem. Int. Ed., 2010, 49, 6528-6532.
  • Yang, P-Y.; Liu, K.; Ngai, M.H.; Lear, M.J..; Wenk, M.; Yao, S.Q.* “Activity-Based Proteome Profiling of Potential Cellular Targets of Orlistat – An FDA-Approved Drug with Anti-Tumor Activities”, J. Am. Chem. Soc., 2010, 132, 656-666.
  • Liu, K.; Shi, H.; Xiao, H.; Chong, A.G.L.; Bi, X.; Chang, Y.T., Tan, K.; Yada, R.Y.; Yao, S.Q.* “Functional Profiling, Identification and Inhibition of Plasmepsins in Intra-erythrocytic Malaria Parasites”, Angew. Chem. Intl. Ed., 2009, 48, 8293-8297.
  • Lu, C.H.S.; Sun, H.; Bakar, F.B.A.; Uttamchandani, M.; Zhou, W.; Liou, Y.-C.; Yao, S.Q.* "Rapid Affinity-Based Fingerprinting of 14-3-3 Isoforms Using A Combinatorial Peptide Microarray", Angew. Chem. Int. Ed.2008, 47, 7438-7441.
  • Sun, H.; Lu, C.H.S.; Uttamchandani, M.; Xia, Y.; Liou, Y.-C.; Yao, S.Q.* "Peptide Microarray for High-throughput Determination of Phosphatase Specificity and Biology", Angew. Chem. Intl. Ed.2008, 47, 1698-1702.
  • Uttamchandani, M.; Lee, W.L.;Wang, J.; Yao, S.Q.* "Quantitative Inhibitor Fingerprinting of Metalloproteases using Small Molecule Microarrays", J. Am. Chem. Soc.2007, 129, 13110-13117.
  • Uttamchandani, M.; Wang, J.; Li, J.; Hu, M.; Sun, H.; Chen, K. Y.-T.; Liu, K.; Yao, S.Q.* "Inhibitor Fingerprinting of Matrix Metalloproteases Using a Combinatorial Peptide Hydroxamate Library", J. Am. Chem. Soc.2007, 129, 7848-7858.
  • Hu, Y.; Chen, G.Y.J.; Yao, S.Q. "Activity-based high-throughput screening of enzymes using DNA microarray", Angew. Chem. Intl. Ed. 2005, 44, 1048-1053.
  • Chan, E.W.S.; Chattopadhaya, S.; Panicker, R.C.; Huang, X.; Yao, S.Q.* "Developing photo-active affinity probes for proteomic profiling - hydroxamate-based probes for metalloproteases", J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2004126, 14435-14446.
  • Lue, R.Y.P., Chen, G.Y.J., Hu, Y., Zhu, Q., Yao, S.Q.* "Versatile protein biotinylation strategies for potential high-throughput proteomics", J. Am. Chem. Soc2004, 126, 1055-1062.
  • Lesaicherre, M.L., Lue, Y.P.R., Chen, G.Y.J., Zhu, Q., Yao, S.Q.* "Intein-mediated biotinylation of proteins and its application in a protein microarray", J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2002, 124, 8768-8769.