Nicolette Chan

  • Scholarship in 2002 at University of Cambridge

PhD in molecular biology, MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology (MRC LMB), University of Cambridge

Having identified protein molecules that contribute to a human leukaemia, Dr Chan produced and characterised therapeutic antibodies specific to one of these molecules, with the ultimate goal to cure the leukaemia in question. The techniques she used in her work have been published in peer-reviewed journals (e.g. The EMBO Journal) and presented at international meetings (e.g. Cold Spring Harbour Symposium).  Besides the Hong Kong Croucher Foundation Scholarship, she was also awarded the Cambridge University Lundgren Research Award and a MRC studentship during her PhD.


She is a molecular immunologist with backgrounds in antibody engineering, cancer therapeutics and developmental biology. She is interested in immune tolerance, its mechanisms in particular. Her goal is to devise therapeutic strategies to harness debilitating conditions like autoimmune diseases, cancers and transplantation rejection.

Her current research has two arms. The first arm concerns a rare subset of regulatory immune cells, CD8 Treg. She wants to reproduce therapeutically useful CD8 Treg in vitro for the treatment or prevention of diseases. The second arm of her research involves the development of an immunotoxin, which targets antigen-specific B cells in an animal model. She is investigating if the allograft transplantation can be attenuated upon the depletion of these B cells. If the answer was yes, this work would serve as a prototype for a novel therapeutic strategy in organ transplantation.

Besides research, she is also a fellow of Robinson College, Cambridge, where she is involved in undergraduate teaching and admissions.