Professor  |  Principal Investigator

Warren Chan

Institute of Biomedical Engineering - Professor of Nanobioengineering, Canada Research Chair in Nanobioengineering


Room 402
Research Interests
Nanotechnology, Cancer, Infectious Diseases, Nanoparticles, Diagnostic Devices, Smartphone
Appointment Status


  • University of California – San Diego, San Diego, CA, U.S., Research Fellow in the Department of Biomedical Engineering, 2001-2002.
  • Indiana University, IN, U.S., PhD in Chemistry, 2001.
  • University of Illinois, IL, U.S., BSc in Chemistry, 1996.


Integrated nanotechnology and biomedical science laboratory

They say big things come in small packages. When it comes to nanomedicine, I believe big things will develop from some very, very small packages.


We are converging nanotechnology with medicine to create the next generation of diagnostic and therapeutic technology. We develop medical technologies using materials that are between the size of an atom to the bulk material, in the 1 to 100 nanometre range. A nanometre is one billionth of a metre.  How small is that? One hundred nanometres is 10000 times smaller than the diameter of a hair!  Materials this tiny are useful in biomedical applications such as detecting molecules in blood or tumors. Many of the nanomaterials developed in the lab have already moved to commercial settings and we expect this technology will reach the clinical setting in the near future, and that means doctors will be able to use these miniscule structures in diagnosing disease or prescribing drugs. That will mean faster results and improved accuracy in diagnosis. Eventually, these nanotechnologies will be commonly used in drug delivery, therapies and diagnostics.

Being in the open, interdisciplinary environment of the Donnelly Centre has been ideal for my work. I’m able to interact with other scientists in other disciplines whose expertise brings a whole new dimension to my investigations. At the same time, the technologies developed in my lab will benefit researchers in systems and molecular biology. For example, we have been working with my colleague Dr. Jason Moffat on identifying the receptors involved with nanoparticle cell uptake, which will important in designing nanotechnologies to deliver drugs to cancer sites with high therapeutic effectiveness and reduced side effects.


Materials or particles smaller than 100 nm in size and shape have optical, electrical, magnetic and biological properties that are related to their size, shape, and surface chemistry. The last thirty years have seen significant improvements in the design, synthesis, and characterization of nanomaterials. These nanomaterials are currently used as building blocks in the design of new electronics, displays, solar cells, tools for biological research and medical devices.  My research program aims to develop these nanomaterials for biological applications. My lab is organized into three research themes:

1. Nanoparticle synthesis and characterization 

2. Understanding nanoparticle-biological interactions

3. Design of nanomaterials for biological applications.