Jefferson Chan

Associate Professor, Chemistry

Research Program: Cancer Discovery Platforms Bridging the Engineering-Biology Continuum
Strategic Theme: Drug Discovery

Jefferson Chan studies photoacoustic imaging and targeted drug delivery to diagnose and kill cancer cells. His photoacoustic imaging research uses sound waves to non-invasively image deep-tissue organs. His research group is developing bioorthogonal chemical probes for early cancer diagnosis and to study tumor progression. Chan’s lab uses photoacoustic imaging probes to target cancerous cell populations with chemotherapeutic agents. This approach helps kill the cancer cells while sparing healthy cells. The probe developed, in conjunction with CCIL members Aditi Das and Emad Tajkhorshid, is called CoxFluor, and it detects an enzyme essential for driving the progression of cancer.

Chan received his BSc in Chemistry from the University of British Columbia in 2006 and his Ph.D. 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 organic and bioorganic chemistry. From 2011-2014, Chan was a Human Frontiers Science Program Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of California, Berkeley. He is an Assistant Professor of Chemistry and a Department Affiliate of Biochemistry at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. He is also an Assistant Professor at the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology and a mentor in the CCIL’s TiME program.