It is with great sadness that I write to report the death of our colleague, Simon Chan. Simon, 38, passed away on Wednesday, August 22, 2012 after a brief illness. He is survived by his parents, Avril and Robert Chan, and sister, Caron Chan.
Simon was one of the most talented, honest, and kind individuals that I have had the pleasure of working with. Simon spent several years in my laboratory as a postdoctoral fellow and left a huge imprint on our lab, our science, and our lives.
Simon was also one of the most promising young plant biologists of his generation. In June 2011, Simon was among the first plant scientists selected for the inaugural class of investigators funded jointly by HHMI and the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation to support innovative research in the plant sciences, and he was also the youngest recipient, consistent with the fast trajectory of his research career. Simon used Arabidopsis and other plants to understand how chromosomes are inherited during cell division. He discovered ways to dramatically speed up the breeding of plants for desirable traits and developed new plant-breeding tools by manipulating the properties of genetic inheritance.
Simon received his B.SC. from the University of Auckland in New Zealand, his Ph.D. from the University of California, San Francisco, and carried out his postdoctoral research at UCLA. He joined the faculty of the Department of Plant Biology in the College of Biological Sciences at UC, Davis in 2006.
Simon was honored with several awards, including the American Society of Plant Biology Early Career Award and a Basil O’Connor Starter Scholar Award from the March of Dimes. He was an HHMI Predoctoral Fellow from 1997-2002 and a Life Sciences Research Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow from 2003 to 2006.
Simon will be remembered for his scientific brilliance, lively spirit, and contributions to promoting plant science.