Shu-ou Shan

Altair Professor of Chemistry
Contact information for Shu-ou Shan
Contact Method Value
Mail Code: MC 147-75
Office: 150 Braun
Phone: 626-395-3879
Email: sshan@​
B.S., University of Maryland, 1994; Ph.D., Stanford University, 2000. Assistant Professor, Caltech, 2005-11; Professor, 2011-.

Research Interests

Macromolecular machines; protein sorting and localization; molecular recognition and regulation by novel GTPases; protein and nucleic acid structure and function

Assistant: Margot Hoyt

Our research interfaces between chemistry and biology to try to understand fundamental biological processes at the level of biochemical and biophysical principles. We focus on the following questions:

How do cells efficiently and accurately sort all its proteins to the correct subcellular destinations? 
What are the molecular principles of recognition and regulation that underlie such complex biological phenomena?

Our attention currently focuses on a pair of molecular adapters - the signal recognition particle (SRP) and the SRP receptor (SR) - that deliver newly synthesized proteins to particular membrane systems within the cell. This process is responsible for the sorting of all the ER resident and secretory proteins within the cell (accounting for roughly one third of cellular proteins) and is essential to establish and maintain the amazing degree of order and organization required to sustain life.