Dr. Thomas Tan

Thomas Tan, PhD
Biotechnology Undergraduate Alumnus
Director and Head of Cellular and Translational Immunology
EMD Serono Research and Development Institute
Billerica, MA


Seng-Lai "Thomas" Tan earned a B.S. degree as a graduate of our Biotechnology Program. During that time, he participated in undergraduate research with both Dr. Lebowitz and Dr. Conlin. He credits his time in those labs as his "most memorable experiences." In addition, he felt that our Biotechnology program "more than prepared" him for graduate school, in part because the program is "innovative in that the award the B.S. or M.S. degree was contingent upon the successful completion of an undergraduate thesis project under the close tutelage of your chosen faculty member."

Thomas provided many glowing comments about our department and the Biotechnology program in a recent questionaire. He said, I felt that the faculty genuinely cared about the students because they always pushed and challenged them to think outside of the box. Under such an environment, you couldn’t help but feel motivated to work hard and put in the extra work after class." He went on to say, "I think MSU’s Biological Sciences graduates stand out not only because they are well-equipped with the fundamentals, but they also develop an appreciation and respect for the practical applications of science."

After graduation from Minnesota State Mankato, Thomas joined the graduate program of the Department of Microbiology at the University of Washington School of Medicine, where he received his Ph.D. He is currently a Director and the Head of Cellular and Translational Immunology at the EMD Serono Research and Development Institute in MA. He is interested in advancing mechanistic understanding and thus proof of confidence of novel therapeutic agents for the treatment of autoimmune disease. Prior to joining EMD, Thomas led cross-functional teams in both large and small molecule drug discovery programs at Eli Lilly and Company, Amgen, and Roche.