Chan to lead Chemical Engineering and Materials Science

A University Distinguished Professor at Michigan State University has been named chairperson of the MSU Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science (CHEMS).

University Distinguished Professor Christina Chan
University Distinguished Professor Christina Chan

Christina Chan, who has been serving as interim chairperson of MSU’s CHEMS department since August 2021, will become the new chair effective immediately.

Engineering Dean Leo Kempel said Chan’s strong leadership as interim chair is an excellent indicator of what is coming for the department.

“Dr. Chan is a recognized leader for outstanding teaching and research, as evidenced in part by her designation as a University Distinguished Professor. I look forward to seeing how she and the department faculty, staff and students regenerate and transform the department by building upon departmental strengths and forging new ones for the future.”

Chan said she will use her 20 years of experience at MSU in her new leadership role.

“Our department has a strong history of cutting-edge research in, for example, polymers, composites, and metallurgy,” Chan said. “We have launched initiatives to meet future challenges in sustainability, the circular economy, novel materials, and advance computational methods.

“I am grateful for the opportunity to continue working with our talented faculty, staff, and students to pursue the discoveries that will improve the quality of life in Michigan and the world,” she added.

Chan’s research group has focused on a key aspect of diseases related to aging – namely, the role of saturated fatty acids. This research has important consequences for a variety of afflictions ranging from cancer to liver dysfunction to Alzheimer’s disease.

The Chan lab has used a highly integrated approach to address research questions that includes molecular, cellular and tissue level perspectives, involving experiments and computation. Her lab continues to seek further innovations to combat diseases using their mechanistic insights – including new methods that employ tissue engineering and drug delivery strategies to slow development of diseases.

For this work, she was elected a Fellow of the American Institute of Chemical Engineering (AIChE) in 2023 and the American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE) in 2012.

She has served a leader of AIChE’s Food, Pharmaceutical and Bioengineering Division and was the recipient of the AIChE Area Forum 15D/E Engineering Fundamentals in Life Science Award.

Chan earned a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering at Columbia University and master’s and Ph.D. degrees in chemical and biochemical engineering from the University of Pennsylvania.

Prior to joining MSU she was a post-doctoral fellow at the Center for Engineering in Medicine at the Harvard Medical School. She spent eight years in DuPont Marshall Research Laboratories prior to returning to academia.

This story was first published on the MSU College of Engineering website

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