Alina Chan

Alina Chan

Formal First Name

Dr. Alina Chan is a molecular biologist specializing in gene therapy and cell engineering. Dr. Chan is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Stanley Center for Psychiatric Research at the Broad Institute of MIT & Harvard, where she creates next generation vectors for human gene therapy. She is a human frontier science program Fellow with over 12 years of Research training in medical genetics, biochemistry, synthetic biology, and vector engineering. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Dr. Chan began to investigate problems relevant to finding the origins of the SARS-CoV-2 virus and in parallel spearheaded the development of the COVID-19 CoV Genetics browser for scientists worldwide to rapidly track virus lineages and mutations by locations and date ranges of interest. Today, Dr. Chan works to transform current genome engineering practices and widen the gap of its biomedical applications towards more complex human diseases and traits.

Academic History


  • Dr. Chan became known for co-authoring a preprint claiming the virus was "pre-adapted" to humans, suggesting it could have escaped from a laboratory.

  • The preprint received a significant reception in the popular press. The New York Times noted that Chan's view has been "widely disputed by other scientists."

  • She detailed her views publicly in long detailed Twitter postings called "tweetorials", and wrote opinion pieces on the subject with science journalist, Matt Ridley.

  • She was one of 18 scientists who signed a letter in Science Magazine calling again for a credible investigation into the origins of the virus.

  • Dr. Chan and Ridley authored a book entitled Viral: The Search for the Origin of COVID-19, published by HarperCollins in November 2021.


  • Dr. Chan investigates the effects of human genetic variation on the efficacy of adeno-associated virus (AAV) variants.

  • Her research aims to advance existing strategies in biomedical research and shift toward more equitable gene therapy and cell engineering.

  • At Broad, she has secured an industry postdoctoral fellowship, and contributed to obtaining 2 grants.

  • She co-authored 3 peer-reviewed articles, 1 open letter in Science and 1 book chapter.


  • Dr. Chan managed a multi-site and interdisciplinary collaboration, and developed experimental pipelines and protocols.

  • She co-wrote grants to secure more than $6M in funding from DARPA, IARPA, and Synberc for the purposes of developing gene editing technologies.

  • She developed a yeast-to-human cell fusion technique to deliver genetic assemblies up to one megabase in size.

  • She won the Human Frontier Science Program Postdoctoral Fellowship  and Natural Science and Engineering Research Council of Canada Postdoctoral Fellowship.


  • Dr. Chan presented in plenaries at 4 international conferences, and was featured in 3 interviews.