The Power List 2020 – Asia
CAS Key Lab of Analytical Chemistry for Living Biosystems, Institute of Chemistry, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China
Reason for pursuing analytical science: I majored in inorganic chemistry and was very much interested in material science at that time. Later, I was fascinated by the chemical mystery that drives a living being and started to develop methods to study living cells, insects, and plants, including capillary electrophoresis, surface plasmon resonance sensing and imaging, and bio-MS. This led to my founding and serving as the first director of the Key Laboratory of Analytical Chemistry for Living Biosystems in 2009.
Greatest inspiration: This is a difficult one. I think the folklore I heard in my childhood about scientists and immortals played a great role. I was also inspired by my supervisors and by great scientists like Luigi Galvani, Louis Pasteur, and John Dalton.
Future of the field: I believe it will always be critical to understand the chemical mysteries of a living body. This will be promoted by studies in chemical biology, brain research, the (intestinal) microbiome, infectious diseases, and so forth, where analytical chemistry will always face the first wave of challenges.
Nominator comment: Yi Chen has expertise in capillary electrophoresis, surface plasmon resonance sensing and imaging, and MS, with more than 300 authored and co-authored publications, three books, and over 35 patents. He has been working on capillary electrophoresis for the study of living cells, proteins, carbohydrates, DNA, and small ionic species since 1984. His group recently achieved capillary electrophoresis of hemoglobin chains for thalassemia diagnosis.