Dr. Yuet Wai Kan received his MBBS from the University of Hong Kong Medical School in 1958 and DSc from the University of Hong Kong in 1980. After medical school, he received clinical training at the Queen Mary Hospital, Hong Kong. In 1960, he came to the United States and obtained additional clinical, hematology and research training in Boston, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia and Montreal. In 1970, he joined the faculty of Harvard Medical School and Children’s Hospital, Boston. In 1972, he moved to UCSF where he is currently the Louis K. Diamond Professor of Hematology in the Departments of Medicine and Laboratory Medicine, as well as a member of the Institute for Human Genetics and the Cardiovascular Research Institute.
Dr. Kan’s research work is in the fields of hematology and genetics and he has contributed ~300 articles to scientific journals. He made fundamental contributions to the understanding of the inherited blood diseases sickle cell anemia and thalassemia. He introduced prenatal diagnosis to these diseases, initially using fetal blood analysis. With his demonstration of gene deletion in α-thalassemia, he introduced a DNA test for prenatal diagnosis, the first time DNA test was used in a human disease. Dr. Kan also discovered DNA polymorphism and showed its linkage to the sickle gene, a discovery that opened a new line of research that led to gene discovery as well as evolution studies in genetics, cancer and other diseases.
Dr. Kan has been elected to many learned societies, among which are the Royal Society, London, National Academy of Sciences, USA, Academia Sinica, Taiwan, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing and American Philosophical Society. He was the first Chinese to be elected to the Royal Society in 1981.
For his contributions, Dr. Kan has received many national and international awards that include the Dameshek Award, American Society of Hematology; the George Thorn Award, Howard Hughes Medical Institute; the Allan Award, American Society of Human Genetics; the Gairdner Foundation International Award; the Albert Lasker Clinical Medical Research Award; the Karl Landsteiner Award, American Association of Blood Banks; and the Shaw Prize, Hong Kong.
See more about Y.W. Kan in his UCSF Profile