Jianjun Chen

Jianjun Chen, Ph.D.

  • Professor and Simms/Mann Family Foundation Chair in 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 Simms/Mann Family Foundation Chair in Systems Biology, 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.
  • Huang H, Weng H, Sun W, Qin X, Shi H, Wu H, Zhao BS, Mesquita A, Liu C, Yuan CL, Hu YC, Hüttelmaier S, Skibbe J, Su R, Deng X, Dong L, Sun M, Li C, Nachtergaele S, Wang Y, Hu C, Ferchen K, Greis KD, Jiang X, Wei M, Qu L, Guan JL, He C, Yang J, Chen J. Recognition of RNA N6-methyadenosine by IGF2BP proteins Enhances mRNA Stability and Translation. Nature Cell Biology. 2018. In Press.
  • Weng H, Huang H, Wu H, Qin X, Zhao BS, Dong L, Shi H, Skibbe J, Shen C, Hu C, Sheng Y, Wang Y, Wunderlich M, Zhang B, Dore L, Su R, Deng X, Ferchen K, Li C, Sun M, Lu Z, Jiang X, Marcucci G, Mulloy J, Yang J, Qian Z, Wei M, He C, Chen J. METTL14 Inhibits Hematopoietic Stem/Progenitor Differentiation and Promotes Leukemogenesis via mRNA m6A Modification. Cell Stem Cell. December 28, 2017 Epub.
  • 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. 2018 Jan 11;172(1-2):90-105. PMCID: PMC5766423.
    *Highlighted (Research Watch) by Cancer Discovery (2017 Dec 21. doi: 10.1158/2159-8290.CD-RW2017-240. [Epub ahead of print])
  • Jiang X, Hu C, Ferchen K, Nie J, Cui X, Chen CH, Cheng L, Zuo Z, Seibel W, He C, Tang Y, Skibbe JR, Wunderlich M, Reinhold WC, Dong L, Shen C, Arnovitz S, Ulrich B, Lu J, Weng H, Su R, Huang H, Wang Y, Li C, Qin X, Mulloy J, Zheng Y, Diao J, Jin J, Li C, Liu PP, He C, Chen Y, Chen J. Targeted inhibition of STAT/TET1 axis as a therapeutic strategy for acute myeloid leukemia. Nature Communications. 2017 January 13; 8:2099. PMCID: PMC5727390.
  • 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)
  • 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: PMC5352411.
  • 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: PMC5457287.
  • 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: PMC5431828.
  • 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: PMC5477496. (**Featured article)
  • 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.
  • 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, 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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, 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)
  • Chen J, Odenike O, and Rowley JD. Leukemogenesis: More Than Mutant Genes. Nature Reviews Cancer. 2010. 10(1): 23-36. PMCID: PMC2972637
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