William Chan

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Pharmacy Professor Receives NIH Grant

Jun 17, 2014

Dr. William Chan, Professor of Pharmaceutics and Medicinal Chemistry, has received a grant from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences for his research titled "Investigating the molecular mechanisms in controlling the aryl hydrocarbon receptor protein levels." This grant is funded over 3 years and is for $367,000.

The aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR) is an important signaling molecule in response to human exposure of numerous environmental contaminants that are unavoidable in our daily diet and living. Understanding of how our body controls the AhR cellular levels is a fundamental knowledge of this receptor that affects our bodily response to toxins in the environment. Dr. Chan has discovered that a protein, known as p23, has the ability to decrease the amount of the receptor in the absence of ligand. This grant will address mechanisms that control the AhR protein levels in human cells.

If successful, researchers will gain a better understanding of how the AhR protein levels are maintained and regulated which will uncover mechanisms to modulate its functions for better drug design to treat problems in cancer, aberrant immune response, stem cell development and more.

Dr. Chan will be working closely with graduate students, doctor of pharmacy students, and possible pre-pharmacy students to conduct the research. "I am excited about this research but what is undeniably important is that I have the opportunity to expose students to research and get them excited about this field and hope that it will play a role in their career choice," said Dr. Chan.

Recently it was also announced that Dr. Chan will become department chair of pharmaceutics and medicinal chemistry, effective July1st. He says he looks forward to "creating an environment for faculty to excel in teaching and scholarly activities."

Dr. Chan has been studying the AhR since 1993 and has received a total of four grants from the institute since 1999.

about the author

Dua Moua   Dua Moua '09 is the Marketing Communications Assistant at the Thomas J. Long School of Pharmacy and Health Sciences at Pacific.