Michael Chan was born in Hong Kong, and emigrated to England in 1978. He received his Ph.D. in 1995 from Durham University under the tutelage of Prof. Vernon C. Gibson FRS (Imperial) in the field of catalyst design and polymerization technology. His studies continued as a post-doctoral fellow with Prof. Chi-Ming Che in the area of light-emitting materials at the University of Hong Kong, where he was appointed Research Assistant Professor in 1998. He joined City University of Hong Kong as an Assistant Professor in 2004, and was promoted to Associate Professor (B) in 2009, Associate Professor (A) in 2013, and Professor in 2018.
He received the "2007 Mitsui Chemicals Catalysis Science Award of Encouragement". He presented Keynote Lectures at 16th International Symposium on Relations between Homogeneous and Heterogeneous Catalysis (ISHHC-16), Sapporo, Japan in August 2013, and 19th International Symposium on Fluorine Chemistry (19thISFC-ISoFT'09), Jackson Hole, Wyoming, USA in August 2009. He was a Symposium Co-organizer for "Polyolefins Chemistry and Beyond - From Bench To Commercial Scale" (Symposium #211) at Pacifichem 2010, Honolulu, Hawaii, in December 2010, and has undertaken Visiting Professorships at University of Münster (2007 and 2011), Kyoto University (2010), and Osaka University (2014 and 2018).
His papers on C-H···F-C interactions in post-metallocene catalysts have been selected as Cover Pictures in Chemistry - A European Journal, and an overview was published in Accounts of Chemical Research in 2015. He has been actively engaged in collaborative research on olefin polymerization catalysts with industrial partners since 2000, and has obtained 8 international patents.
The following topics, underpinned by utilization of supramolecular strategies, are under investigation: (1) design of novel catalyst systems for polymerization reactions, and development of ‘weak attractive ligand-polymer interactions’ in catalysis; (2) crowded and shape-persistent luminescent molecular and polymeric architectures exhibiting unusual photophysical and conformational properties; (3) development of ‘shape-persistent bimetallic design’ approach for catalytic production of valuable feedstock and polymers from sustainable resources.