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Fellows Directory

Jason Chin

Jason Chin

Professor Jason Chin FMedSci FRS


Elected: 2022


Jason Chin has pioneered methods to reprogram the genetic code of living organisms.  He has rewritten the near-universal genetic code of natural life to create organisms that use new genetic codes.  The new organisms show some remarkable properties: they are resistant to a wide-variety of viruses and can be programmed to make new non-canonical polymers.

To reprogram the genetic code Jason created new translational machinery (including orthogonal ribosomes and aminoacyl-tRNA synthetases and tRNAs) and codons.  He then completely synthesized a bacterial genome in which he reduced the number of sense codons in its genetic code. The codons thus unused were reassigned to encode the synthesis non-canonical polymers and macrocycles and proteins containing non-canonical amino acids. Jason's fundamental advances have been widely used to drive discovery, including to define the molecular consequences of post-translational modifications, define protein interactions in cells, and provide mechanistic insight into enzymes.

Jason's work has been recognized by several awards, including: the Francis Crick Medal and Lecture (Royal Society, 2009), the Corday Morgan Prize (Royal Society of Chemistry, 2010), the EMBO Gold Medal (European Molecular Biology Organization, 2010), the Louis Jeantet Young Investigator Career Award (Jeantet Foundation, 2011), the Sackler International Prize in Physical Sciences (Tel Aviv University, 2019), and the Meyerhof Medal and Lecture (Max Planck Institute Heidelberg, 2021). He was elected to EMBO (2010) and to the Academy of Medical Sciences (2016).

Professional positions

Fellow in Natural Sciences, Trinity College, University of Cambridge
Associate Faculty in Synthetic Genomics, Wellcome Sanger Institute, University of Cambridge
Professor of Chemistry and Chemical Biology, Department of Chemistry, University of Cambridge
Head, Centre for Chemical and Synthetic Biology, MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology
Joint Head, Division of Protein and Nucleic Acid Chemistry, MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology

Interest and expertise

Subject groups

  • Chemistry
    • Chemistry, biological
  • Biochemistry and molecular cell biology
    • Biochemistry and molecular biology


  • Francis Crick Medal and Lecture

    On 'Reprogramming the code of life'.

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