Gordon Chan, PhD

Associate Professor, Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry - Oncology Dept


Associate Professor, Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry - Oncology Dept
(780) 432-8433
Cross Cancer Institute
11560 University Avenue
Edmonton AB
T6G 1Z2


Area of Study / Keywords

Microtubule mitosis drug inhibitor cell cycle synthetic lethality drug resistance mechanism


PhD in Medical Biochemistry, University of Calgary, Alberta, Canada

supervisor: Dr. David Bazett-Jones

Post-doctoral training at the Institute for Cancer Research, Fox Chase Cancer Center, Philadelphia, USA

supervisor: Dr. Tim Yen


We have three main areas of research: (i) the role(s) of the RZZ complex in mitotic checkpoint regulation and (ii) the role of the mitotic checkpoint in mitotic catastrophe (iii) cell cycle kinases Wee1 and Myt1 synthetic lethality in breast cancer. 

(i) The RZZ complex consists of three proteins, Rod, Zw10 and Zwilch. They are kinetochore proteins that recruit the microtubule motor, dynein/dynactin, to kinetochores but were found to be also essential for the mitotic checkpoint. The RZZ complex is essential for the recruitment of the mitotic checkpoint effector Mad2 to kinetochores. The exact mechanism is still unknown. We are using molecular, biochemical and cell biological approaches to study the structure and function of the mitotic checkpoint apparatus in order to understand the underlying mechanism. (ii) Mitotic catastrophe is a cell death phenomenon that has been observed, however, there is not a molecular marker and the mechanism of action is not known. We are following up on the findings that genotoxic treatments of cancer cells often result in checkpoint adaptation and ultimately mitotic catastrophe. We have observed that prolonged mitotic arrest and centromere fragmentation often accompany mitotic catastrophe. We are examining the role of the mitotic checkpoint in this cell death process. (iii) Wee1 and Myt1 are cell cycle kinases that mediate inhibitory Cdk1 phosphorylation. In addition to being important for regulating the G2/M checkpoint, they are also essential for inhibiting Cdk1 activity at the end of mitosis. MK-1775 is a small molecule inhibitor of Wee1 kinase activity and is currently undergoing Phase I/II clinical trial for multiple cancers. We have identified the Myt1 kinase as a resistance factor for MK-1775 in breast cancers. We are examining the mechanism of Myt1 function in mediating MK-1775 resistance.


ONCOL 570, Directed Reading in Experimental Oncology, course coordinator

ONCOL 520, Tumor Biology, course coordinator

ONCOL 425, Advance Topics in Cancer Research, instructor for Module 3, Mitosis and Aneuploidy in Cancer

Research opportunities

Research training is available for undergraduate summer students, undergraduate research project students (398, 399, 498, 499 courses), undergraduate co-op students, graduate students and post-doctoral fellows. Individuals interested in graduate work in Oncology in my laboratory should have a strong background in molecular biology, biochemistry and/or cell biology, since research projects typically involve the use of platform technologies from these disciplines. Funding for students and fellows is available through application to competitive agencies (e.g., Alberta Innovates, CIHR, NSERC, Alberta Cancer Foundation, CRINA) or from operating grants to the Chan research program.


ONCOL 520 - Tumor Biology

The course will provide an introduction to the basic science of oncology. Topics to be covered comprise: the genetic basis of cancer, including the role of proto-oncogenes and tumor suppressor genes; mechanisms of carcinogenesis and radiation-sensitivity, including DNA repair and cell cycle control; the molecular basis of tumor metastasis, including tumor cell invasion, extravasation and dormancy; the role of inflammation in cancer initiation and progression; angiogenesis; cancer genetics, and epigenetics; cell signaling; experimental therapeutics; cancer stem cells; drug-resistance; metabolism and palliation. Course offered in alternate (even-numbered) years. Prerequisites: BIOCH 200, and one of the following: BIOCH 320 or 330 or ONCOL 320.

Browse more courses taught by Gordon Chan

Scholarly Activities

Research - Associate Editor

2020 to 2022

Section of Cell Growth and Division, Frontiers in Cell and Developmental Biology

Admin - Chair, Cancer Science Graduate Coordinating Committee

Started: 2020-09-01

The role of the GCC is to uphold standards of academic excellence within the specialization and the program.

  • To set regulations for students within the specializations (including course requirements)
  • To select students for admission to the program
  • To assist in facilitating appropriate supervisor-student pairings
  • To ensure that the students’ supervisory committees are struck within one year of commencing the graduate program
  • To review the membership of supervisory committees, Ph.D. candidacy examination committees, and M.Sc. and Ph.D. thesis committees
  • To ensure that each supervisory committee meets at least once a year
  • To monitor the progress of graduate students within the specializations by annual review of the FGSR Student Progress Report form
  • To make recommendations, in consultation with the supervisor, for the appropriate action in the event that a student fails a course or courses
  •  For the Cancer Sciences specialization, to provide constructive feedback to the students on their Ph.D. proposals and make recommendations to the supervisor and supervisory committee regarding the suitability of the candidate, the approach and the project for a Ph.D. degree
  • To facilitate career development of graduate students
  • To act as the interim supervisor for rotational students, and for students who are without a supervisor                                                                         


Cancer Sciences Graduate Program

Research - Editorial board member

2020 to 2022


Admin - Organizer

Started: 2013-05-01

Department of Oncology Summer Student program

  • responsible for orientation of the summer research students
  • responsible for organizing the annual Department of Oncology summer student presentations

Research - Peer review panel chair

Started: 2022-03-30

Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research, Scholar program, Biomedical Research Review Panel

Research - peer review panel member

Started: 2022-11-01

CIHR Project Grant Cancer Biology and Therapeutics (CBT) 

Research - peer review panel member

2020-11-01 to 2022-05-15

CIHR Project Grant Cancer Biology and Therapeutics (CBT2)

Research - peer review panel member

Started: 2022-03-22

CancerCare Manitoba Foundation, Scientific Advisory Committee Review Panel

Research - Peer review panel member

2018-03-30 to 2021-05-10

Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research, Scholar program, Biomedical Research Review Panel

Featured Publications

Jiang B., Murray C., Cole B.L., Glover J.N.M., Chan G.K., Deschenes J., Mani R.S., Subedi S., Nerva J.D., Wang A.C., Lockwood C.M., Mefford H.C., Leary S.E.S., Ojemann J.G., Weinfeld M., Ene C.I.

Scientific Reports. 2022 December; 12 (1):5386 10.1038/s41598-022-09097-w

Bukhari A.B., Chan G.K., Gamper A.M.

Frontiers in Oncology. 2022 February; 12 10.3389/fonc.2022.828684

Muslimin R., Nishiura N., Teshima A., Do K.M., Kodama T., Morita H., Lewis C.W., Chan G., Ayoub A.T., Arakawa K.

BIOORGANIC & MEDICINAL CHEMISTRY. 2022 January; 53 10.1016/j.bmc.2021.116551

Roy K., Lewis C.W., Chan G.K., Bhattacharjee D.

Biochemistry and Cell Biology. 2021 January; 99 (2):261-271 10.1139/bcb-2020-0395

View additional publications