08/29/2001 07:00:00

Caltech biologist David Chan selectedas Rita Allen Foundation Scholar

David C. Chan, an assistant professor of biology at the California Institute of Technology, has been named a Rita Allen Foundation Scholar. The award carries a $50,000 stipend for up to three years.

Chan specializes in research on mitochondria, components of the cell important in energy metabolism and also in programmed cell death. Specifically, he investigates the manner in which cells coordinate mitochondrial functions with the development of tissues and organs.

A graduate of Harvard Medical School and MIT, Chan joined the Caltech faculty in January 2000. From 1996 to 1999 he was a postdoctoral researcher at MIT's Whitehead Institute, where he succeeded in determining the crystal structure of the core of the HIV protein gp41. He also did structural analysis of the HIV envelope proteins in cell fusion and infection, and looked at ways the gp41 protein could be disabled to inhibit viral infection.

The Rita Allen Foundation was incorporated in 1953 in New York. The foundation supports medical research in the fields of cancer, cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis, and the treatment of terminal illness, with special emphasis on the development of effective euphoric and analgesic agents.

The Rita Allen Foundation Scholarships program is designed to provide financial support for researchers in the early stages of their careers who show promise of becoming leaders in one of the areas of special interest to the foundation.

Founded in 1891, Caltech has an enrollment of some 2,000 students, and a faculty of about 285 professorial members. The Institute has more than 19,000 alumni. Caltech employs a staff of more than 2,400 on campus and 4,800 at JPL.

Over the years, 28 Nobel Prizes and four Crafoord Prizes have been awarded to faculty members and alumni. Forty-seven Caltech faculty members and alumni have received the National Medal of Science; and eight alumni (two of whom are also trustees), two additional trustees, and one faculty member have won the National Medal of Technology. Since 1958, 13 faculty members have received the annual California Scientist of the Year award. On the Caltech faculty there are 78 fellows of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences; and on the faculty and Board of Trustees, 70 members of the National Academy of Sciences and 46 members of the National Academy of Engineering.

Contact: Robert Tindol (626) 395-3631