Alan Colman obtained a BA degree in Biochemistry in Oxford (1971) and a PhD under John Gurdon, a pioneer of the field of nuclear transfer, at the Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge, UK (1974). After a series of academic appointments in Oxford and Warwick Universities, he became Professor of Biochemistry in the University of Birmingham, UK from 1987-1992. The focus then of his academic career was the area of eucaryotic protein secretion, with a particular emphasis on the use of frog oocytes and eggs as in vivo test tubes.
From 1987 until March 2002, he was research director of the company PPL Therapeutics in Edinburgh, UK. This company specialized in the production of transgenic livestock that produced human therapeutic proteins in their milk. PPL attracted considerable media attention because of their use of somatic cell nuclear transfer in a collaboration with the neighboring Roslin Institute. This work led to Dolly, the world’s first sheep cloned from an adult somatic cell (1996).
From 2002-2007, he was CSO and then CEO for the Singaporean human embryonic stem cell company, ES Cell International. Following this, he served as Executive Director of the Singapore Stem Cell Consortium and a Principal Investigator at the Singapore A*STAR Institute of Medical Biology (2006-2013) whilst concurrently Professor of Regenerative Medicine at King’s College, London, UK (2008-2009). His main research interest during these appointments was the development of human disease models using induced pluripotent stem cells.
In addition to his roles with Volition (2011- present ), Dr. Alan Colman acts as senior scientific advisor to Genea Biocells in San Diego, USA, and is a Visiting Scholar at the Harvard University Department of Stem Cell and Regenerative Biology (2014- present).