Jennifer Chan

Dr. Jennifer Chan



Associate Professor

Cumming School of Medicine, Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine

Institute Director

Arnie Charbonneau Cancer Institute

Full Member

Arnie Charbonneau Cancer Institute

Associate Member

Hotchkiss Brain Institute

Child Health & Wellness Researcher

Alberta Children's Hospital Research Institute

Contact information

Phone number

Office: 403.210.3973
Lab: 403.210.6423


Office: HMRB303

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Preferred method of communication

Admin Assistant

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Office: 403.210.3973


Educational Background

B.S. Biochemistry, Dartmouth College, 1993

Doctor of Medicine Medicine, McGill University, 1998


Dr. Jennifer Chan is the Director of the Arnie Charbonneau Cancer Institute and an Associate Professor in the Department of Pathology & Laboratory Medicine, at the University of Calgary. She received her Bachelor's degree in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from Dartmouth College and MD from McGill University. She then completed clinical training in Anatomic Pathology and Neuropathology at Harvard University. Following a research fellowship at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, she became a staff neuropathologist at Brigham & Women’s Hospital, and the Pathology Leader of the Biological Samples Platform at the Broad Institute. Dr. Chan joined the University of Calgary in 2008, where she has clinical duties in Neuropathology at Foothills Hospital and Alberta Children's Hospital, and has a research lab in the Arnie Charbonneau Cancer Institute. Her research program focuses on the intersection of growth factor signaling and intrinsic determinants such as transcription factor function in cell fate determination and proliferation in neural development and brain cancers. She also directs the Clark Smith Brain Tumor and Pediatric Tumor Bank, and is involved in several collaborative projects to molecularly characterize pediatric and adult brain tumors.



Areas of Research

Area of Focus
  • Brain Tumorigenesis
  • Molecular Mechanisms
Summary of Research

Dr. Chan is a clinician-scientist and an Associate Professor in the Department of Pathology & Laboratory Medicine at the University of Calgary. As a neuropathologist with a focus in oncology, my clinical expertise is in the diagnostic evaluation of pediatric and adult brain tumours. I have expertise in molecular oncology, and also run an active research program in brain tumour biology.

My research program applies concepts from developmental neurobiology to further understand mechanisms of disease in brain tumorigenesis. My lab is examining the intersection of growth factor signaling and intrinsic determinants such as transcription factor function in cell fate determination and proliferation in neural development and cancer. Our work uses somatic transgenesis to introduce genes of interest into neural stem and progenitor cells to model disease, and is supplemented by in vitro studies using brain tumour initiating cells (BTICs). Projects include defining the role of CIC in oligodendrogliomas, and proneural genes in oligodendrogliomas and astrocytomas.  Another major goal is to use these techniques and reagents to develop more rapid and flexible systems for modeling brain tumors in vivo.

Complementing these efforts, my lab is involved in several large collaborative projects that are using next generation sequencing technology to discover new driver mutations in a variety of pediatric and adult brain tumors including medulloblastoma and glioblastoma. These types of human tissue-based studies require high quality, well characterized samples. To this end, I also direct the Clark Smith Neurologic and Pediatric Tumour and Tissue Bank, whose mission is to enable and elevate scientific research as a resource for human tissues, cells, and biomolecules.

Questions regarding access to samples from the tumour bank may be directed to me at the email above, or to


Participation in university strategic initiatives