2017 Awardees
Dr. Andrew H.-J. Wang

Academician Dr. Andrew H.-J. Wang

A pioneer who navigates Taiwan’s biotech industry to a new era

An internationally-renowned scientist who spares no effort in cultivating talent



Dr. Andrew H.-J. Wang was born in 1945 in Chiayi, Taiwan. After graduated from the Institute of Chemistry, NTU in 1970, he went to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC), U.S.A. to study structural biology. Dr. Wang received his Ph.D. degree in 1974, later as a researcher at MIT for 14 years, and returned to teach at UIUC in 1988. In 2000, he returned to Taiwan as the Director of the Institute of Biological Chemistry, Academia Sinica to contribute to the development of basic scientific research, and was elected as Academician of Academia Sinica in the same year. After returning to Taiwan, Dr. Wang also contributed to the fields of biotechnology, agriculture, medical science and energy research. He has taught structural biology in NTU, NCHU, NYMU etc., and educated and trained more than 100 students, postdocs and assistants.



Scientific Accomplishments

Dr. Wang is an eminent expert in structural biology and proteomics who has engaged in nucleic acid and protein structural research for forty years. In 1979, he and his advisor, Dr. Alexander Rich of MIT, discovered and solved at atomic level the structure of Z-DNA, a left-handed double helical DNA, which is considered to be a breakthrough discovery in modern science. This important discovery is highly cited, and was written in biochemistry textbooks. In 2008, Dr. Wang explored the possibility of overcoming the resistance of super bacteria after solving the key enzyme structure in Staphylococcus aureus pigment formation. In 2009, with the discovery of the DNA mimic protein, ICP11, initially identified by proteomic techniques, he has opened a new research field in Taiwan. In 2010, analysis of antibiotic complex structures of S. epidermidis TcaR protein helps realize the drug resistance mechanism for pathogens. In 2014, he used crown ether to alter protein arrangement and overcame the challenges associated with crystal formation, which represents a new milestone in protein crystallization. Recently, using his well-developed structural biology techniques, Dr. Wang has improved the specificity and affinity with antigens by antibody drugs engineering. Structures of QC, an important enzyme for Alzheimer’s disease, are used for designing small-molecule drugs. He has also contributed significantly to the research of drug-DNA interactions, leading to a better design of antibiotics targeting drug-resistant pathogens. Finally, his lab has developed new platforms to crystalize proteins which were challenges to the field. He has more than 450 quality publications with 14 approved patents. Dr. Wang has mentored and trained many students and postdoctors, some of whom have become accomplished scientists. He is a role model for young scientists and an exemplary scholar with a most distinguished career.



Contributions to Taiwan

After a distinguished career in US, Dr. Wang returned to Taiwan in 2000 from University of Illinois, to serve as Director of the Institute of Biological Chemistry, Academia Sinica. He has established the first modern proteomics facilities, and also greatly strengthened the field of protein crystallography in Taiwan. His contributions to the overall development of structural biology in Taiwan is noteworthy. He then served as Vice President of Academia Sinica from 2006 to 2011, contributing to the design and development of Nankang Biotechnology Park, facilitating the interactions between academia and biotech industry in Taiwan. In addition, he played leadership role in establishing national shared resource and in the operation of NRPB (生技醫療國家型科技計劃). He was elected to Academician of Academia Sinica and Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). His leadership role in biochemistry and molecular biology was recognized by being elected to the President of FAOBMB (亞太生化暨分生科學家聯盟) in 2011 and President-elect of IUBMB (國際生化暨分子生物學聯盟) in 2018.


In Taiwan, Dr. Wang founded several scientific organizations to elevate the level of research in proteomics, antibody development, as well as biotechnological technology education:


  • Taiwan Proteomics Society (in 2003): its goal is to increase basic knowledge and core technology for domestic scholars in fields of protein structure and function, anti-cancer drug research and biotechnology development; and to elevate the level of protein science research in Taiwan
  • Biochemical Technology Education Foundation (in 2011): its goal is to support biotechnological related conferences and to cultivate science and technology talents
  • Taiwan Antibody Association (in 2013): its goal is to elevate antibody research, development and industrialization in Taiwan by holding international conferences annually


These are clear examples as to how Dr. Wang’s own accomplishments and his efforts have elevated the biomedical sciences of Taiwan to the international level. Indeed Dr. Wang is a pioneer/leader in developing bio- crystallography in Taiwan. His hard work and contribution is widely recognized domestically and internationally.



Dr. Andrew H.-J. Wang