YAN Yaw Kai

Associate Professor

Associate Dean, Academic & Faculty Affairs

Office of Academic and Faculty Affairs (AFA), Natural Sciences & Science Education (NSSE)

Office Location



Office Telephone Number

Research Interests
bio-organometallic chemistry, inorganic and organometallic synthesis, biomedical applications of coordination complexes, chemistry education

  • Yaw Kai obtained his B.Sc. (Hon) in 1990 from the National University of Singapore and was awarded the Singapore National Institute of Chemistry Gold Medal (best Chemistry Honours student) and the Lijen Industrial Development Medal (best Chemistry Honours research project). He stayed on to do M.Sc. research on the chemistry and XPS studies of rhenium carbonyl complexes. In 1991 he began Ph.D. research (supported by the NTU Overseas Graduate Scholarship and the Overseas Research Student Award, U.K.) with Professor Mike Mingos, then at the University of Oxford, working on charge-transfer salts based on metallacarborane complexes. In 1992 Yaw Kai moved to Imperial College, London, together with Professor Mingos, and completed his Ph.D. studies there in February 1995. He joined NIE as a lecturer in May 1995, and is currently Associate Professor and Associate Dean of Academic and Faculty Affairs. Yaw Kai received the Certificate of Commendation for Excellence in Teaching in 1999, 2000, 2001, 2003 and 2013, the Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Singapore) Education Award in 2001, and the GIST-SNIC Award in Chemistry Education in 2011.

    Academic Background
    • PGDipTHE 1996 NTU
    • PhD, DIC 1995 Imperial College
    • MSc 1993 NUS
    • BSc (Hon 1st Class) 1990 NUS
    Professional Organisations
    • Member, Singapore National Institute of Chemistry
    • Member, American Chemical Society
    • AAY10A InorganicChemistry I
    • AAY20E Experimental Techniques in Chemistry
    • AAY20G Organometallic Chemistry
    • MLS801 Science: Development, Aims and Role in Society
    Research Interests
    • Bio-organometallic chemistry
    • Inorganic and organometallic synthesis
    • Biomedical applications of coordination complexes
    • Chemistry education
    Professional Activities
    • 2013-2016, Member of the Syllabus Review Committees for 'A' Level H1, H2 and H3 Chemistry 
    • 2010-2011, Head Mentor for the International Chemistry Olympiad team, Singapore
    • From 2008, Phase I training for the International Chemistry Olympiad
    • From 2008, Judging for the Singapore Science and Engineering Fair
    Graduate Supervision


    • From 2014 Koh Jin Tai Kelvin, G-Quadruplex - Targeting Anticancer Metal Complexes
    • 2010-2014 Siti Munira bte Haidad Ali, Copper(II) Complexes of Substituted Salicylaldehyde Semicarbazones: Synthesis, Cytotoxicity and Interaction with Quadruplex DNA
    • 2009-2013 Yong Fui Fong, Copper and Manganese-mediated Cross Coupling Strategies for Carbon-Nitrogen Bond Formation Reactions (as co-supervisor)
    • 2008-2013 Tan Shiow Jin, Understanding the Bio-activity of Salicylaldehyde Related Complexes (collaboration with SCBE, NTU)
    • 2006-2011 Lee Wan Yen, Cytotoxicity of Potential Metal-Based Anticancer Drugs (as co-supervisor)
    • 2002-2006 Kee Chee Leong, Synthesis of Dirhenium(I) Carbonyl Complexes Bridged by Bis(bidentate) Ligands
    • 2001-2006 Maung Maung Saw, [188Re(CO)3]-Chelates as Therapeutic Radiopharmaceuticals: Targeting Hepatocellular Carcinoma (collaboration with NUS)
    • 2001-2005 Zeng Yun, Synthesis of Rhenium(I) Carbonyl Complexes of Functionalized Phosphines for Potential Applications in Nuclear Medicine
    • 1999-2002 Zhang Jianyong, Syntheses of Rhenium(I) Complexes for Potential Applications in Nuclear Medicine (collaboration with NUS)
    • 1998-2002 Wang Wenwu, Rhenium(I) Carbonyl Complexes With N,O-Donor Ligands – Syntheses, Properties and Cytotoxicity (collaboration with NUS)
    • 1995-1999 Jiang Chenghua, Rhenium Alkoxo and Hydroxo Carbonyl Complexes – Syntheses, Properties and Reaction Mechanisms (collaboration with NUS)

    MSc by Research

    • 2001-2004 Tan Keai Fong, Synthesis and Characterization of Chromium(II) and Copper(II) Carboxylato Complexes
    • 1998-2000 Zhang Rui, Rhenium Carbonyl Complexes With Dicarboxylate Ligands
    • 1997-1999 Fan Wei, Rhenium Carbonyl Complexes With Monodentate-Coordinated Diphosphines

    MSc (Life Sciences) dissertations

    • From 2016 Wong Hai Ling Caviner, Synthesis and Biological Evaluation of Rhenium(I) Complexes of Benzaldehyde Pyridin-2-yl Hydrazones 
    • From 2015 Teoh You Chuan, Synthesis and Biological Studies of Copper(II) Salicylaldehyde Semicarbazone Complexes with Substituted Pyridine Ligands
    • 2012-2014 Tang Jiaqi Vivian, Synthesis and Biological Evaluation of Copper(II) Complexes of Hydrophilic Salicylaldehyde Semicarbazones
    • 2007-2011 Kwek Kah Hwee, Synthesis and Molecular Recognition Studies of Functionalized Molecular Squares and Rectangles
    • 2007-2010 Wong Teck Tian, Cytotoxicity of Potential Anti-tumour Rhenium Carbonyl Complexes
    • 2006-2009 Siti Munira bte Haidad Ali, Cytotoxicity of Rhenium Carbonyl Semicarbazone Complexes
    • 2006-2009 Choo Kuen Yew Kelvin, Detection of Drug-induced Apoptosis in Human Cancer Cells Using Proton NMR Spectroscopy
    • 2005-2007 Ho Junming, Cytotoxicity of Potential Anti-tumour Transition Metal Complexes