MacArthur Fellows Program

Kun-Liang Guan

Biochemist | Class of 1998

Ann Arbor, Michigan
35 at time of award
Published July 1, 1998

About Kun-Liang's Work

Kun-Liang Guan is a biochemist whose work helps us understand how cells respond to changing conditions, such as infection and aging.

Guan studies a class of enzymes that act as molecular switches controlling the activity of other enzymes. Originally named for its function in immune cells, MAP kinase has since been shown to regulate many important cellular functions, including cell division and specialization. Guan has shown how these enzymes control normal physiologic processes and how viruses and bacteria interrupt normal functions, creating pathogenic effects. Papers authored and co-authored by Guan have appeared in publications such as the Journal of Biological Chemistry, Science, the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, and Nature.


Guan is the Halvor Christensen Professor in Life Science and a professor of biological chemistry at the University of Michigan. After a postdoctoral fellowship (1989-91) at Purdue University, he became a lecturer (1991-92) and an assistant professor (1992-97) at the University of Michigan.

Guan received a B.S. (1982) from Hangzhou University, China, and a Ph.D. (1989) from Purdue University.

Last updated January 1, 2005

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