Lu Chen, PhD

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Assistant Professor

Research Program

  • A group of students holding colorful signs
  • Nucleic Acids Research Volume 50 Issue 21 2022  Oxford University Press Open Access - Cover with an image of a blue and red snakes intertwined
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    Educational Background

    • 2020-2021 - Instructor, Stanford Cancer Institute, Stanford Cancer Institute, Stanford, California, USA
    • 2013-2019 - Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Biochemistry, Department of Medicine-Division of Hematology, Stanford University, Stanford, California
    • 2007-2013 - PhD, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (with honors), University of Kansas Medical Center, Stowers Institute for Medical Research, Kansas City, Missouri
    • 2002-2006 - BS, Biological Sciences, College of Life Sciences, Wuhan University, Wuhan, China

    Honors & Awards

    • 2023 - NIGMS-MIRA (Maximizing Investigators' Research Award)"
    • 2018 - Postdoctoral Fellowship Award, Stanford Cancer Institute, Stanford, CA
    • 2013 - Honors in Ph.D. thesis and defense, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of Kansas Medical Center
    • 2010 - Best Poster Award at the ASBMB (American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology) Special Symposium, entitled “Transcriptional Regulation by Chromatin and RNA Polymerase II”, Tahoe City, California


    • Aldana Vistarop
      Postdoctoral Associate Ph.D. 2019 in Pharmacy and Biochemistry, B.S. 2012 in Biochemistry University of Buenos Aires, Argentina
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      Musinu Zakari, PhD
      Postdoctoral Fellow B.S. 2008, University of Ghana, Ghana MSc. 2010, Maastricht University, Netherlands MSc. and PhD 2015, Paris VI University, France 2023- Patterson Postdoctoral Fellowship in Structural Biology and Biochemistry
    • Julia-Hoopman
      Julia Hoopman
      PhD student (Temple-BMSC 2022) B.S. 2022, Liberty University, Lynchburg, VA 2022- Presidential Fellowship, Temple University 2023- T32 Predoctoral Training Award (NIGMS)
    • Alexander-Morris
      Alexander Morris
      PhD student (Temple-BMSC 2022) 2019, REU, Oregon State University, OR 2020, BS, The College of Wooster, OH 2020-22, Lab Tech II, Harvard University/MGH, MA
    • Grigory-Grisha-Matveev.
      Grigory "Grisha" Matveev
      Graduate Student 2022-2023, MSc, MIPT, integrated Structural Biology and Genetics Program 2022, BS, MIPT, Applied Mathematics & Physics
    • Link to
      Genxuan "Cameron" Lian
      Summer Assistant II 2022-, Undergrad in Biological Chemistry, Grinnell College, IA 2023, IN VINO VITA Summer Scholar Clinical Shadow: with Dr. Efrat Dotan
    • Link to
      Marie "Masha" Kobin
      Summer Assistant II 2022-, Undergrad in Biochemistry, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 2022, Jeanne E. and Robert F. Ozols Undergraduate Summer Research Fellowship 2023, IN VINO VITA Summer Scholar Clinical Shadow: with Dr. Jeffrey Farma
    • Ashley-Park
      Ashley Park
      Student Fellow 2022, Junior, Wissahickon High School 2023, IN VINO VITA Summer Scholar

    Additional Staff


    Soon-keat Ooi

    Position/Role: Postdoctoral Fellow, 2022
    B.S. 2009, National University of Malaysia (UKM)
    PhD 2021, Stowers Institute for Medical Research
    Clinical Shadow:
    Next Position: Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Pennsylvania.

    Victoria (Tori) Gillespie

    Position/Role: Sci Tech I/Lab Manager
    B.S. 2021, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
    Next Position: MSTP/graduate school.

    Kevin Ethridge

    Position/Role: Undergrad Volunteer,2022
    Wistar Institute - Biomedical Technician Training Program (BTT)

    Elizabeth "Lizzie" Urbanowicz

    Position/Role: Undergrad Volunteer, 2023
    Undergrad in Biology, Temple Universityy
    Clinical Shadow: with Dr. Efrat Dotan, 04/2023


    Research Interests

    LuChenLab – RNA biology to solve cancer and other aging-related diseases.

    • Epigenetic mechanisms hijacked by a recurrent somatic noncoding driver mutation.
    • Engineer senescence-resistant CAR-T and other adult stem cells.
    • Develop a DNA/RNA-sensing portable device for cancer detection, powered by CRISPR-Cas and nanotechnologies.
    • Investigate role of chromatin in the life cycle of a ribonucleoprotein.

    Lab Overview

    The Lu Chen laboratory ( studies molecular secrets underlying all things RNA biology – how RNAs are chemically modified, how their exact molecular forms are precisely defined, and how they cooperate with proteins to carry out molecular functions at specific cellular locations. We are translating our basic science discoveries into novel therapeutic options to combat cancer immortality, stem cell exhaustion, and degenerative diseases. We use diverse approaches, including protein-RNA reconstitution, Next-gen RNA structural profiling (icSHAPE-seq, nascent RNA-seq), CRISPR-engineering of human primary stem cell and mouse models, and single-molecule RNA imaging.

    Selected Publications

    Huda A, Arakawa H, Mazzucco G, Galli M, Petrocelli V, Casola S, Chen L, Doksani Y. The telomerase reverse transcriptase elongates reversed replication forks at telomeric repeats. Science Advances. 2023 Mar 22;9(12):eadf2011. PMID 36947627 

    Galati A, Scatolini L, Micheli E, Bavasso F, Cicconi A, Maccallini P, Chen L, Roake CM, Schoeftner S, Artandi SE, Gatti M, Cacchione S, Raffa GD. The S-adenosylmethionine analog sinefungin inhibits the trimethylguanosine synthase TGS1 to promote telomerase activity and telomere lengthening. FEBS Lett. 2022 Jan;596(1):42-52. doi: 10.1002/1873-3468.14240. Epub 2021 Dec 5. PMID: 34817067 

    Hasegawa K, Zhao Y, Garbuzov A, Corces R , Chen L, Cheung P, Wei Y, Chang HY, Gillespie V, Belk J, Huang Y, and Artandi SE, Clonal inactivation of TERT impairs stem cell competition. In Revision  

    Chen L*, Roake CM, Maccallini P, Bavasso F, Dehghannasiri R, Santonicola P, Mendoza-Ferreira N, ..., Kobin MA,... Artandi SE*, Raffa GD*. TGS1 controls snRNA 3'end processing, prevents neurodegeneration and ameliorates SMN-dependent neurological phenotypes in vivo. Nucleic Acids Research. 2022 Aug 10;gkac659. PMID 35947650 (*co-corresponding author, selected for NAR cover art_Vol 50, Issue 21, Nov 28, 2022) 

    Chen L*, Chang HY, Artandi SE*. Analysis of RNA conformation in endogenously assembled RNPs by icSHAPE. STAR protocols. 2021 Jun 18;2(2):100477. PMID 33997809 (*co-corresponding author) 

    Chen L*, Bellone RR, Wang Y, Singer-Berk M, Sugasawa K, Ford JM, Artandi SE. A novel DDB2 mutation causes defective recognition of UV-induced DNA damages and prevalent equine squamous cell carcinoma. DNA repair. 2021 Jan 1;97:103022. PMID 33276309 (*Corresponding author) 

    Chen L, Roake CM, Galati A, Bavasso F, Micheli E, Saggio I, Schoeftner S, Cacchione S, Gatti M, Artandi SE, Raffa GD. Loss of human TGS1 hypermethylase promotes increased telomerase RNA and telomere elongation. Cell reports. 2020 Feb 4;30(5):1358-72.PMID 32023455 

    Chen L, Roake CM, Freund A, Batista PJ, Tian S, Yin YA, Gajera CR, Lin S, Lee B, Pech MF, Venteicher AS. An activity switch in human telomerase based on RNA conformation and shaped by TCAB1. Cell. 2018 Jun 28;174(1):218-30. PMID 29804836 

    Chen L, Ooi SK, Conaway JW, Conaway RC. Biochemical assays for analyzing activities of ATP-dependent chromatin remodeling enzymes. JoVE. 2014 Oct 25(92):e51721. PMID 25407555 

    Chen L, Ooi SK, Conaway RC, Conaway JW. Generation and purification of human INO80 chromatin remodeling complexes and subcomplexes. JoVE. 2014(92):e51720. PMID 25407439 

    Chen L, Conaway RC, Conaway JW. Multiple modes of regulation of the human Ino80 SNF2 ATPase by subunits of the INO80 chromatin-remodeling complex. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 2013 Dec 17;110(51):20497-502. PMID 24297934 

    Chen L, Cai Y, Jin J, Florens L, Swanson SK, Washburn MP, Conaway JW, Conaway RC. Subunit organization of the human INO80 chromatin remodeling complex: an evolutionarily conserved core complex catalyzes ATP-dependent nucleosome remodeling. Journal of Biological Chemistry. 2011 Apr 1;286(13):11283-9. PMID 21303910 (Highlighted in “Milestones in transcription and chromatin published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry”, 2019 Feb 1;294(5):1652-1660.)  

    Additional Publications

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