Ryan Chan, BS

Laboratory Technician

Sonoran Coralsnake – Micruroides euryxanthus
  • Photo by Jerry Schudda

    Sonoran Coralsnake – Micruroides euryxanthus

    The only member of the Elapidae family (which includes cobras and mambas) of snakes present in Arizona, Sonoran Coralsnakes are much smaller and more slender than other individuals of the same species found in southeastern North America. These snakes are distinguishable by their black, red, and creamy white bands that became famous with the saying, "Red touch yellow, you're a dead fellow." Taking advantage of this aposematic coloration, there are several snakes that mimic this color pattern and the saying is not as applicable as originally intended.

    Snakes of this family are know for having higher concentrations of neurotoxins in their venom compared to pit vipers. These toxins attack the nervous system, often resulting in muscular paralysis and difficulty breathing. Bites from the Sonoran Coralsnake, though rare, can happen if the animal is handled or provoked. However, due to the small body size and small venom load of these individuals, humans rarely experience symptoms.

Ryan Chan is a Graduate student working towards his Master’s degree in Cellular and Molecular Medicine at the University of Arizona. His work in the Wertheimer lab involves testing the effectiveness of the antimicrobial peptide LL37 and how its treatment on various bacteria can affect the simulated environment of a diabetic foot ulcer.

Ryan is from Albuquerque, NM and received a B.S. in Microbiology and a minor in Biochemistry from New Mexico State University. His previous lab experience includes working with the New Mexico State University – Howard Hughes Medical Institute research program, where he worked on developing antimicrobial therapy for enterohemorrhagic E. coli.

After completing his Master’s degree, Ryan will plan to attend medical school. When not at the lab, Ryan can be found either scribing for Pima Heart, volunteering at Health for the Homeless, learning guitar, or spending time with family or his three dogs.