From MSU Today - February 4, 2014Christina Chan received the 2014 William J. Beal Outstanding Faculty Award
Christina Chan is pioneering work at the interface of biology, chemistry and chemical engineering, and computer science and engineering, leading an integrative approach to the study of medical and biological problems. Her research focuses on bioinformatics and functional genomics as well as cellular and molecular engineering to analyze cellular processes and disease mechanisms. Her work on exploring the mechanisms by which elevated levels of free fatty acids mediate abnormalities in cellular function and metabolism that contribute to the development of severe chronic diseases, such as obesity, cancer and Alzheimer’s disease, is groundbreaking.
Among her many accomplishments, Chan’s research group successfully identified a potential drug target for breast cancer that could treat both estrogen-receptor subtypes of the disease, potentially including the triple negative breast cancer subtype, which is the most aggressive and has the most limited treatment options. Chan has published more than 100 articles in leading journals and delivered countless invited international and national lectures at conferences, workshops, and companies, including the key invited lecture at the 2012 Alzheimer’s Association International Conference. Chan has been recognized for her many research contributions, as evidenced most recently by her election to Fellow of the American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineering.
Chan’s concern for educating the next generation of scholars has led her to introduce numerous students to active research projects. During the past 11 years, she has involved more than 55 undergraduates, half of them women, in research projects in her own lab. Many of these undergraduates have gone onto graduate or medical school. She has mentored 13 Ph.D. students to graduation and currently has ten graduate students and five postdoctoral fellows in her research group. In 2010, Chan received the Withrow Excellence in Teaching Award.
William J. Beal Outstanding Faculty Awards (formerly the Distinguished Faculty Awards) are made each year to members of the regular faculty, i.e. tenure system faculty and librarians in the continuing appointment system, for outstanding total service to the University. MSU College of Law tenure system faculty, National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory (NSCL) faculty and Health Programs (HP) faculty are also eligible for nomination. Each college making nominations for the award has its own detailed criteria and methods for nomination. The nominations are based on teaching; advising; research; publications; art exhibitions; concert performances; committee work; public service including extension, continuing education and work with government agencies; or a combination of these activities. Administrative excellence and length of service may not be used as the sole criteria for nomination. However, nominees usually have at least five years of service at Michigan State University.