Academic Profile : Faculty

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Assoc Prof Yan Yaw Kai
Associate Professor, National Institute of Education - Natural Sciences & Science Education
External Links
Yaw Kai YAN is an Associate Professor at the National Institute of Education, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. He obtained his BSc (1st Class Honours) and MSc in Chemistry from the National University of Singapore, and PhD in Inorganic Chemistry from Imperial College, London.

Yaw Kai has been involved in the training and professional development of Science teachers (Grades 3 – 12) for over 25 years. Since joining NIE in 1995, his teaching portfolio has encompassed a large diversity of courses (covering the topics of Inorganic, Organic and Physical Chemistry, Subject Knowledge in Science, and Science Communication), spread over many different programmes [DipEd, PGDE, BSc(Ed), MSc(Life Sci) and Professional Development]. While his PhD training is in Chemistry, he undertakes research in both the content and pedagogical aspects of the subject, and publishes in both Chemistry and Education journals.

Yaw Kai contributes actively to Chemistry Education at the national level. Since 2003, he has been a regular member of the Ministry of Education Syllabus Review Committee for ‘A’ Level Chemistry. He was the Head Mentor for the 2010 and 2011 Singapore International Chemistry Olympiad team, and judges in Science fairs such as the Singapore Science and Engineering Fair. Yaw Kai has received numerous awards for his contributions to education and excellence in teaching, including the Nanyang Education Award (University) – [Bronze] 2020.
Yaw Kai's research is focused on the design and synthesis of metal complexes for potential biomedical applications. Specifically, he is interested in designing metal complexes with anti-cancer properties, and to probe the mechanisms of action and speciation of these compounds. His ultimate aim is to design potent and target-specific drugs which exert anti-cancer effects with minimal toxicity towards healthy cells.

Although his research expertise is in Inorganic Chemistry, Yaw Kai believes that it is important for him to contribute to the field of Science Education as well. He has been co-PI or collaborator in several Science Education research projects, covering the topics of flipped learning in Chemistry labs, alternative conceptions in Chemical Kinetics, and Science learning in young children.
  • Design of metal complexes for potential biomedical applications
2022: Public Administration Medal (Bronze), Republic of Singapore

2020: Nanyang Education Award (University) – [Bronze], Nanyang Technological University

2018: Nanyang Education Award (College), Nanyang Technological University

2017: Nanyang Education Award (School), Nanyang Technological University

2011: GIST-SNIC Award in Chemistry Education, Singapore National Institute of Chemistry

2001: Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Singapore) Education Award, Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Singapore)
Courses Taught
AAY10A Inorganic Chemistry 1

MLS900 Science Communication
Supervision of PhD Students
Koh Jin Tai Kelvin (2020) Synthesis, G-Quadruplex Binding and Cytotoxicity of Copper(II) Complexes (main supervisor)

Siti Munira bte Haidad Ali (2014) Copper(II) Complexes of Substituted Salicylaldehyde Semicarbazones: Synthesis, Cytotoxicity and Interactions with Quadruplex DNA (main supervisor)

Yong Fui Fong (2013) Development of Chiral Catalysts for Asymmetric Carbon-Carbon Bond Formation Reactions (co-supervisor)

Lee Wan Yen (2011) Cytotoxicity of Potential Metal-based Anticancer Drugs (co-supervisor)

Kee Chee Leong (2006) Synthesis of Dirhenium(I) Carbonyl Complexes Bridged by Bis(bidentate) Ligands (sole supervisor)

Zeng Yun (2005) Synthesis of Rhenium(I) Carbonyl Complexes of Functionalized Phosphines for Potential Applications in Nuclear Medicine (sole supervisor)