Large image
Dear Friends and Family,

We are heartbroken to announce the passing of our dear brother, Charles. He passed away with family holding his hands on March 12, 2024.

The loss is devastating and words cannot communicate the pain we feel. It is surreal.

Our brother was a source of strength, courage, and love in our lives. His kindness and compassion touched everyone he knew, and his memory will forever be cherished by those lives he touched.

As we mourn his loss, we also want to celebrate the beautiful life he lived and the countless memories he left us with. Please share your stories, memories, and thoughts for Chuck below. 

We love you Chuck.

- Karen

  • Please visit the "LIFE" page for details about the Celebration of Chuck's Life, including the invitation and RSVP information. This page was last updated on April 17.

  • Updates on the memorial fund and celebration of Chuck's life events are now available on the "LIFE" page (March 26, 2024).
March 15
March 15
I am greatly saddened to hear that you are no longer with us. You have always been kind and warm, and a source of strength and comfort for me during difficult times. I cannot recall how many late night lab sessions we have had together, where your wisdom and humor kept me going the extra mile. Your empathy and presence were constant sources of support for me during those times.

Your passion for science and research was inspirational, and you pushed the boundaries of knowledge greatly with your work. But for you life was always so much more than that. It was about family, friendships, relationships, people, and all the values that makes us better people. You have left the people around you better than when we first met you. I will mourn you and miss you dearly, but I wish you bon voyage on your last journey.

March 15
March 15
   You were such a bright light in our close and large community. Your pure passion for science, generosity in helping people and fun personality will be dearly missed but always remembered. You will continue to be an inspiration to me and many others. 

March 15
March 15
Dear Chuck,

You will be dearly missed in the skeletal stem cell community. Thank you for your brilliant approach to science and most importantly for being such a kind person. I’ll deeply miss our time together talking science, on thesis committees, and at conferences. You let us far too soon, rest in peace.

March 15
March 15
Chuck - thanks for focusing on the bright sides of life, you made the world a better place - I miss you!
March 15
March 15
Chuck was always positive and giving to everyone around him. He always had a smile, a kind word, a hearty hello. He was also very generous with his time, explaining his work to me so that I could publicize it on the institute's website or promote it among journalists. The discovery of the skeletal stem cell by Chuck and his ISCBRM colleagues I think will ultimately rank as one of most important stem cell discoveries. It certainly is the discovery attracting the most public interest. As the institute's communications officer, I get at least one inquiry a day asking about his work. People with terrible stories of excruciating joint pain due to disease or accidents regularly ask if there is yet a clinical trial on cartilage regeneration using skeletal stem cells. And Chuck had a ton of ideas for new technologies and therapies to make clinical use of skeletal stem cells. Chuck's death is such a loss, most importantly for family and friends who loved and appreciated him, but also for Stanford, for society and for the future of medicine.
March 15
March 15
Dear Chuck's family, friends and colleagues,

I had the difficult task of notifying my laboratory of Chuck's untimely passing. What I wrote to them explains how we all felt about a very wonderful and unique person, who touched all of our lives.

Dear Colleagues in the Goodman lab,
It is with great personal sadness that I tell you that our close friend and collaborator Dr. Chuck Chan has passed away.
I have no words to express my grief on the passing of one of the brightest stars and “nicest guys” that I have ever known at Stanford and over my lifetime. Chuck was enormously generous with his time with me and our lab, and was always willing to help us, even with short notice. His scientific discoveries were inspirational and paradigm changing.
We will miss him greatly.
Always remembered, never forgotten.
With great sadness,
Stuart Goodman
March 15
Dear Chuck. The world is a better place, as is Hematopoietic Stem Cell research, because you were a part of it. I feel blessed to have shared with you time in the Weissman lab during your graduate studies. Your kindness, generosity and smile will be forever imprinted on us. You will be missed. Stephanie
March 15
March 15
Dear Chuckles,
I find myself deeply grieving this sad news. When we met I was in a transitional period in my life, looking for my path. Your kindness, support, and generosity were key in my finding that path and the trajectory of my career.
Brilliant, creative, innovative, tireless…. These words only scratch the surface of your character. At campus events you would always take time to speak to my wife and my young children. I remember conversations about Ben 10 and Pokémon that lit up my children’s eyes. You had this innate ability to relate to anyone. Hell, you even took time out from the lab to help my family move off campus.
I still reminisce about our long nights in the lab working on the human skeletal stem cell, our plan to brew beer for the lab retreat. I’m still brewing beer all these years later. I’ll be brewing one for you soon. Something strong and light, full of character seems appropriate.
I’ll miss you dearly old friend. Rest easy knowing that your contributions, not only your pivotal work but your generous spirit, will continue to impact the world for many years to come.
March 15
March 15
When I think about Chuck, the word that really comes to mind is generous. Chuck was always generous, with his time, stopping whatever he was doing to listen; with his brilliance, offering tips and advice on how to solve the issues at hand; with his heart, always seeing the best in people. Chuck - you will be greatly missed.
March 15
Dear Chuck,

Your brilliance illuminated our lives, and your remarkable journey has left an indelible mark on our hearts.

You were genuine, down-to-earth, and brimming with an infectious passion for discovery. You navigated the complexities of academia with grace and determination. Your sense of humor never wavered. We shared laughter over our challenges, from navigating grant applications to mentoring trainees.
Late nights in the flow cytometry suites became a familiar sight, a testament to your unwavering dedication. And those late-night conversations fueled by your relentless pursuit of knowledge will be remembered fondly.

I will forever cherish the memories we shared, the lessons we learned, and the laughter we enjoyed together.
March 15
March 15
Dear Charles

We are heartbroken to lose you. I loved you and will miss you the rest of my life. Since 2002 when we met and started working together we developed a friendship that has lasted all these years. I so much enjoyed our trips and office conversations and all the other fun events we attended together with Wan-Jin and others over the years.

Thank you for your significant contributions to medicine and for working night and day to move your research forward, your never ending kindness to others, and for your excellent character.

March 15
March 15
Dear Chuck,
The Institute will never be the same without your energy, insights, and fearless innovation. I am so saddened by your far too early passing. We will push on with your mission of bringing scientific advances to patients. My deepest condolences to your family.
March 15
Dear Chuck,
the Stem Cell Institute will not be the same without you. Your passion for science, strength and determination were remarkable and an example to many. I will miss our conversations on tissue tolerance, grant writing, life at Stanford and much more. I will miss you! Rest in peace.
Maria Grazia
March 15
March 15
I am very saddened to learn about your sudden departure … I will always remember you as the curious young graduate student who stays up late into the night, doing the seemingly impossible experiments, sometimes looks exhausted but always with a big smile and gentle heart, always happy for others and celebrating with them when the rare success comes our way as scientists. We will miss you truly—Keith
Jie Liu
March 15
March 15
by jj su
It's been wonderful getting to know and work with you recently, even though it's been a short time. Your brilliance, support, and kindness have left a lasting impact. Your passing has left me deeply saddened; it feels too soon. You will be greatly missed.

March 14
March 14
Chuck- such a kind, sweet, generous, brilliant and bright light. 

May his memory be a blessing.

March 14
March 14
It's hard to imagine a Stem Cell Institute without you, Chuck. For as long as I've been a part of this family, so have you. Together with so many others who loved and appreciated you, I know that we will find ways to keep your memory alive here at the Institute. My heart breaks for your family - and to them I offer my deepest condolences.
Heather Gentner
March 14
March 14
Dear Chuck,

I am so heartbroken that you are no longer here with us. I owe you so much. We will miss you every day and everything I do from here on onwards will incorporate all that you have taught me. You have left us way too soon and I am unbelievably sad that we are going to have to find ways to hope, innovate, and live happily without you. You had a brilliance and a determination that I have never seen before. And you were also incredibly kind. I am devastated, but I will also make sure that your unfinished efforts will flourish.

With sadness,
March 14
March 14

Dear Chuckles, as I stand in the shadow of your departure, my heart is heavy with grief. Your kindness, boundless generosity, and unwavering scientific curiosity have left an indelible mark on many, including me. Your infectious smile, will always remain with me, guiding me through the times.

Our conversations, rich with wisdom and laughter, are treasures I will carry close to my heart forever. You had the extraordinary gift of making everyone feel seen and appreciated, a true testament to the beautiful soul you were.

In this moment of sorrow, I find solace in the thought that your legacy of compassion and scientific intrigue will continue to inspire those who knew you. You've shown us the importance of being there for each other, and I promise to uphold that legacy in your honor.

May you find peace in the realms beyond, knowing the love and memories you've left behind will forever be cherished. Your remarkable spirit will always be remembered, and the void left by your absence will be deeply felt. I will always regret that Juni/Anushka never got to work with you. They missed out on a truly one of a kind mentor

With all my love and heartfelt remembrance,
The Sidmeister..
March 14
Dear Chuck,
It is hard to believe you are no longer with us. You were full of energy, kind and always to help and support others.
You will be missed
Jay Rajadas
March 14
Dear big brother,

You were always such a shining light in my life - and you are dearly missed already by me and many. Your life was stolen too quickly, but your flame will surely burn strong in our all of our hearts and minds forever. The impact that you have made on many through your work and your actions has been profound - and I am looking forward to seeing how this continues to shape the world for years to come. We look forward to celebrating you and commemorating you soon (with more info to be shared in the coming weeks).

Love for you always, ~Agnieszka
Page 2 of 2

Leave a Tribute

Light a Candle
Lay a Flower
Leave a Note
Recent Tributes
May 15
Dear Charles,
I met you long ago. You were the super smart kid from the Weisman group in the mouse room next door – and I followed how you over the years developing into a mature brilliant researcher. Today your friends are mourning your untimely passing, but we will always remember your kindness, your generosity, and your contagious smile (even with your mask on). My heart goes out to your wife, Wan-Jin, and your family.
I was lucky to have known you and been your friend.
Grete Sonderstrup
May 14
May 14
I struggled to find the words for this unimaginable tribute. As I fly back to Stanford for your memorial, it sets in that this is real. Chuck, you were the guy who would literally drop everything to help a friend. You taught me what pay-it-forward truly means, from a deep well of generosity and kindness. You helped me so many times in so many ways, more than I'll ever get the chance to repay now. I hope that in your honor I can pay-it-forward EXTRA EXTRA, in Chuck fashion. You were my favorite person to brainstorm crazy ideas with, especially late at night during a long sort. In my SIM1 days, yours was the first door I would knock on when an experiment was in peril and things were going wrong. I wish that I could be there for your trainees the way you were always there for all of us. I guess now I realize why you burned your science candle so bright, from both ends. Your time with us was too short, but you accomplished so much and dreamed up so much more. I'm so sad that you're gone. I've been trying so hard to remember all those crazy ideas, and I cherish those glimpses I got into your brilliant mind. I hope that we can all help bring them to fruition someday. I'll look for ways to help because I can't think of any better way to honor your memory.

Dear Chuck,

I am deeply grateful for the profound impact you've had on my journey as a graduate student. Your passion for science ignited a fire within me and led me to your lab, where I experienced unforgettable growth and learning.

Throughout my studies, your unwavering encouragement, resilience, and kindness were beacons of light, guiding me through both challenges and triumphs. Despite your mentorship role, you remained approachable and ever-eager to lend a helping hand.

Your guidance has shaped me into the scientist I am today, and for that, I am forever thankful. Your legacy will endure in our hearts and through the scientific pursuits you championed. Your absence leaves a void that will be deeply felt, yet your spirit will continue to inspire us all.

With heartfelt gratitude,

His Life

You're Invited: A Celebration of Chuck’s Life

April 17
by Karen Haas on behalf of Wan-Jin Lu
on behalf of Wan-Jin Lu
Dear Friends,

As we navigate through these challenging times, coming to terms with the world without our beloved Chuck, it's important to remember the profound impact he had on each of us. Chuck's legacy is filled with moments of kindness, laughter, and unforgettable memories that continue to inspire and comfort us.

We cordially invite you to join us on May 15, 2024, from 3-6 PM at the Stanford Arrillaga Alumni Center, to celebrate Chuck’s life. The gathering will highlight Chuck’s significant scientific contributions and visions. It will also be a time for you to share your stories and interactions with Chuck, as we reminisce about the good times spent together and honor the memory of a remarkable person who made every moment count.

Please use this link to let us know if you'll be able to join us in person.  If you'd prefer to attend virtually, we're also arranging a Zoom option—If you are interested in joining virtually, please RSVP “No” and when prompted provide your email address so we can send you the link directly.

We're truly looking forward to sharing this special occasion with you, hearing your cherished memories of Chuck, and celebrating his incredible life together.

Warm regards,
Wan-Jin & The Chan family

Honoring the Legacy of Dr. Charles (Chuck) Chan: Memorial Fund Announcement

March 26
by Karen Haas on behalf of Wan-Jin Lu
on behalf of Wan-Jin Lu
Dear Friends and Colleagues,

Chuck leaves behind an enduring legacy in his scientific endeavors and his remarkable personal spirit, cherished by all who knew him. 
In honor of Chuck's impactful contributions, a memorial fund has been established under the Stanford School of Medicine. Memorial donations can be made in the following ways:
  • By Check: Donation checks may be made payable to Stanford University with a memo note of “In memory of Dr. Charles (Chuck) Chan” and mailed to: P.O. Box 20466, Stanford, CA 94309-0466
  • Online: Gifts can also be made online at this secure giving link. Under 'Your gift specifications' mark the gift is in memory of Dr. Charles (Chuck) Chan
  • By phone: Call 650-725-4360 or (toll-free) 866-543-0243 and note you would like to make a gift in memory of Dr. Charles (Chuck) Chan.
  • If you would like to make a gift by another method not listed above, please contact Ting Liu at
Your contributions will honor Chuck's lasting legacy in both his scientific career and his personal spirit. Thank you for ensuring his impact continues to inspire future generations.
March 25
We will keep you informed regarding plans for a Memorial Celebration for Chuck (tentative date: May 15, 2024).

Recent stories
April 24
It’s incredibly difficult for me to express how I feel at this moment. You’ve not only been an exceptional scientist but also a wonderful friend ever since I was sent to your lab by the late Dr. George Yang for training in 2018. Following that, we met in regular basis, and you have given us valuable guidance to establish Dr. Yang’s lab here in Alabama. The loss of Dr. Yang in 2022 was a tough loss for both of us. The year 2022 has been a very tough year and I often lose hope of getting our work published. But you were there with me, encouraged me, helped me, and finally we get that work published in 2023. It is hard to get to know you are no longer with us in such a young age. We have shared many late-night calls and many moments of laughter. We have talked many topics, from science, to career paths, to lifestyle, to the challenges of securing funding nowadays, et al. It has been a great 5 years working remotely with you and you have been a truly valuable friend. If you met Dr. Yang in heaven, say hi for me. Miss both of you dearly.

Charles K.F. Chan Personal Statement (~2001 for Graduate School)

March 20
If I could be anything in the world, I want to be a child again. I want to romp in the fields. I want to spend my time looking under rocks for bugs, digging for grubs or searching for tadpoles. I want to build spaceships out of Lego's, fly them to distant planets, fight epic battles with alien robots and die nobly, in a blinding supernova, all before suppertime. I want to do things that make people stare and not have to care. I want to be an expert on insects, and dinosaurs. Know all their names, and vital statistics. And afterwards, create creatures of my own design that are part insects-part dinosaurs. I want to find things out by myself and believe what I want to believe, not what people tell me to.

I wish to be blessed like some children are, like I was. Blessed with a million futures and dreams that can come true. Blessed with time for tomorrow. Blessed with an unconditional love for one another that is felt but never understood. Blessed with a life that is simple, and uncomplicated.

I clung to my childhood, consciously and subconsciously. I went to Toys R'us often. But though I struggled, I could not hold on. I grew. People began to depend on me. I learned to be responsible, and knowledge and experience took their toll. Nevertheless, I still believe in second chances, in forgive and forget. I try to look for the good in people. And I haven't given up on a better tomorrow.

If I cannot be a child, then let me be a scientist. I've never out grown my love of nature and tirelessly pursued it throughout my life, both in and out of academia. My parents and teachers taught me the basics- how to observe, count, and analyze. Then I gradually leamed to apply these fundamentals to understand the physical world around me. In high school I gained the opportunity to intern in research institutions at local universities. I learned much about the practice of scientific research. I also discovered that the occupation is one of many virtues, and the one of my choice.

Scientists have boundless curiosity and an unrestrained imagination that may be child-like. They live for the future and see far ahead. Indeed, they are visionaries whose fantasies may eventually become our realities. Despite their importance, scientists are often underpaid. I did not understand till I have put in long hours at the bench myself, for the chief compensation of the scientist's work is not monetary but in the satisfaction that is gained from it. Nevertheless, I still feel they should be able to provide well for their families. The wealth of knowledge they do have they share willingly. They encourage competition and cooperation since there is never a shortage of mysteries to be explored. It is also this general benevolence, which helped me select scientific research over other occupations I have considered.

By the time I completed college all my doubts were resolved. I have acquired a detailed understanding of the molecular and mechanistic aspects of life. I am particularly grateful to Professor Ashraf Imam, of U.S.C., Professors Mark Bennett, Hsiao-Ping Moore and Yeon Kyun Shin,  of U.C.Berkeley, and Dr's Michelle Poirier, and Beatriz Quinones of Johns Hopkins and U.C. Berkeley respectively,  for giving me additional, and invaluable opportunities for research training and experience. With their help, I have gained a broad spectrum of skills and knowledge that encompass significant aspects of research in structural biology, biochemistry and cell biology. Specifically, I have learned how to characterize the physical interactions of a class of membrane proteins, the SNAREs, with biochemical techniques and to employ a novel spectroscopy method, known as EPR, to by-pass the limits of crystallization and solve the structure of a protein complex in its native, soluble form.  I spent three years under the tutelage of the Bennett team and as an undergrad, I am most proud of my contributions to projects that led to co-authorships in two successful publications from that lab, one of which details the first successful determination of the structure of the SNARE complex- the likely core machinery of vesicle fusion. Currently, I'm continuing work on the SNARE proteins by following their function in cell lines, and using genetic manipulation ,IF and radioactive techniques to determine, and quantitatively characterize their cellular roles. I am also continuing with work that I started for my honors thesis, which I hope will lead to a publication soon. 

At U.S.C Medical School, I also saw the practical side of science, and discovered how the immune system of mice can be manipulated to distinguish differences between normal and cancerous breast tissue by first tolerizing neonatal mice with normal tissue, followed by inoculation with cancerous tissue. The method leads to the generation of cancer specific antibodies which can be used in diagnosis and therapy. Through all this I have made great strides in my ability to interpret results correctly, and to design experiments that yield easily interpretable results. I learned to work as well in a team as on my own . I learned how to communicate scientifically, and read scientific publications critically. I now know the importance of proper controls and lab notes, and I'm becoming more skilled in the proper choreography of experiments, which is so necessary to the study of sensitive biological systems. I've become proficient in the business of running a lab, by doing my job as the lab tech and dealing with all the little details necessary for optimal lab function. I've learned a lot.  In graduate school, I will complete my training as a scientist and begin my own career of discovery.

I know what I want to find. Since ancient times there were tales of a sacred vessel, amulet, pill, or fountain, which can restore youth and grant eternal life. Though they cannot be disproved, no such fountain of youth exists today. Recently, hope has arisen from a different direction. Research into the mechanisms regulating cell growth and differentiation has brought the impossible into the range of possibility. The birth of Dolly, clonally propagated from a differentiated adult cell, refuted earlier beliefs that cell fate is irreversible. Research on stem cells has revealed how cell fate may be determined by external stimuli. The discovery that even terminally differentiated nerve cells are capable of new growth further underscores the flexibility of cell fates and their ability to be controlled and manipulated. The immediate progression of current research may soon lead to a scenario whereby diseased, or senescent tissue can be replaced with newly generated, artificial ones. Potentially, clonally propagated, genetically engineered livestock that has been tolerized against human tissue antigens can serve as seed beds from which universally histo-compatible organs are grown and harvested.

Gradual refinement of the replacement strategy will greatly improve lifespan, health, and lead to a rough realization of the goal in our lifetime. However, aging may be genetically preprogrammed and even new grafts will eventually age. A better solution may lie in the understanding of the mechanisms that control cell number, those that regulate the flux of cellular life and death. An excellent basis for such studies and the likely focus of my graduate education is the nematode, Caenorhabditis elegans.

These tiny worms present numerous advantages as model organisms. They are easily maintained on bacteria lawns and can be stored in frozen glycerol stocks much like bacteria. The worms are hermaphroditic which simplifies maintenance of mutant lines. Since the genome has been completely sequenced, genetic analysis should be much easier to perform. The cell lineages of all 959 adult cells have also been determined which will limit the complexity of phenotypic analysis. The animals are excellent for the study of many problems pertaining to development and aging.

They have a short life cycle with tightly regulated cell growth and death mechanisms homologous to our own. Longevity mutants of worms have also been isolated, though most seem to rely on preservation of existing cells, not replacement of old ones with new. The worm may also be developed as a bare bone system for the study of non-inherent mechanisms, such as regeneration, that could be introduced through genetic manipulation.

Continuing innovation and new technologies, such as micro-array analysis, bioinformatics, and computer-guided automation are rapidly increasing the rate and scope of biological research. The day may near when we can design completely new cells with new genomes modeled on our own that will have the necessary characteristics to make us ageless. They will have very robust, redundant cell death and growth-regulation mechanisms, which will allow the optimal youthful state of cellular flux to be constantly maintained. Senescent, diseased cells can be cleared through apoptosis and replaced with the proper number of new ones. Totipotent progenitors of these cells can be introduced intravenously. They may rely on mechanisms adapted from lymphocytes to home in and migrate to their target tissue. There, they will target the native cells for removal, while simultaneously differentiating to replace them. Hence the body can be rejuvenated in a lasting way without invasive surgery. However, the surgical discard and replace approach may serve until the new technology has matured.

I've read A. Huxley. I recognize the ethical implications of my views. Historically, science developed with the best of intention has been used for evil purposes. Even plowshares can be bent into swords. Though evil minds will always stir, we cannot lie around prostrate with fear of the future and let them take our dreams away. Evil must be vigilantly guarded against.

With success, there is much that is possible. A longer life-span will allow us to build on a greater base of knowledge then we have ever had. We will have time to explore all the different roles and do all the different things that we have wished to, in real life. There will be time for us to explore multiple areas of science and perhaps even develop new ones. Time will let us realize our dreams. With time, we can afford to be patient, and we will share more willingly. With patience, we may submit to voluntary, reversible sterilization that will help us maintain a sustainable population. With effort, peace will last until we can take to the stars to escape the great danger of self-imposed human extinction that is so prevalent these days. With luck, we may watch our young ones play on green fields one day, completely care free, knowing they are safe. They will have much to learn, but they will have time to enjoy a rich and full childhood, and when they step into adulthood, it will not be far from what they were as children.

I do not know if I will succeed. I do not think it is an impossible dream though it may seem like one. Already there are many who are directly or indirectly moving towards the same goal as my own. I hope to join them and I hope to bring others to join us. We will try as long as we have time. And as long as we have time, we will hope.

Your legacy lives on

March 16
Dearest Chuck,

Your zest for life, passion for science, patience and guidance as a mentor, kindness and warm as a dear friend will be so missed. From the moment we first met in January 2016 when you kindly picked me up from the Caltrain to meet with Dr Longaker you showed me nothing but kindness. You were like my academic big brother…funny, cool, super smart and charming. We had such fun over the years and discovered some amazing things! Even in the depths of those overnight experiments you always made it fun…you made work fun and life fun. Without exception you brought a smile to my face every time we talked. Dear Chuck we had so many dreams and aspirations…and in your honour those aspirations will come to be. You live on in all those you mentored and all those who had the opportunity to bear witness to your genius! You will always be an inspiration to us all. Rest in peace my dear friend. Síocháin air/ Rest in Peace.

Invite others to Charles' website:

Invite by email

Post to your timeline