Mike Y. Chen, M.D., Ph.D.

  • Head of Malignant Brain Tumor Program
  • Associate Professor, Department of Surgery
  • Neurosurgeon

Mike Y. Chen, M.D., Ph.D.

研究重點 :
  • Histone Mediated Epigenetic Regulation of Glioblastomas
  • Effect of Pulsed Electromagnetic Fields on Enhancing Chemotherapeutics Agents
  • Correlation of Hormone Receptor Status with Bone Formation in Metastatic Spine Tumors
  • Neurosurgery
  • Complex operations for the removal of brain, brachial plexus and spine tumors

Bring your best everyday and keep making it better.

A prolific researcher and talented surgeon, Mike Y. Chen, M.D., Ph.D, has been on the City of Hope team since 2007. He specializes in complex operations for the removal of brain and spine tumors. Dr. Chen also frequently treats benign, degenerative conditions of the spine for City of Hope patients.

As a contributor to the advancement of neurosurgery, he has devised new surgical techniques, works with medical device companies to design medical devices and teaches procedures to other surgeons.

Educated at Johns Hopkins University and the Medical College of Virginia, Dr. Chen also served a research fellowship at the National Institutes of Health.


  • 2015 - present, Associate Professor, Department of Surgery, City of Hope, Duarte, CA
  • 2012 - present, Director of the Neurosurgical Oncology Fellowship Program, City of Hope, Duarte, CA
  • 2011 - 2012, President of the Society for Brain Mapping and Therapeutics
  • 2007 - 2015, Assistant Professor and Section Head of Malignant Brain Tumor Program, Division of Neurosurgery, Department of Surgery, City of Hope, Duarte, CA
  • 2006, Assistant Professor, Department of Neurosurgery, Virginia Commonwealth University/Medical College of Virginia, Richmond, VA


  • 1988 -1996, Pennsylvania State University, B.S., Thomas Jefferson University, M.D. (6 year combined B.S., M.D. program)
  • 1992-1994, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD, M.S., Biomedical Engineering


  • 1997 -2000, Research Fellowship, National Institutes of Health, Surgical Neurology Branch


  • 2000 -2006, Medical College of Virginia, / Virginia Commonwealth University Health System, Richmond, VA, Neurosurgery Residency, Ph.D., Anatomy and Neurobiology


  • 1996 -1997, Johns Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore, MD, Internship in Surgery


  • Chief medical officer of Medplate Corp, a small company focusing on industrial and medical application of novel braising technology
  • Funded by Margaret E. Early Trust Foundation for brain tumor research
  • Funded by Orthofix Medical Corporation for research on the effect of pulsed electromagnetic fields on cancer cells
  • Device development consultant for Globus Medical Corporation, receives royalties and consulting fees
  • Device development consultant for Korentec Medical Corporation

Developing next generation therapies for the treatment of cancers that have metastasized to the central nervous system.

Since 2007, Dr. Chen and his staff have mentored many students. Some of his recent interns and current staff are listed below.

Current Staff

  • Yujun Wang, Ph.D., Staff Scientist
  • Jing Li, M.S., Staff Scientist
  • Yongshen Jia, M.D., Post-doctorate fellow

Previous Staff

  • Gang Li, Ph.D.
  • James Wang, Ph.D.
  • Yufang Yin, Ph.D.
  • Zhaoxia Zou, M.D.

Other Staff Members

Lab Research Associate: Amanda Nesbit
Amanda Nesbit recently graduated from CSUB with her Bachelor of Science in Chemistry, concentration in Biochemistry, and minor in Biology. At City of Hope, she is currently working on the use of Pulsed Electromagnetic Fields (PEMF) to increase the uptake of chemotherapy drugs.

Lab Research Intern: Philip Fedor
Philip Fedor is currently about to begin his Sophomore year at Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska. He is a Biology major with a Pre- Med focus and plans on pursuing a career in Sports Medicine. In Dr. Chen’s lab, he is working with Amanda Nesbit to analyze the effects of Pulsed Electromagnetic Fields (PEMF) on cell growth when combined with chemotherapy drugs and when used independently.

Lab Research Associate: Jenny Lin
Jenny Lin recently graduated UCLA with a B.A. in English and is currently applying to medical school. At City of Hope, she is gathering patient data for a retrospective chart review to further understanding of the influence of breast cancer receptor status, i.e. HER2, estrogen and/or progesterone, on metastatic spinal lesions. Furthermore, she studies the pathological fractures and epidural disease rates with receptor status and examines if the type of bony lesions, either lytic or blastic, will be the same in the spine versus other parts of the skeleton.

Moreover, she is also working to generate data to test the hypothesis of whether lung to brain metastases are resistant due to Polycomb/histone epigenetic mediated changes, by using triptolide to target the WNT/Polycomb pathway. Histone methylation has emerged as the central epigenetic change in the organization of eukaryotic chromatin, which effects cell proliferation, gene expression and regulation. She will be performing enzyme assays of metastatic lung to brain tissues, to detect levels of histone methylation with and without triptolide.

Lab Research Intern: Alisha Jain
Alisha Jain is pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Human Biology from the University of California, San Diego. She has extensive experience working in Dr. Chen’s lab at City of Hope since high school, and is studying the role of various polycomb proteins and Polycomb genes in epigenetic events affecting glioblastoma in order to better understand the origins of the disease and develop effective preventive and therapeutic interventions.

She and Sean hypothesize that glioblastoma could employ an epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT)- like process to develop into a mesenchymal subtype and epigenetic factors playing a role in EMT in other tumor types could be candidate master regulators of mesenchymal differentiation and proliferation.
Lab Research Intern: Sean Dewberry
Sean Dewberry currently studies Molecular and Environmental Biology at University of California, Berkeley and will be starting junior year Fall 2015. In Dr. Chen's lab, he is working closely with Alisha Jain and under the guidance of Dr. Li and Dr. Wang. They are examining the role of polycomb proteins and their effect on glioblastomas. It is their hope to identify the origins of this type of tumor and develop possible treatments to combat it.

Jasmine Lin, student at Princeton University

Tats Fujii, student at Keck School of Medicine of University of Southern California

Byron Cheung, student at Cornell University

Carling Cheung, 4th year student at Commonwealth University Medical School

Janet Li

Chen Hsu

Erin Denny, pre-doctoral candidate, City of Hope

Angela Chang, pre-doctoral candidate

Daniel Angeles, student at University of Virginia Medical School

Jerry Li, student at University of California, Davis

Kerin Higa, pre-doctoral candidate University of California, San Diego

Lillian Mecum, student Cornell University

Russell Thompson, M.D./Ph.D. program at Washington University at St. Louis

Michael Haber

Eu Ann Liu, B.S University of California, Irvine

Louis Lau, B.S University of California, Berkeley

Mark Lew, student at Arizona State University

  • Margaret Early Trust Grant. Role of the Chromobox Protein CBX6 in the Mesenchymal Transition of Glioblastoma 2012. Principle Investigator
  • Biomechanical evaluation of dual vertebral cages in the thoracic spine. Investigator Initiated Research. Globus Medical Grant. 2012
  • Golden Axon Award for Leadership and Dedication. Society for Brain Mapping and Therapeutics. June 2012
  • Characterizing the progenitor cell subpopulation in cancellous bone. Nuvasive. Industry Sponsored grant: $560,000. September 2010.
  • Biomechanical assessment of thoracic and lumbar vertebral column reconstruction with bilateral expandable cages. Globus Medical Corporation. Investigator Initiated Research: $10,000. August 2010
  • Named by Pasadena Magazine as one of the top neurosurgeons in Los Angeles in 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013
  • Biomechanical assessment of C2 vertebral column reconstruction with bilateral expandable cages. Globus Medical Corporation. Industry Sponsored Grant: $10,000. January 2010
  • 2nd place at 2nd Annual COH Poster Session, “Collaboration: Synergy for Success.” The Use of Tisseel as a Delivery Vehicle for Genetically Engineered Cytotoxic T Lymphocytes. Zhaoxia Zou, M.D., Erin Denny, Christine Brown, Ph.D., Araceli Hamlett, James Wang, Ph.D., Yufang Yin, Mike Chen, M.D., Ph.D.
  • Pilot Study: Characterizing the progenitor cell subpopulation in cancellous bone Nuvasive. Industry Sponsored Grant: $160,000. February 2010
  • NASA Tech Brief Award for NTR 45433: Use of JPL Electronic Nose for Detection of Tumors. 2008
  • 2007, NIH K 12 Grant for $500,000. The effect of stat3 inhibitors distributed using convection-enhanced delivery on cell death and chemoreistance in metastatic melanomas of the murine brain.
  • 2003, Crutchfield, Gage and Thomson award for best resident presentation at the annual meeting of the Neurosurgical society of the Virginias
  • 1999, Fellows Award for Research Excellence, National Institutes of Health


  • American Association of Neurological Surgeons
  • Congress of Neurological Surgeons
  • Faculty - Irell & Manella Graduate School of Biological Sciences, City of Hope
  • International Neurosurgical Children’s Association
  • Clinical Assistant Professor of Surgery at Western University of Health Sciences
  • International Brain Mapping and Intra-operative Surgical Planning Society: Board of Directors
  • The Johns Hopkins Medical & Surgical Association
  • Los Angeles County Medical Association
  • California Medical Association
  • American Association for Cancer Research
  • Society for Neuro-Oncology