Student Success Story

“Challenges developing ultra-efficient, synergistic catalysts that will change the world."

Professor Bae Han-yong

Prof. Bae has been appointed as a professor of the Chemistry Department at SKKU and 

selected as a recipient of the 2020 Thieme Chemistry Journals Award

Dr. Bae Han-yong, who received his B.Sc. (2010), M.Sc. (2012), and Ph.D. (2015) degrees from SUNGKYUNKWAN UNIVERSITY (SKKU, Korea) in chemistry, has been appointed as a professor of chemistry at SKKU, conducting studies on Brønsted base catalyzed asymmetric catalysis. After obtaining his doctorate degree, Professor Bae moved to Germany and pursued postdoctoral research at Max-Planck-Institut fuer Kohlenforschung (website:, and then in 2019, he was appointed as an Assistant Professor at Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology (UNIST, Korea), just before he moved to SKKU in September of 2019.

When he worked as a researcher at Max-Planck-Institut purer Kohlenforschung, Professor Bae received great attention not only in Korea but also in Germany, publishing a paper in Nature Chemistry, a top-level journal in the field.

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“The findings written in Nature Chemistry have also been selected as the Max-Planck Institute’s “Outstanding Scientific Achievement” for its challenging organic catalyst response to the development of a new ultra-high-performance organic-ruis acid catalyst. The reason why I was able to successfully pursue my career as a researcher in Germany was because I was able to receive world-class training and enjoy chemistry in the research and academic environment of Sungkyunkwan University. Looking back, I think the biggest success factor was the early realization of the design that challenges organic reactions and the pleasure of realizing them, as we began my research under the supervision of Professor Choong Eui Song. The most memorable moment was when I published a paper in Angewandte Chemie International Edition, a leading journal in chemistry, six years later, without giving up on the vague idea I had when I was an undergraduate student. Feeling that my ideas considered by the world's researchers makes me continue this work with passion and joy.”

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Professor Bae began his research because by chance he attended a special lecture as an undergraduate student in a very unfamiliar field called Asymmetric Organocatalystis by Prof. Benjamin List, the head of the Max-Planck Institute in Germany, and was very touched, so he sent a letter to him.

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After that, he was awarded the Global Ph.D. Fellowship and won the Korea Chemical Society Award for best Ph.D. dissertation, then worked as researcher at the Max-Planck Institute, using his excellent research as a springboard to become a professor.

“I felt something when I first started researching catalysts. There is something in this world that I can find and contribute to mankind by paving the way where no one has gone. I felt that I would be happy and it would be meaningful to work my whole life on such an important thing. I believe that if we continue to walk the path that only we can go, one day we will be able to develop a chemical reaction that can change the world. I will continue to hold on to that curiosity and passion and become a scientist who can inspire the younger generation.”

Professor Bae recently won the Thieme Chemistry Journals Award. It was established in 1999 by Thieme Gruppe, the publisher of the international journal, and is annually awarded to global researchers in the early stages of their careers as assistant or junior professors. The goal of this award is to give recognition and encouragement to the next generation of organic chemists

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Professor Bae, who has established an advanced organic synthesis lab in the chemistry department of Sungkyunkwan University, is currently focusing on research with the aim of applying complex organic molecules with physiological activity to synthetics, material science, pharmacology and medicine, based on the development of ultra-efficient-synergetic catalytic organic reactions.

Professor Bae Hanyong’s official website: