An NCI-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center
Zhen Chen

Zhen Chen, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor, Department of Diabetes Complications and Metabolism
Research Focus
  • Epigenetic regulation in endothelial stress response and its functional and translational relevance in cardiovascular diseases.
Email: [email protected]

Research Teams

  • Diabetes Complications and Metabolism
Zhen Chen, Ph.D., joined the Diabetes and Metabolism Research Institute as assistant professor in the department of Diabetes Complications and Metabolism. Dr. Chen comes to the City of Hope after four years as a postdoctoral fellow at University of California San Diego, where she was jointly trained in the departments of Medicine and Bioengineering.
Dr. Chen’s postdoctoral research on microRNA-mediated endothelial stress response was supported by an American Heart Association (AHA) Postdoctoral Fellowship and is currently funded by a K99/R00 Career Development Award from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI).

Dr. Chen received her medical training in Basic Medical Sciences from Peking University Health Science Center, where she received the prize for "Best Thesis Research.”

She then pursued her doctoral studies in mechanosensing and vascular biology at University of California Riverside, where she received the Joy K. Tilton Cancer Research Award and an Outstanding Achievement Award in Biomedical Sciences. She was a finalist for an American Heart Association Junior Investigator Award for Women. She has served as a reviewer for journals Circulation, Circulation Research, Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology, and AHA Scientific Sessions.

During her research training, Dr. Chen has had several high-profile publications as first author (Journal of Clinical Investigation, Circulation, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, and Circulation Research) and coauthor, and more recently as a corresponding author, (Circulation).
Dr. Chen is interested in elucidating the molecular mechanisms by which non-coding RNA and other epigenetic modifications mediate endothelial response to hypoxia and oxidative stress, including angiogenesis, innate immune response, and inflammation, and furthermore characterizing their implications in cancer and diabetic vascular complications. She is particularly interested in integrating innovative high-throughput sequencing technologies, systems biology and bioinformatics approaches in tackling these biomedical challenges.

Dr. Chen's research group is focused on understanding molecular basis underlying cardiovascular complications of diabetes and identifying novel strategies in treatment of these complications.


City of Hope Comprehensive Cancer Center, 1500 East Duarte Road

Duarte, CA 91010

  • Feng-Mao Lin, Shu Chien, and Zhen Chen. Epigenetic profiling with ultralow DNA amounts. Nat Biomed Eng. 2018
  • Yifei Miao, Nassim Ajami , Tse-Shun Huang, Feng-Mao Lin, Chih-Hong Lou, Shuai Li, Jian Kang, Hannah Munkacsi, Yun-Ting Wang, Mano Maurya, Shakti Gupta, Shu Chien, Shankar Subramaniam, Zhen Chen. Long Non-Coding RNA LEENE Promotes Chromatin Remodeling to Enhance Endothelial Nitric Oxide Synthase. Nat Comm. 2018.
  • Wenjie Guo, Wen Liu, Zhen Chen, Yanhong Gu, Shuang Peng, Lihong Shen, Yan Shen, Xingqi Wang, Gen-Sheng Feng, Yang Sun, Qiang Xu. Tyrosine phosphatase SHP2 negatively regulates NLRP3 inflammasome activation via ANT1-dependent mitochondrial homeostasis. Nat Comm. 2017.
  • Nassim E Ajami, Shakti Gupta, Mano R Maurya, Phu Nguyen, Julie Li, John Y-J. Shyy, Zhen Chen*, Shu Chien, Shankar Subramaniam. Systems Biology Analysis of Longitudinal Functional Response of Endothelial Cells to Shear Stress. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2017.
    (*Co-corresponding author)
  • Fenqing Shang, Shen-Chih Wang, Chien-Yi Hsu, Yifei Miao, Marcy Martin,Yanjun Yin, Chih-Cheng Wu, Yun-Ting Wang, Gaihong Wu, Shu Chien, Hsien-Da Huang, Der-Cherng Tarng, Yan-Ting Shiu, Alfred K. Cheung, Po-Hsun Huang, Zhen Chen*, and John Y-J. Shyy. MicroRNA-92a mediates endothelial dysfunction in chronic kidney disease. J. Am. Soc. Nephrol. 2017. (*Co-corresponding author)
  • Tse-Shun Huang, Kuei-Chun Wang, Sara Quon, Phu Nguyen, Ting-Yu Chang, Zhen Chen, Yi-Shuan Li, Shankar Subramaniam, John Y-J Shyy, and Shu Chien. LINC00341 exerts an anti-inflammatory effect on endothelial cells by repressing VCAM1. Physiol. Genomics. 2017.
  • Zhen Chen, Shuai Li, John Shyy, Shankar Subramaniam, and Shu Chien. Epigenetic Regulation: A New Frontier for Biomedical Engineers. Annu Rev Biomed Eng. 2017.
  • Ming He, Zhen Chen, Marcy Martin, Jin Zhang, Panjamaporn Sangwung, Brian Woo, Adriana Tremoulet, Chisato Shimizu, Mukesh K. Jain, Jane C. Burns, and John Y-J. Shyy. miR-483 Targeting of CTGF Suppresses Endothelial-to-Mesenchymal Transition: Therapeutic Implications in Kawasaki Disease. Circ. Res. 2016
  • Liu Wen, Guo W, Shen L, Chen Zhen, Luo Q, Luo X, Feng G, Shu Y, Gu Y, Xu Q, Sun Yang. T lymphocyte SHP2-deficiency triggers anti-tumor immunity to inhibit colitis-associated cancer in mice. Oncotarget. 2016.
  • Ting-Yang Lin, Tong-You Wade Wei, Shuai Li, Shen-Chih Wang, Ming He, Marcy Martin, Jiao Zhang, Tzu-Pin Shentu, Han Xiao, Jian Kang, Kuei-Chun Wang, Zhen Chen, Shu Chien, Ming-Daw Tsai, and John Y-J Shyy. TIFA as a Crucial Mediator for NLRP3 Inflammasome. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2016.
  • Fengqing Shang, Zhao Li, Traci L. Marin, Brendan Gongol, Jin Zhang, Jiao Zhang, Han Xiao, Youyi Zhang, Zhen Chen, John Y-J Shyy, and Ting Lei. AMPK Phosphorylation of PARP1 Is Endothelium-Protective: Implications for Metformin and Telmisartan Treatment. PLoS One. 2016.
  • Zhen Chen*, Liang Wen, Marcy Martin, Chien-Yi Hsu, Longhou Fang, Feng-Mao Lin, Ting-Yang Lin, McKenna J. Geary, Gregory Geary, Yongli Zhao, David A. Johnson, Shu Chien,Hsien-Da Huang, Yury I. Miller, Po-Hsun Huang, and John Y-J. Shyy. Oxidative stress activates endothelial innate immunity through SREBP2 transactivation of miR-92a.Circulation. 2015. (*Co-corresponding author)
  • John P. Cooke and Zhen Chen. A Compendium on Peripheral Arterial Disease. Circ Res.2015.
  • Zhen Chen, Marcy Martin, Zhao Li, and John Y-J. Shyy. Endothelial Dysfunction: The Role of SREBP-Induced NLRP3 Inflammasome in Atherosclerosis. Curr Opin Lipid. 2014.
  • Xiaohong Wang, Xi Fang, Jing Zhou, Zhen Chen, Beibei Zhao, Liang Xiao, Ao Liu, Yi-Shuan Li, John Y-J. Shyy, Youfei Guan, Shu Chien, and Nanping Wang. Shear stress activation of PXR in endothelial detoxification. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2013
  • Liang Wen, Zhen Chen, Ji Jiang, Fan Zhang, Xiaopei Cui, Wei Sun, Greg G. Geary,Yinsheng Wang, David A. Johnson, Yi Zhu, and John Y-J. Shyy. Ca2+/calmodulin-dependent Protein Kinase Kinase β Phosphorylation of Sirtuin 1 in Endothelium Is Atheroprotective. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2013.
  • Han Xiao, Min Lu, Ting Yang Lin, Zhen Chen, Gang Chen, Wei-Chi Wang, Traci Marin, Tzu-pin Shentu, Liang Wen, Brendan Gongol, Wei Sun, Xiao Liang, Ju Chen, Hsien-Da Huang, Joao Pedra, David A. Johnson, and John Y-J. Shyy SREBP2 Activation of NLRP3 Inflammasome in Endothelium Mediates Hemodynamic-Induced Atherosclerosis Susceptibility. Circulation. 2013.
  • Zhen Chen, Tsung-Ching Lai, Yi-Hua Jan, Feng-Mao Lin, Wei-Chi Wang, Han Xiao, Yun-Ting Wang, Wei Sun, Xiaopei Cui, Ying-Shiuan Li, Tzan Fang, Hongwei Zhao, Chellappan Padmanabhan, Ruobai Sun, Danny Ling Wang, Hailing Jin, Gar-Yang Chau, Hsien-Da Huang, Michael Hsiao, and John Y-J. Shyy. Hypoxia-responsive miRNAs target argonaute 1 to promote angiogenesis. J Clin Invest. 2013.
  • Traci Marin, Brendan Gongol, Zhen Chen, Brian Woo, Shankar Subramaniam, Shu Chien, John Y-J. Shyy. Mechanosensitive microRNAs-Role in Endothelial Responses to Shear Stress and Redox State. Free Radic. Biol. Med. 2013.
  • Zhen Chen, Tzu-Pin Shentu, Liang Wen, David A. Johnson, and John Y-J. Shyy. Regulation of SIRT1 by Oxidative Stress-Responsive miRNAs in the Endothelium. Antioxid Redox Signal. 2013.
  • I-Chen Peng, Zhen Chen, Wei Sun, Ying-Shiuan Li, Traci Lanai Marin, Pang-Hung Hsu, Mei-I Su, Xiaopei Cui, Songqin Pan, Christian Lytle, David A. Johnson, Frank Blaeser, Talal Chatila, John Y-J. Shyy. Glucagon regulates ACC activity in adipocytes through the CaMKKβ/AMPK pathway. Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab. 2012.
  • Hsin-Yi Chen, Yu-Min Lin, Hsiang-Ching Chung, Yaw-Dong Lang, Ching-Jung Lin, John Huang, Wei-Chi Wang, Feng-Mao Lin, Zhen Chen, Hsien-Da Huang, John Y.-J. Shyy, Jin-Tung Liang, and Ruey-Hwa Chen. miR-103/107 Promote Metastasis of Colorectal Cancer by Targeting the Metastasis Suppressors DAPK and KLF4. Cancer Res. 2012.
  • John Y-J. Shyy, Zhen Chen, Wei Wu and Wei Sun. Shear-Stress Activation of AMPActivated Protein Kinase in Endothelial Homeostasis. Cell Mol Bioeng. 2011.
  • Zhen Chen, I-Chen Peng, Xiaopei Cui, Yi-Shuan Li, Shu Chien, and John Y-J. Shyy. Shear stress, SIRT1, and vascular homeostasis. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2010.
  • Zhen Chen, I-Chen Peng, Wei Sun, Mei-I Su, Pang-Hung Hsu, Yi Fu, Yi Zhu, Kathryn DeFea, Songqin Pan, Ming-Daw Tsai, and John Y-J. Shyy. AMP-Activated Protein Kinase Functionally Phosphorylates Endothelial Nitric Oxide Synthase Ser633. Circ. Res. 2009.
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