Brandeis Inside Out: Urann Chan ’16
Brandeis’ hands-on research opportunities helped prepare the science major for graduate school.
Urann Chan ’16 knew Brandeis was the school for him shortly after he first set foot on campus and met students.
The neuroscience and biology double major was impressed by students’ openness, diversity and commitment to social justice. And he immediately appreciated Brandeis’ research opportunities for undergraduates.
“Brandeis is very hands-on and the faculty are incredibly collaborative,” said Chan. “It’s a small school with small class sizes. Students and research are the focus.”
Even as a first-year, Chan was able to study neurocircuitry and the connections between brain cells in the lab of Eve Marder, the Victor and Gwendolyn Beinfield Professor of Neuroscience.
The following year, Chan switched to associate biology professor Suzanne Paradis’ lab, where he has since researched how neurons form connections and brain cells develop.
Paradis also became one of Chan’s mentors.
“I want to get my PhD and this has put me on that track," said Chan, who will start a graduate program in neurobiology at Duke University next year. “Dr. Paradis all along has been all in for me. She told me, ‘I’ll do whatever it takes to help you.’”
Beyond his work in the classroom and in the lab, Chan is proud of his involvement in campus life. Chan, who immigrated to the Boston area from Cambodia at age 6, is on the leadership board of Student Support Services, which offers resources to first-generation college students who have overcome significant barriers to attend Brandeis.
“This place is very inclusive and students are openminded,” Chan said. “My friends come from diverse backgrounds and we mesh together very well. I love it here.”