University of Toronto
Many researchers around the world see enormous potential for nanotechnology, such as quantum dots. Most of the attention, however, is focused on their use in silicon chips, solar technology and other industrial-type uses.
Warren Chan is a global leader in the field of nanotechnology and is breaking new ground in an important area: using quantum dots in biomedical applications. Dr. Chan, together with a colleague, was among the first to demonstrate the use of quantum dots as a contrast agent for biomedical imaging. Another important discovery has been how the size and shape of nanoparticles can influence how they are transported in cells and throughout the body. This has opened a new field of study in nanotechnology known as “nano-bio interaction.”
Dr. Chan, a 2013 recipient of an NSERC Steacie Fellowship, is now leading the development of nanotechnology-based handheld diagnostic tools. This handheld-sized device would be capable of screening for biological molecules that indicate the presence of pathogens. The tool would be especially beneficial in the developing world and could be used to detect HIV, Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C, malaria and syphilis. Chan has co-founded two companies, including one Cytodiagnostics that has positive revenue and is one of the top five nano-biotechnology companies in the world. He also contributes to national and international agencies examining the impact of nanomaterials and developing regulations governing their use.