Anthony Chan, Ph.D.


Office: Yerkes, Neuroscience Research Building, 2212

Phone: 404-712-8347


Additional Contact Information

Mailing Address:

Department of Human Genetics, Emory University School of Medicine, Division of Neuroscience

Yerkes National Primate Research Center, Rm.2212 Neuroscience Research Bldg.
954 Gatewood Rd NE

Atlanta, GA 30329


Anthony Chan was born in Hong Kong and received his Veterinarian degree at the National Taiwan University in Taiwan, Republic of China. He attended graduate school at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and trained in the field Endocrinology and Reproductive Physiology. He has created the first transgenic monkey in 2001 and the first transgenic monkey model of human inherited genetic disease, Huntington’s disease, in 2008.

Research Interests

My laboratory is focused on the development of a nonhuman primate model (NHP) of Huntington’s disease (HD) that is not only physiologically comparable to humans but also carries a mutant huntingtin (HTT) gene that leads to HD as well as developing an Alzheimer’s disease (AD) monkey model. In addition to creating primate model, my laboratory also interested in developing functional knock-out and gene-targeted primate model of recessive genitive disorders. Although an animal model is important, it is not without limitations, since a stem cell model that could recapitulate key pathological events in HD and AD and parallel neural development is a useful system to investigate the impact of developmental events on disease progression. This leads to our interest in the applications of pluripotent stem cells, a useful tool for modeling disease development and developing personal cell therapy. My lab is also working with dental pulp stromal/stem cells (DPSCs), adult stromal cells that are promising cell sources for cell therapy for any individual at any ages. While we are the first to demonstrate the therapeutic potential of DPSCs in central nervous system repair, we realize one of the major challenges in the development of gene and cell therapy is the limitation of in vivo assessment of the cell grafts. To prepare ourselves for future cell therapy study, we have developed two transgenic MRI reporters which include the MagA and ferritin genes.

Development of a transgenic nonhuman primate model of human inherited genetic disorders

Rodents have been the most popular animal models for inherited neurodegenerative disorders such as Huntington's, Alzheimer's, etc. However, due to their physiological and genetic differences from humans, the progression of disease is often difficult to interpret. Therefore, one of our missions is to develop a non-human primate model with a modified genetic background similar to that of a human patient to understand the disease and the development of efficacious medication. Because of the close genetic background and physiological resemblance with humans, monitoring disease development in non-human primates will provide invaluable information for accurate justification of novel medications, therapeutic procedures and the understanding of the diseases. We are currently developing a nonhuman primate model of Huntington's and Alzheimer's disease.

The biology and therapeutic applications of adult and embryonic stem cells

Embryonic stem (ES) cells hold great promise in treating diseases like Parkinson's and other neurodegenerative diseases. However, differentiation control of ES cells is not yet clearly understood. Our goal is to establish a comparative model using rodent, non-human primate and human stem cells to understand the differentiation control, and we aim to identify the turning point of disease onset during development. We are also investigating the potential of therapeutic cloning and induced pluripotent stem cells as an alternative cell source using our transgenic monkeys as a model, which can then be used for evaluating their therapeutic potential. Our goal is to develop a non-human primate model to examine the potential of alternative approaches for deriving personal stem cells, thus the efficacy and safety of such a therapeutic scheme can be determined prior to clinical applications in humans. In addition to ES cells, adult stem cells are also being investigated as an alternative source in cell therapeutic study. Besides bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells (BMSCs), one of our interests is to investigate the potential of dental pulp stem cells (DPSCs) as an alterative cell source for personal cell therapy.

Development of a noninvasive imaging reporter

Cell replacement therapy holds the greatest promise for treating neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson's and Huntington's, which is supported by encouraging results from both clinical and basic science studies. Despite the rapid advances in research on embryonic or adult stem cells, and increasing evidence of positive outcomes, clinical translations with stem cells have been limited. One major hurdle for the clinical application of cell replacement therapies is the risk of tumorigenesis and immuno-rejection. One major limitation is the ability to monitor cell grafts in vivo, thus the evaluation of therapeutic functions and conditions of cell grafts cannot be closely correlated to the clinical symptoms. Even in animal studies, the status of cell grafting cannot be evaluated until the animals are sacrificed for histologic examination. Our goal is to develop a transgenic MRI reporter, thus non-invasive and long term imaging could be performed in animal models for the evaluation of cell therapeutic efficacy and the spatial-temporal distribution of the cell graft without the use of invasive procedures.


  • DVM, Veterinary Medicine, National Taiwan University, 1989
  • PhD, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Endocrinology and Reproductive Physiology Program, 1997


Anthony W.S. Chan, Pei-Haun Cheng, Adam Neumann and Jin-Jing Yang (2010) Reprogramming Huntington Monkey Skin Cells into Pluripotent Stem Cells. Cellular Reprogramming (In Press)

B.Snyder, A. M. Chiu, D. Prockop and Anthony W.S. Chan (2010) Human Multipotent Stromal Cells (MSCs) Increase Neurogenesis and Decrease Atrophy of the Striatum in a Transgenic Mouse Model for Huntington’s Disease. PLoS One 5(2):e9347. PMID: 20179764

Chuti Laowtammathron,  Eric Ching-Hsun Cheng, Pei-Hsun Cheng, Brooke R. Snyder, Shang-Hsun Yang, Zach Johnson, Chanchao Lorthongpanich, Hung-Chih Kuo, Rangsun Parnpai and Anthony W.S. Chan (2010) Huntington’s Monkey Hybrid Stem Cells Develop Cellular Features of Huntington’s Disease. BMC Cell Biology 11:12. PMID: 20132560

Anthony W.S. Chan (2009). Transgenic primate research paves the path to a better animal model: are we a step closer to curing inherited human genetic disorders? J Mol Cell Biol 1(1):13-14. PMID:19671628

Anthony W.S. Chan and Shang-Husn Yang (2009). Generation of Transgenic Monkeys with Human Inherited Genetic Disease. Methods 2009 May 23 [Epub ahead of print] PMID: 19467335.

J. Liu, E.C.H. Cheng, R.C. Long Jr., S.H. Yang, L. Wang, P.H. Cheng, J.J. Yang, D. Wu, H. Mao and Anthony W.S. Chan (2009) Noninvasive Monitoring of Embryonic Stem Cells in vivo with MRI Transgene Reporter. Tissue Engineering Part C Methods. 2009 Mar 16. [Epub ahead of print] PMID: 19290800

Karolina Piotrowska-Nitsche, Shang-Hsun Yang, Heather Banta and Anthony WS Chan (2009) Assisted fertilization and embryonic axis formation in higher primates. RBM Online 18(3): 382-390. PMID:19298738.

Shang-Hsun Yang, Pei-Hsun Cheng, Heather Banta, Karolina Piotrowska-Nitsche, Jin-Jing Yang, Eric C.H. Cheng, Brooke Snyder, Jun Liu, Katherine Larkin, Jack Orkin, Zhihui Fang, Yoland Smith, Jocelyne Bachevalier, Stuart M.  Zola, Shihua Li, Xiao-Jiang Li  and Anthony WS Chan (2008) Toward a Transgenic Model of Huntington’s Disease in the Nonhuman Primate. Nature 453(7197): 921-924. PMID:18488016

Anderson Hsien-Cheng Huang, Brooke R. Snyder, Pei-Hsun Cheng, Anthony W.S. Chan (2008) Dental pulp stem/stromal cells promote proliferation and differentiation of endogenous neural cells in the hippocampus of mice. Stem Cells 26: 2654-2663. PMID: 18687995. doi:10,1634/stemcells.2008-0285.

Omar Zurkiya, Xiaoping Hu*, Anthony W.S. Chan* (2008) MagA is sufficient for producing magnetosomes in mammalian cells in vivo making it an MRI reporter. Magnetic Resonance Medicine 59:1225-1231. *These authors contributed equally to this work and are co-correspondence. PMID:18506784 

 Pei-Hsun Cheng, Brooke Snyder, Dimitri Fillos, Chris C. Ibegbu, Anderson Hsien-Cheng Huang, and Anthony W.S. Chan (2008) Postnatal Stem/Progenitor Cells Derived from the Dental Pulp of Adult Chimpanzee. BMC Cell Biology (9) 20. PMID: 18430234 

Chan, A.W.S., T. Dominko, C.M. Luetjens, E, Neuber,  C. Martinovich, L. Hewitson, C. Simerly, and G. Schatten. (2000). Clonal propagation of primate offspring by embryo splitting. Science 287:317-319. PMID:10634789 

Chan, A.W.S., E. J. Homan, L.B. Ballou, J.C. Burns and R.D. Bremel. (1998) Transgenic cattle produced by reverse-transcribed gene transfer in oocytes.  Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 95: 14028-14033. PMID:9826647

Chan, A.W.S., K.Y. Chong, C. Martinovich, C. Simerly, and G. Schatten. (2001). Transgenic monkeys produced by retroviral gene transfer into mature oocytes. Science 291:309-312. PMID: 11209082