Professional Profile

image for Fan, Timothy M

Fan, Timothy M

Professor, Veterinary Clinical Medicine
Professor, Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology
Professor, Pathobiology
Assistant Head, Research and Graduate Studies, Veterinary Clinical Medicine
1008 W. Hazelwood Drive
38 Small Animal Clinic
M/C 004
Urbana, IL  61802


  • PhD, University of Illinois
  • DVM, Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine
  • BS, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

Professional Certifications

  • Diplomate, American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine (Internal Medicine)
  • Diplomate, American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine (Medical Oncology)

Research Interests

Comparative oncology is the study of tumor histologies which closely share similar biology, genetics, and clinical behavior among various vertebrate species. A major theme of the Comparative Oncology Research Laboratory is to conduct anticancer research which can benefit both companion animals and human beings. By evaluating novel drugs or drug delivery strategies in dogs with spontaneously-arising tumor, the Comparative Oncology Research Laboratory is able to collaborate with basic scientists and aid in the investigation and characterization of novel anticancer treatment strategies. Through these joint studies, investigational therapies can be studied in large mammalians which develop tumors naturally, providing an experimental model system which most accurately mimics cancer development and progression in people.

Academic Interests

Investigating how the local bone tumor microenvironment participates in osteosarcoma progression and metastases is a major academic interest of the Comparative Oncology Research Laboratory. Specifically through the use bone tumor models, including dogs and mice, a greater understanding for how global and focal bone resorption participates in osteosarcoma invasiveness remains an area of active research and study. Such research offers the possibility of determining early key events which take place at the site of primary bone tumor development that ultimately influences the biologic behavior of osteosarcoma.


show listCourses Taught

  • Companion Animal Medicine III
  • Clinical Procedures and Problem Solving II
  • Advances in Molecular Oncology
  • Medical Oncology Rotations
  • Principals of Animal Nutrition
  • Pharmacology II
  • Concepts/Topics Immunology
  • Diagnostic Surgical Pathology and Exfoliate Cytology
  • Concepts in Pathology
  • Comparative Oncologic Pathology

show listBiography

  • Dr. Fan received his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine Degree at Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine in 1995. He completed a Small Animal Rotating Internship at the University of Illinois from 1995 to 1996. Following the completion of his internship, Dr. Fan fulfilled a Small Animal Internal Medicine Residency at Cornell University in 1998. Following his stay at Cornell, Dr. Fan returned to the University of Illinois to receive advanced clinical training in the subspecialty of Medical Oncology. Dr. Fan completed his Board Certification in Internal Medicine in 2000 and in Medical Oncology in 2001. Following the completion of Dr. Fan's clinical training, he pursued and completed a PhD in Tumor Immunology, whereby he investigated the anticancer effects of cytokine manipulation strategies for the treatment of locally-invasive and metastatic tumors in mouse models of disease.
  • Upon completion of his PhD in 2007, Dr. Fan became the principal investigator of the Comparative Oncology Research Laboratory housed in the Small Animal Clinic, Department of Veterinary Clinical Medicine. Dr. Fan's laboratory works closely with other basic scientists for evaluating novel drugs or drug delivery strategies for the treatment of cancer. Uniquely, Dr. Fan's training as a scientist and veterinarian has allowed him the opportunity to rapidly investigate and translate novel treatment strategies in dogs with spontaneously-arising cancers, and conduct meaningful comparative oncology research which is hoped to eventually aid in treating cancer in not only companion animals, but also human beings.

show listTeaching Statement

To learn is an active and ever-ongoing process, which requires constant nurturing and care. As such, it is necessary to instill in burgeoning students a sense of curiosity and motivation, which together will forge the most fertile and conducive environment for academic growth and exploration.

show listResearch Biography

The Comparative Oncology Research Laboratory is a nationally recognized clinical research program which focuses on utilizing dogs with spontaneous tumors as comparative models of human disease, expediting the drug development pathway and the identification of biologically relevant therapeutic options. Our laboratory has developed scientific collaborations with a nucleus of academicians and scholars on and off the Urbana campus interested in malignant bone destruction, tumor cell metastases, and the evaluation of novel anticancer agents. Because the study of cancer is complex, a spontaneous tumor model, such as pet dogs, offers both basic and clinical cancer researchers unique opportunities to evaluate cutting-edge diagnostics and therapies most relevant for the management of human disease. Currently, our laboratory works together with scientists specializing in synthesizing anticancer small molecules and nanoparticle fabrication.

show listOther Campus Affiliations

Institute for Genomic Biology-Affiliate professor in the Cellular Decision Making in Cancer Research Theme

show listCurrent Projects

  • Investigating procaspase-3 activators as novel anticancer agents
  • Evaluation of nanoparticles for the delivery of anticancer drugs to cancer cells

show listGrants

  • Competitive Revision- Small Molecule Activators of Procaspases as Anti-Cancer Agents
  • Developing Monodisperse Nanoparticles for Cancer Targeting and Tumor Penetration
  • Phase I Trial-Development of Bone-Seeking Nanoparticles Encapsulating Doxorubicin for Canine Appendicular Osteosarcoma
  • Investigating a Procaspase-3 Activator for the Treatment of Canine Lymphoma
  • R25-Cancer Nanotechnology Training Centers- M-CNTC: Midwestern Cancer Nanotechnology Training Center
  • T35 Summer Training in Translational Biomedical Research (2T35RR020292-06)

show listPast Projects

Investigating antiresorptive therapies for the palliative management of malignant osteolysis using the dog as a naturally-occurring tumor model of bone cancer

show listHonors and Awards

Chicago Veterinary Medical Association Outstanding Instructor Award

show listSelected Publications

  • Peterson QP, Hsu DC, Novotny CJ, West DC, Schmit JM, Dirikolu L, Hergenrother PJ, Fan TM. Discovery and canine preclinical assessment of a non-toxic procaspase-3 activating compound. Cancer Res. Sept 2010.
  • Fan TM. Animal models of osteosarcoma. Expert Reviews of Anticancer Therapy. September 2010, Vol. 10, No. 8, 1327-1338.
  • Paoloni M, Mazcko C, Fox E, Fan TM, Lana S, Kisseberth W, Vail D, Nuckolls K, Osborne T, Yalkowsy S, Gustafson D, Yu Y, Cao L, Khanna C. Rapamycin Pharmacokinetic and Pharmacodynamic Relationships in Osteosarcoma: A Comparative Oncology Study in Dogs. PLoS One. 2010 Jun 8;5(6):e11013.
  • Lucas PW, Schmit JM, Peterson QP, West DC, Hsu DC, Novotny CJ, Dirikolu L, Churchwell MI, Doerge DR, Garrett LD, Hergenrother PJ, Fan TM. Pharmacokinetics and derivation of an anticancer dosing regimen for PAC-1, a preferential small molecule activator of procaspase-3, in healthy dogs. Invest New Drugs. 2010.
  • Tong R, Coyle VJ, Tang T, Barger AM, Fan TM, Cheng J. Polylactide Nanoparticles Containing Stably-Incorporated Cyanine Dyes for In Vitro and In Vivo Imaging Applications. Microsc Res Tech. 2010 Sep;73(9):901-9
  • Tong R, Yala L, Fan TM, Cheng J. The formulation of aptamer-coated paclitaxel-polylactide nanoconjugates and their targeting to cancer cells. Biomaterials. 2010 Apr;31(11):3043-53.
  • Dirikolu L, Chakkath T, Fan TM, Mente NR. Synthesis of trans- and cis-4'-Hydroxylomustine and Development of Validated Analytical Method for Lomustine and trans- and cis-4'-Hydroxylomustine in Canine Plasma. J Anal Toxicol. 2009 Nov-Dec;33(9):595-603.
  • Fan TM, S.C. Charney, L.P. de Lorimier, L.D. Garrett, D.J. Griffon, W.J. Gordon-Evans, J.M. Wypij. Double-Blind Placebo-Controlled Trial of Adjuvant Pamidronate with Palliative Radiotherapy and Intravenous Doxorubicin for Canine Appendicular Osteosarcoma Bone Pain. J Vet Intern Med. 2009 Jan-Feb;23(1):152-160.
  • Fan TM, Barger AM, Sprandel IT, Fredrickson RL. Investigating the expression of TrkA in canine osteosarcoma. J Vet Intern Med. 2008 Sep-Oct;22(5):1181-8.
  • Fan TM, Barger AM, Fredrickson RL, Fitzsimmons D, Garrett LD. Investigating the expression of CXCR4 in canine osteosarcoma. J Vet Intern Med. 2008 May-Jun;22(3):602-8.
  • Fan TM, Kranz DM, Flavell RA, Roy EJ. Costimulatory Strength Influences the Differential Effects of Transforming Growth Factor 1 for the Generation of CD8+ Regulatory T Cells. Mol Immunol. 2008 May;45(10):2937-50.
  • Fan TM, de Lorimier LP, Garrett LD, Lacoste HI. The Bone Biologic Effects of Intravenous Zoledronate in Healthy Dogs and Dogs with Malignant Osteolysis. J Vet Intern Med. 2008 Mar-Apr;22(2):380-7.
  • Barger AM, Fan TM, de Lorimier LP, et al. Expression of receptor activator of nuclear factor kappa-B ligand (RANKL) in neoplasms of dogs and cats. J Vet Intern Med. 2007 Jan-Feb;21(1):133-40.
  • Fan TM, de Lorimier LP, O'Dell-Anderson K, et al. Single-agent pamidronate for palliative therapy of canine appendicular osteosarcoma bone pain. J Vet Intern Med. 2007 May-Jun;21(3):431-9.
  • Fan TM, Kranz DM, Roy EJ. Enhancing antitumor immunity: combining IL-12 with TGF1 antagonism. J Immunother (1997). 2007 Jul-Aug;30(5):479-89.
  • Additional Publications

show listProfessional Affiliations

  • Veterinary Cancer Society
  • American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine

show listService Activities

  • Comparative Oncology Trials Consortium member
  • Canine Comparative Oncology and Genomics Consortium member

show listResources

show listKey Words

  • Comparative Oncology
  • Bone tumor microenvironment
  • Novel anticancer compounds
  • Drug delivery strategies