Academic Profile

Professor James P. Tam is the Professor of the Herbalomics and Drug Discovery Laboratory and Lee Wee Nam Professor of School of Biological Sciences, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore since 2001. Since 2008, he is also the Director of Synzymes and Natural Products Center (SYNC).

Tam received his Ph.D. in Medicinal Chemistry from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, USA in 1976 and held appointments as Associate Professor at The Rockefeller University, USA (1982-1992), Professor at Vanderbilt University, USA (1992-2004) and The Scripps Research Institute, USA (2004-2008). Tam later moved on to Nanyang Technological University, Singapore where he held active appointments as Founding Dean and the Founding Director of Biological Research Center of the School of Biological Sciences (2001-2007). He also served as the Founding Director of the double-degree program in Biomedical Sciences and Chinese Medicine (2008-2012).

Tam’s research work focuses on the discovery, design and development of therapeutics, particularly orally active biologics, immunologics and anti-infectives. He is also actively involved in peptide and protein chemistry, selective chemoenzymatic ligation for peptides, proteins and dendrimers, synthesis and oxidative folding of cysteine-rich peptides where he has published more than 330 papers in these areas of research.

Tam received the Vincent du Vigneaud Award in 1986, the Rao Makineni Award by American Peptide Society (APS) in 2003, the Ralph F. Hirschmann Award by the American Chemical Society (ACS) in 2005, the Merrifield Award by American Peptide Society in 2013 and the Akabori Memorial Award by the Japanese Peptide Society (JPS) in 2016 for the outstanding contributions to peptide and protein sciences. The Merrifield, Hirschmann and Akabori Awards, administered by the APS, ACS and JPS respectively, recognize the highest achievements in the chemistry, biochemistry and biophysics of peptides at an international level. He was elected as Fellow of the Singapore National Academy of Science in 2018.

In addition to his scientific research, he has also been active in the peptide community. Besides serving on many editorial boards, he has organized international peptide and protein symposia and was a cofounder of the past ten International Chinese Peptide Symposia. He received the Cathay Award from the Chinese Peptide Society, China in 1996. He was also honored as Honorary Professor at Peking University and Peking Union Medical College. He was the founder of the Peptide and Protein Society of Singapore.
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Prof Jimmy P Tam@James P Tam
Professor, School of Biological Sciences

1. Discovery, design and synthesis of orally active peptides, herbalomics and molecular diversity in medicinal plants and functional foods.

2. Peptide and protein chemistry, selective chemoenzymatic ligation for peptides, proteins and dendrimers, synthesis and oxidative folding of cysteine-rich peptides.

Dendrimers, drug discovery, medicinal plants, herbal plants, natural products, biologics, proteomics, herbalomics, ligases
  • Finding Bioactives from Coffee Waste

  • Peptide Ligase: Molecular Gluer For Proteins

  • Synzyme And Natural Products (SYNC)
  • Hemu, X.; To, J.; Zhang, X.; Tam, J. P. (2020). Immobilized Peptide Asparaginyl Ligases Enhance Stability and Facilitate Macrocyclization and Site-Specific Ligation. Journal of Organic Chemistry, 85(3), 1504-1512.

  • Antony Kam, Shining Loo, Jing-Song Fan, Siu Kwan Sze, Daiwen Yang, James P Tam. (2019). Roseltide rT7 is a disulfide-rich, anionic, and cell-penetrating peptide that inhibits proteasomal degradation. Journal of Biological Chemistry, 294(51), 19604-19615.

  • Qingling Ouyang, Xueling Feng, Shuangyang Kuang, Nishtha Panwar, Peiyi Song, Chengbin Yang, Guang Yang, Xinya Hemu, Gong Zhang, Ho Sup Yoon, James P. Tam, Bo Liedberg, Guang Zhu, Ken-Tye Yong, Zhong Lin Wang. (2019). Self-powered, on-demand transdermal drug delivery system driven by triboelectric nanogenerator. Nano Energy, 62, 610-619.

  • Xinya Hemu, Abbas El Sahili, Side Hu, Kaho Wong, Yu Chen, Yee Hwa Wong, Xiaohong Zhang, Aida Serra, Boon Chong Goh, Dina A. Darwis, Ming Wei Chen, Siu Kwan Sze, Chuan-Fa Liu, Julien Lescar, and James P. Tam. (2019). Structural determinants for peptide-bond formation by asparaginyl ligases. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS), 116(24), 11737-11746.

  • Antony Kam, Shining Loo, James P Tam. (2019). Discovery of a Plant-derived Cell-penetrating Proteasome Inhibitor. Experiemental Biology 2019.