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Celebrating a 20-year Research Partnership

The undergraduate students in the Brook Research Group weren't yet born when Faculty of Science Research Chair Mike Brook and research scientist Dan Chen began working together.

Mike hired Dan in 2001 to fill the key role of lab manager. For the past two decades, Dan's supervised dozens of undergraduate and graduate students, supported Mike's work and conducted his own research on synthetic polymers. Mike secures year-to-year funding from industrial partners to cover Dan's salary.

"Research makes me happy and working with students keeps me active and continually renews my knowledge," says Dan. "When I was young, I wanted to become an expert in a small and specific chemistry field. Silicone chemistry is the one for me and Mike is internationally known as a leading expert in silicones."

So what's been the key to a successful 20-year partnership? "Develop mutual respect and make sure both parties are part of the team," says Mike. 

Dan agrees that mutual trust and respect are key. "Mike always fully supports my work, knowing and valuing my contributions to research projects and lab management. Our communications with each other are always open-minded and lead to creative thinking."

20-year celebration for Dan ChenAnd what have they learned from each other?

"I've tried to emulate Dan's amazing ability to stay calm under pressure but it's still a work in progress,"  says Mike. "Fortunately, Dan is a patient teacher."

"I've learned creative thinking skills from Mike and how to deliver effective and engaging presentations to a wide variety of audiences," says Dan. "Mike also leads by example when it comes to staying active both at work and during leisure time." 

Mike and the entire research group held an outdoor appreciation lunch earlier this summer to celebrate Dan's 20 years of service as lab manager. 

Congratulate Dan by sending an email to dychen@mcmaster.ca.
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