IBS Institute for Basic Science




Director Sukbok Chang is a professor of the Department of Chemistry at KAIST. He is a renowned figure in the development and synthetic application of transitive metal catalytic reactions. Director Chang is an expert in the field of catalytic chemistry, an area that both contributes to the advancement of science through new reactions and boasts a wide range of applications (e.g., natural total synthesis, and applications for the pharmaceutical-chemistry and materials industries). Director Chang encourages open discussion among the center’s graduate students and researchers, and has high hopes that they will mature into world-class researchers.


Director Chang has received numerous awards, such as the Young Scientist Award (Korean Chemical Society, 2002), the Thieme Chemistry Journals Award (Synlett/Synthesis, 2003), the Sim Sangcheol Award (Korean Chemical Society Organic Chemistry Division, 2005), the Academic Award of the Korean Chemical Society (2010), Outstanding Research Thesis Guidance Award (Korean Council for Presidents of National Universities, 2012), Kyung-Ahm Academic Award (Kyung-Ahm Education & Culture Foundation, 2013), and Korean Science Prize (President of Korea, 2013). In 2006 his research was recognized as being among the Top 50 Outstanding Research Achievements (Korea Science and Engineering Foundation). He also received funding by the Outstanding Scholar Funding Project (National Research Foundation) from 2008 to October 2012.


Director Chang has published more than 120 academic papers to date. His paper on the activation of hydrocarbons, published in the Journal of the American Chemical Society in 2008, was named in 2011 as one of the “...twenty most cited JACS papers within the last 3 years.”



1996/06-1998/02, Post Doctoral Fellow, Caltech (Advisor: Prof. Robert H. Grubbs)

1996/06, Ph.D. Organic Chemistry, Harvard University (Advisor: Prof. Eric. N. Jacobsen)

1987/02, M.S. Organic Chemistry, KAIST (Advisor: Prof. Sunggak Kim)

1985/02, B.S. Chemistry, Korea University


Professional Career

2012/12-present, Director, Center for Catalytic Hydrocarbon Functionalizations, Institute of Basic Science (IBS)

2002/03-present, Professor, KAIST

2008/02-2011/08, Chair, Department of Chemistry, KAIST

1998/03-2002/02, Assistant Professor, Ewha Womans University


Awards and Honors

2002/10, Young Chemist Award (Korean Chemical Society sponsored by WILEY) 2003/01, Thieme Journals Award (Synlett/Synthesis Professorship Award in Asian Area)

2005/04, Shim Sang Cheol Academic Award (Korean Chemical Society - Organic Chemistry Division, 심상철학술상)

2006/04, Selected as one of 50 Representative Research Performances (Korea Science & Engineering Foundation, KOSEF, 대표적 우수연구성과 50)

2008/11, Selected as a Star Faculty (Korea Research Foundation/교육부, 우수학자 선정)

2010/04, KCS Academic Award (Korean Chemical Society, 대한화학회 학술상)

2012/02, Mentor for the Best Ph.D. Thesis (한림원/전국총장협의회/S-Oil, 조승환박사, 우수학위논문 지도상)

2013/11, Kyung-Ahm Academic Award (Kyung-Ahm Education & Culture Foundation, 경암학술상)

2013/12, Korean Science Prize (President of Korea, 14회 한국과학상)

2014/01, Selected as a Member of the Korean Academy of Science & Technology (한림원 정회원)

2015/10, Knowledge Creation Award (Ministry of Science, ICT & Future Planning, 지식창조대상)

2016/11, Yoshida Prize (International Organic Chemistry Foundation)

2017/03, Humboldt Research Award (Germany's Alexander von Humboldt Foundation)

2017/04, 1st ACS-KCS Excellence Award (American Chemical Society - Korean Chemical Society)

2015, 2016, 2017, 2018: Named a Highly Cited Researcher (Top 1%) by Clarivate Analytics (Web of Science)

2018/01, Grand Academic Research Award (KAIST)

2018/10, 1st Korea Toray Science Award (Korea Toray Science Foundation)

Editorial Advisory Board Member of Journals   

Applied Organometallic Chemistry (2009/01-present)

European Journal of Organic Chemistry (2011/01-present)

Accounts of Chemical Research (2012/01-present)

Chemistry, an Asian Journal (2014/01-present)

ACS Catalysis (2014/01-present)


Top Papers   

Palladium-catalyzed C-H functionalization of pyridine N-oxides: Highly selective alkenylation and direct arylation with unactivated arenes, J. Am. Chem. Soc., 2008, 130(29), 92549256

Recent advances in the transition metal-catalyzed twofold oxidative C-H bond activation strategy for C-C and C-N bond formation, Chem. Soc. Rev., 2011, 40(10), 5068-5083

Selective formation of γ-lactams via C–H amidation enabled by tailored iridium catalysts,Science2018359, 1016-1021