Jianjun Chen

Jianjun Chen, Ph.D.

  • Professor and Vice Chair, Department of Systems Biology

Jianjun Chen, Ph.D.

Before joining Beckman Research Institute of City of Hope as a full professor and vice chair of the Department of Systems Biology, Jianjun Chen, Ph.D., had been serving as an associate professor of cancer biology at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine for a few years after moving from University of Chicago.
Dr. Chen received his Ph.D. degree from Shanghai Institute of Biochemistry, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shanghai, China, and then conducted postdoc training with Dr. Janet D. Rowley at University of Chicago. He launched his independent laboratory in 2009 in the Department of Medicine at University of Chicago.
Dr. Chen is a scholar of The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) (2017) and Researcher of the Year, The Pamela B. Katten Memorial Leukemia Research Foundation Award (2014). Dr. Chen is a permanent member of the National Institutes of Health Developmental Therapeutics study section and his research program is currently supported by four R01 grants from the National Cancer Institute.
  • 2017 - present, Professor and Vice Chair, Department of Systems Biology, Beckman Research Institute of City of Hope, Duarte, CA
  • 2015-2017, Associate Professor (with tenure), Department of Cancer Biology, University of Cincinnati
  • 2009-2014, Assistant Professor (tenure track), Department of Medicine, University of Chicago
  • 2005-2008, Research Associate (Assistant Professor), Department of Medicine, University of Chicago
  • 2004-2005, Research Associate (Instructor), Department of Medicine, University of Chicago
  • 2001-2004, Research Associate, Department of Medicine, University of Chicago


  • 1999, Ph.D., Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. Shanghai Institute of Biochemistry, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shanghai, China
  • 1994, B.S., Genetics. Sichuan University, Chengdu, China


  • 1999-2001, Department of Medicine, University of Chicago
The Chen laboratory is interested in discovering novel genetic/epigenetic regulations and the associated molecular mechanisms of both protein-coding genes and noncoding RNAs (e.g., microRNAs) in normal developmental processes (e.g., hematopoiesis) and tumorigenesis (e.g., leukemogenesis). In recent years, Dr. Chen and colleagues have been focusing on both basic and translational research associated with RNA/DNA epigenetics, especially RNA methylation/demethylation related to the N6 methyladenosine (m6A) machinery and DNA demethylation related to the TET1/2/3 family, and have developed several small-molecule compound inhibitors to selectively target cancer-related RNA/DNA epigenetic modifiers that hold therapeutic potential. The ultimate goal of the lab is to translate the laboratory discoveries into the development of effective novel therapeutic strategies to treat cancers (especially acute leukemia) in the clinic.
  • Su R, Dong L, Li C, Nachtergaele S, Wunderlich M, Qing Y, Deng X, Wang Y, Weng X, Hu C, Yu M, Skibbe J, Dai Q, Zou D, Wu T, Yu K, Weng H, Huang H, Ferchen K, Qin X, Zhang B, Qi J, Sasaki AT, Plas D, Bradner JE, Wei M, Marcucci G, Jiang X, Mulloy J, Jin J, He C, Chen J. R-2HG exhibits anti-tumor activity by targeting FTO/m6A/MYC/CEBPA signaling. Cell. 2017. Accepted
  • Wang Y, Skibbe JR, Hu C, Dong L, Ferchen K, Su R, Li C, Huang H, Weng H, Huang H, Qin X, Jin J, Chen J, Jiang X. ALOX5 exhibits anti-tumor and drug-sensitizing effects in MLL-rearranged leukemia. Sci Rep. 2017 May 12;7(1):1853. PMCID: Pending.
  • Xin J, You D, Breslin P, Li J, Zhang J, Wei W, Cannova J, Volk A, Gutierrez R, Xiao Y, Ni A, Ng G, Schmidt R, Xia Z, Pan J, Chen H, Patel MM, Kuo PC, Nand S, Kini AR, Zhang J, Chen J, Zhu J, Zhang J. Sensitizing acute myeloid leukemia cells to induced differentiation by inhibiting the RIP1/RIP3 pathway. Leukemia. 2017 May;31(5):1154-1165. PMCID: Pending.
  • Li J, Volk A, Zhang J, Cannova J, Dai S, Hao C, Hu C, Sun J, Xu Y, Wei W, Breslin P, Nand S, Chen J, Kini A, Zhu J, Zhang J. Sensitizing leukemia stem cells to NF-κB inhibitor treatment in vivo by inactivation of both TNF and IL-1 signaling. Oncotarget. 2017 Jan 31;8(5):8420-8435. PMCID: Pending.
  • Li Z, Weng H, Su R, Weng X, Zuo Z, Li C, Huang H, Nachtergaele S, Dong L, Hu C, Qin X, Tang L, Wang Y, Hong GM, Huang H, Wang X, Chen P, Gurbuxani S, Arnovitz S, Li Y, Li S, Strong J, Neilly MB, Larson RA, Jiang X, Zhang P, Jin J, He C, Chen J. FTO Plays an Oncogenic Role in Acute Myeloid Leukemia as a N6-Methyladenosine RNA Demethylase. Cancer Cell. 2017 Jan 9;31(1):127-141. PMCID: PMC5234852.
    • **Cover Story
    • **Highlighted (Research Watch) by Cancer Discovery (2017 Feb;7(2):OF9)
  • Jiang X, Bugno J, Hu C, Yang Y, Herold T, Qi J, Chen P, Gurbuxani S, Arnovitz S, Strong J, Ferchen K, Ulrich B, Weng H, Wang Y, Huang H, Li S, Neilly MB, Larson RA, Le Beau MM, Bohlander SK, Jin J, Li Z, Bradner JE, Hong S, Chen J. Eradication of acute myeloid leukemia with FLT3 ligand-targeted miR-150 nanoparticles. Cancer Research. 2016 Aug 1;76(15):4470-80. PMCID: PMC4970973.
  • Jiang X, Hu C, Arnovitz S, Bugno J, Yu M, Zuo Z, Chen P, Huang H, Ulrich B, Gurbuxani S, Weng H, Strong J, Wang Y, Li Y, Salat J, Li S, Elkahloun AG, Yang Y, Neilly MB, Larson RA, Le Beau MM, Herold T, Bohlander SK,  Liu PP, Zhang J, Li Z, He C, Jin J, Hong S, Chen J. miR-22 has a potent anti-tumor role with therapeutic potential in acute myeloid leukemia. Nature Communications. 2016 Apr 26; 7:11452. PMCID: Pending. (**Featured article)
  • Huang H, Jiang X, Wang J, Li Y, Song CX, Chen P, Li S, Gurbuxani S, Arnovitz S, Wang Y, Weng H, Neilly MB, He C, Li Z, and Chen J. Identification of MLL-fusion/MYC⊣miR-26⊣TET1 signaling circuit in MLL-rearranged leukemia. Cancer Letters. 2016. 372(2):157-65. PMCID: PMC4809417.
  • Li Z, Chen P, Su R, Hu C, Li Y, Elkahloun AG, Zuo Z, Gurbuxani S, Arnovitz S, Weng H, Wang Y, Li S, Huang H, Neilly MB, Wang GG, Jiang X, Liu PP, Jin J, Chen J. PBX3 and MEIS1 cooperate in hematopoietic cells to drive acute myeloid leukemias characterized by a core transcriptome of the MLL-rearranged disease. Cancer Research. 2016 Feb 1. 76(3):619-29. PMCID: PMC4810030.
  • Li Z, Chen P, Su R, Li Y, Hu C, Wang Y, Arnovitz S, He M, Gurbuxani S, Zuo Z, Elkahloun AG, Li S, Weng H, Huang H, Neilly MB, Wang S, Olson EN, Larson RA, Le Beau MM, Zhang J, Jiang X, Wei M, Jin J, Liu PP, Chen J. Overexpression and knockout of miR-126 bot promote leukemogenesis. Blood. 2015. 126(17):2005-15. PMCID: PMC4616234.
  • Zhao L, Sun MA, Li Z, Bai X, Yu M, Wang M, Liang L, Shao X, Arnovitz S, Wang Q, He C, Lu X*, Chen J*, Xie H*. The dynamics of DNA methylation fidelity during mouse embryonic stem cell self-renewal and differentiation. Genome Res. 2014. 24(8):1296-307. PMCID: PMC4120083.
  • Volk A, Li J, Xin J, You D, Zhang J, Liu X, Xiao Y, Breslin P, Li Z, Wei W, Schmidt R, Li X, Zhang Z, Kuo PC, Nand S, Zhang J, Chen J, Zhang J. Co-inhibition of NF-κB and JNK is synergistic in TNF-expressing human acute myeloid leukemia. J Exp Med. 2014. 211(6):1093-108. PMCID: PMC4042653.
  • Velu C, Chaubey A, Phelan J, Horman S, Wunderlich M, Guzman M, Jegga A, Zeleznik-Le N, Chen J, Mulloy J, Cancelas J, Jordan CT, Aronow B, Marcucci G, Bhat B, Gebelein B, Grimes HL. Therapeutic antagonists of microRNAs deplete leukemia-initiating cell activity. J Clin Invest. 2014. 124(1):222-36. PMCID: PMC3871218.
  • Cheng J, Guo S, Chen S, Mastriano SJ, Liu C, D’Alessio AC, Hysolli E, Guo Y, Yao H, Megyola CM, Li D, Liu J, Pan W, Roden CA, Heydari K, Chen J, Park IH, Ding Y, Zhang Y, and Lu J. An Extensive Network of TET2-Targeting microRNAs Regulates Malignant Hematopoiesis. Cell Reports. 2013. 5(2):471-81. PMCID: PMC3834864.
  • Huang H, Jiang X, Li Z, Li Y, Song CX, He C, Sun M, Chen P, Gurbuxani S, Wang J, Hong GM, Elkahloun AG, Arnovitz S, Wang J, Szulwach K, Lin L, Street C, Wunderlich M, Dawlaty M, Neilly MB, Jaenisch R, Yang FC, Mulloy JC, Jin P, Liu PP, Rowley JD, Xu M, He C, Chen J. TET1 plays an essential oncogenic role in MLL-rearranged leukemia. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. 2013. 110(29):11994-9. PMCID: PMC3718141.
  • Chen P, Price C, Li Z, Li Y, Cao D, Wiley A, He C, Gurbuxani S, Kunjamma RB, Huang H, Jiang X, Arnovitz S, Xu M, Hong GM, Elkahloun AG, Neilly MB, Wunderlich M, Larson RA, Le Beau MM, Mulloy JC, Liu PP, Rowley JD, Chen J. miR-9 is an essential oncogenic microRNA specifically overexpressed in mixed lineage leukemia–rearranged leukemia. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. 2013. 110(28):11511-6. PMCID: PMC3710804.
  • Li Z, Herold T, He C, Valk PJM, Chen P, Jurinovic V, Mansmann U, Radmacher M, Maharry K, Sun M, Yang X, Huang H, Jiang X, Sauerland MC, Büchner T, Hiddemann W, Elkahloun A, Neilly MB, Zhang Y, Larson RA, Le Beau MM, Caligiuri MA, Dohner K, Bullinger L, Liu PP, Delwel R, Marcucci G, Lowenberg B, Bloomfield CD, Rowley JD, Bohlander SK, Chen J. Identification of a 24-Gene Prognostic Signature That Improves the European LeukemiaNet Risk Classification of Acute Myeloid Leukemia: An International Collaborative Study of 1,324 Patients. Journal of Clinical Oncology. 2013. 31(9):1172-81. PMCID: PMC3595425.
  • Li Z, Zhang Z, Li Y, Arnovitz S, Chen P, Huang H, Jiang X, Hong GM, Kunjamma RB, Ren H, He C, Wang CZ, Elkahloun AG, Valk PJM, Dohner K, Neilly MB, Bullinger L, Delwel R, Lowenberg B, Paul P. Liu, Morgan R, Rowley JD, Yuan CS,  Chen J. PBX3 is an important cofactor of HOXA9 in leukemogenesis. Blood. 2013. 121(8):1422-31. PMCID: PMC3578957.
  • Jiang X, Huang H, Li Z, He C, Li Y, Chen P, Gurbuxani S, Arnovitz S, Hong GM, Price C, Ren H, Kunjamma RB, Neilly MB, Salat J, Wunderlich M, Slany RK, Zhang Y, Larson RA, Le Beau MM, Mulloy JC, Rowley JD, Chen J. miR-495 is a tumor-suppressor microRNA down-regulated in MLL-rearranged leukemia. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. 2012. 109(47):19397-402. PMCID: PMC3511140
  • Jiang X, Huang H, Li Z,  Li Y, Wang X, Gurbuxani S, Chen P, He C, You D, Zhang S, Wang J, Arnovitz S, Elkahloun A, Price C, Hong GM, Ren H, Kunjamma RB, Neilly MB, Matthews J, Xu M, Larson RA, Le Beau MM, Slany RK, Liu PP, Lu J, Zhang J, He C, Chen J. Blockade of miR-150 maturation by MLL-fusion/MYC/LIN-28 is required for MLL-associated leukemia. Cancer Cell. 2012. 22: 524-535. PMCID: PMC3480215.
  • Li Z, Huang H, Li Y, Jiang X, Chen P, Arnovitz S, Radmacher MD, Maharry K, Elkahloun A, Yang X, He C, He M, Zhang Z, Dohner K, Neilly MB, Price C, Lussier YA, Zhang Y, Larson RA, Le Beau MM, Caligiuri MA, Bullinger L, Valk PJ, Delwel R, Lowenberg B, Liu PP, Marcucci G, Bloomfield CD, Rowley JD, Chen J. Up-regulation of a HOXA-PBX3 homeobox-gene signature following down-regulation of miR-181 is associated with adverse prognosis in patients with cytogenetically-abnormal AML. Blood. 2012. 119(10):2314-24. PMCID: PMC3311258.
  • Li Z, Huang H, Chen P, He M, Li Y, Arnovitz S, Zhang J, Hyjek E, Elkahloun A, Jiang X, Zhang Z, He C, Cao D, Shen C, Vardiman J, Wunderlich M, Wang Y, Neilly MB, Jin J, Wei M, Lu J, Molly JC, Zeleznik-Le NJ, Liu PP, Zhang J, Chen J. miR-196b Directly Targets Both HOXA9/MEIS1 Oncogenes and FAS Tumor Suppressor in MLL-rearranged Leukemia. Nature Communications. 2012. 2:688. PMCID: PMC3514459. (**Featured article)
  • He C, Li Z, Chen P, Huang H, Hurst LD, Chen J. Young intragenic miRNAs are less coexpressed with host genes than old ones: implications of miRNA-host gene coevolution. Nucleic Acids Res. 2012. 40(9):4002-12. PMCID: PMC3351155.
  • Chen J, Odenike O, and Rowley JD. Leukemogenesis: More Than Mutant Genes. Nature Reviews Cancer. 2010. 10(1): 23-36. PMCID: PMC2972637
Back To Top