Tania Chan. Graduate student in the NanoBio IGERT program. Credit: Mary Spiro / JHU
Tania Chan is a first year PhD student in materials science at Johns Hopkins University and member of the NanoBio IGERT with the Institute for NanoBioTechnology. IGERT stands for Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship and is funded by the National Science Foundation.
Working with Michael (Seungju) Yu, associate professor of materials science and engineering and INBT affiliated faculty member, Chan has synthesized a protein, called QK, which mimics VEGF, the natural growth factor responsible for new blood vessel growth. The QK will be paired with a synthetic peptide that mimics natural collagen—a protein found in connective tissues, bone, muscle and skin. This synthetic combination will be used to modify collagen scaffolds with the long term goal of controlling microvasculature formation in artificial tissue and wound healing.
Born in Hong Kong, Chan spent most of her childhood in Southern California. She graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in June 2007 with a B.S. in materials science and a minor in biomedical engineering. Chan is especially interested in biomaterials. “It’s fascinating to me how we can make materials and put them into the human body to help a person heal and to regenerate tissue,“ Chan says.
Chan enjoys research. As a sophomore, she worked in MIT’s bioengineering department, studying DNA mutation in yeast cells and its effects in colony formation and other project on DNA mutation in mice and its effects on colon tumors formation. As a junior, Chan worked at Harvard on a project on semiconductor nano-patterning, as well as separate project at MIT that examined different collagen scaffold processing techniques. Chan interned with Schlumberger, an oil field services company, and helped develop a swellable elastomer, now patent pending. After one semester as a visiting scholar at Oxford, she returned for her final semester to “work on developing a polymeric vaccine delivery vehicle,“ she adds. Chan presented her results at the Fall 2007 Materials Research Society meeting.
INBT’s NanoBio IGERT has afforded Chan the opportunity to indulge what she calls her “endless pursuit of knowledge.“ When not in the lab, Chan loves to play and listen to music and is a classically trained pianist and singer.