Jefferson Chan

 Jefferson Chan

Contact Information

Department of Chemistry
University of Illinois
268 RAL
600 South Mathews Avenue
Urbana, IL 61801
Assistant Professor of Chemistry
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Additional Campus Affiliations

Biography

Professor Chan received his BSc degree in chemistry from the University of British Columbia in 2006 and his PhD from Simon Fraser University in 2011. For his graduate research, he received the Boehringer Ingelheim (Canada) Doctoral Research Award for the top Canadian thesis in the areas of organic and bioorganic chemistry. From 2011-2014 he was a Human Frontiers Science Program Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of California, Berkeley. Prof. Chan joined the faculty at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign in 2014.

Research Interests

  • development of small-molecule and protein-based sensors for non-invasive molecular imaging; preparation of new diagnostics and therapeutics for infectious diseases; synthetic organic chemistry

Research Description

Photoacoustic Imaging

Photoacoustic (PA) imaging is a powerful imaging modality that is based on the detection of sound waves generated by an optically excited chromophore. Due to the low scattering of sound in biological tissues, this state-of-the-art approach is ideal for non-invasive, deep-tissue bioimaging of live animals and human organs. Our group is currently developing bioorthoganol chemical probes for the early diagnosis of cancer. Moreover, we are applying these chemical tools to study tumor progression and metastasis in vivo.

Infectious Diseases

Tuberculosis (TB) is a widespread infectious disease caused by M. tuberculosis and is responsible for nearly two million deaths each year. Unfortunately, existing drugs are becoming obsolete owing to non-compliance which has led to the emergence of multiple and extensively drug-resistance strains. Drawing from our expertise in organic synthesis and mechanistic enzymology, we are currently developing new small-molecule inhibitors that target crucial TB-specific enzymatic activities to study and treat TB infections.

Neurological Disorders

Neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer's disease (AD) are characterized by a decline in cognitive abilities that result from neuronal cell death. It is believed that hypoxia, oxidative stress, metal ion signaling, and neurotransmission all play a role in the neuropathology of AD; however, their interplay is inadequately studied, especially in the context of in vivo biological systems. Our group is currently developing chemical and protein-based probes to discover the mechanisms underlying this medical condition.

Distinctions / Awards

  • 2013 Boehringer Ingelheim (Canada) Doctoral Research Award
  • 2012 Dean of Graduate Studies Convocation Medal
  • 2012 Human Frontier Science Program Postdoctoral Fellowship
  • 2010 Faculty of Science Excellence in Teaching Award
  • 2010 Bruker Prize in Chemical Spectroscopy
  • 2009 Varian Canada Inc. Award