Lu Chen, PhD

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Assistant Professor

Research Program

    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

    • 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


    • Marie "Masha" Kobin
      Jeanne E. and Robert F. Ozols Undergraduate Summer Research Fellowship 2022, Sophomore in Biochemistry, Cornell University
    • Genxuan "Cameron" Lian
      Undergraduate Research Scholar 2022, Sophomore in Biological Chemistry, Grinnell College

    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

    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 (*Corresponding author)

    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 (*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.)

    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 (*Corresponding author)... Expand

    Additional Publications

    Open Positions


    The Chen Laboratory at the Fox Chase Cancer Center is hiring ambitious and self-motivated individuals for the position of Postdoctoral Fellow or Scientific Technician. Our long-term goal is to leverage basic RNA biology to solve cancer and other aging-related stem cell diseases. Current ongoing projects include 1) to elucidate the RNA basis of an acute and selective cancer genotoxicity; 2) to revert stem cell exhaustion (CAR-T and/or Alveolar Type2) using a cocktail of telomerase boosters; 3) to target noncoding somatic cancer mutations using a combined approach of CRISPR and PROTAC. We have published 17 high-impact papers, including Cell, Nature, Mol Cell, NAR, PNAS and Cell Rep. The lab receives generous supports from NIH/NIAID, Temple-FCCC drug discovery seed grant, and Jeanne E. and Robert Ozols Undergraduate Research Fellowship. Additional details regarding the lab can be found at


    As one of the four original cancer centers to receive comprehensive designation from the National Cancer Institute, Fox Chase Cancer Center has been at the forefront of cancer research for almost 90 years. We are home to excellent research facilities, top clinicians and scientists, and outstanding patient care. Our singular focus on cancer, which couples discovery science with state of the art clinical care and population health, remains the foundation of our work.

    The scientist training programs at Fox Chase Cancer Center provide professional development opportunities in four core areas identified as crucial for successful careers in science, research, and health care including communication, leadership, teaching, and mentorship. Upon joining the program, graduate students and postdocs develop individual development plans to help guide their growth. Training throughout the year is supplemented with free professional development opportunities, including a robust ‘How To’ series, writing courses, networking, mentorship, and teaching opportunities, a trainee-led seminar series, a trainee-led annual Research Conference, and more. Postdocs at Fox Chase Cancer Center are supported by the Temple University Postdoc Association and the Office of Academic Affairs at Fox Chase, and are compensated with competitive pay and benefits.

    In addition to the robust training program, scientists at Fox Chase Cancer Center benefit from being part of the rich scientific and biotech environment in the Philadelphia region. Many of our former trainees are now employees (and contacts) at nearby institutions and companies, including The Wistar Institute, Merck, GSK, AACR, and numerous others.


    Email a CV, cover letter that states research interest(s) and goals, and the name of at least three references to [email protected]. Qualified candidates will then be invited to complete a job application.

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