Updated on 9 July 2012
To the US and back
After completing his post graduation from National Taiwan University, Dr Chi-Huey Wong received his PhD degree from Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1982. He then moved to Harvard University with his guide, Professor George M Whitesides, for his postdoctoral research. Between 1983 and 1987, he worked with Texas A&M University and was the Professor and Ernest W Hahn Chair in Chemistry at the Scripps Research Institute from 1989 to 2006. Dr Wong also co-founded a company, Optimer Pharmaceuticals, in the US during this time. In 2003, he became the director of the Genomics Research Center at Academia Sinica, Taipei. "I travelled back and forth and spent eight years at RIKEN before moving back to Taiwan," he says.
He headed the Frontier Research Program on Glycotechnology at RIKEN (Institute of Physical and Chemical Research, Japan) between 1991 and 1999, and has also been a board member of the US National Research Council on Chemical Sciences and Technology.
Now, at the Academia Sinica, he spends a lot of time doing research. And he credits the country for providing him enough space to pursue his research, while being the head of an institution as big as Academia Sinica. "I don't think this is possible in the US or Japan. While I am the head of the institution, I get a lot of help in carrying out administrative responsibilities and I can spend more time on research."
He is over 550 publications and 60 patents to his credit. He has also written four books: Enzymes in Synthetic Organic Chemistry, Combinatorial Chemistry in Biology, Catalysis from A to Z, and Carbohydrate-Based Drug Discovery.