Profile: Brian Chan

by | Dec 15, 2023 | Becker Profiles | 0 comments

Meet Brian Chan, a Research Technician and 4th-floor AV Hill Lab Manager based in the Allen Lab. In this Becker Profile find out how Brian discovered his love of parasites in Glasgow which then led to a career path working on various research projects in Hertfordshire, Edinburgh, and Pennsylvania delivering the essential components for experiments before joining us here at The University of Manchester. Brian is also a keen photographer (he’s responsible for our Becker Profile and event photography) but read on to find out what else he likes to do outside of the lab!

Please introduce yourself and tell us about your background in research 

I have been a Research Technician/Lab Manager with Prof. Judi Allen since 2016. I maintain the parasite life cycles, help run experiments, and make sure the lab runs smoothly. I am also the 4th-floor AV Hill Lab Manager and I’m the go-to person for anything lab-related.

I was born and bred in Scotland. I did an HND in Biological Sciences at Napier University, Edinburgh. I then went on to study Microbiology at the University of Glasgow. During the infectious diseases module, I fell in love with parasites so I changed course and did a BSc in Parasitology. After my degree, I worked as a Research Technician on “parasite drug resistance in domestic animals” and “cat flea control” as well as parasite diagnostics at the Royal Veterinary College, Hertfordshire. Following that I joined the University of Edinburgh as a Research Assistant working on the evolutionary ecology of parasites on projects “Sex as an immune evasive strategy” using Strongyloides ratti and “Within host competition” using a rodent malaria model.

I then relocated to Pennsylvania State University, USA working on a fungal entomopathogen for malaria control. After 3.5 years living stateside I returned to the UK and settled in Manchester. I worked as a Research Technician on the epigenetic effects of pollutants using Daphnia as a model system at the University of Liverpool. After that grant ended I joined Cancer Research UK Manchester Institute working on ex vivo lung cancer models. Not long after I joined CRUK I heard that Judi Allen was coming to The University of Manchester. I knew Judi from my Edinburgh days, so I got in touch and discussed vacancies in her lab. Soon after I resigned from CRUK on April 1st, they thought I was joking……….and a month later I joined the Allen lab!


What excites you about your research right now?   

I am in a different position to PhD students and post-docs. What excites me is seeing them progress and helping them gain results. Our research relies on parasitic worms to elicit the immune response with which they study. My job is to deliver those worms. The start of an experiment is always my favorite part. After weeks or months of planning, I provide them with worms and they can start their experiment.

What are your career goals  

At this stage in my life, I am happy where I am- I’ve moved enough times! As long as there is a job here at Manchester I will stay until I retire.

What’s great about immunology at Manchester 

I know this sounds a bit cliché but it’s the people!

There is such a great breadth and depth of knowledge here and people are more than happy to share what they know. Great bunch of people.

What do you enjoy doing in your free time?  

In my free time, I tend to my chickens and axolotlys (paedomorphic salamanders). I also enjoy gardening and creating areas in my garden to attract wildlife.

I also do Brazilian jiu-jitsu (when my body can take it!) and go for hikes with the dog.

Being a hobbyist photographer I enjoy being out and about with my camera. It’s an advantage of living near the Peak District and Manchester. I have the best of both worlds for taking pics of both types of jungle!

Follow Brian on Twitter: @Labninja2

Check out Brian’s photography on Instagram: ninjamaster_318