PHILADELPHIA (September 6, 2021) – Fox Chase Cancer Center is pleased to announce the hiring of Lu Chen, PhD, who will join the Cancer Signaling and Epigenetics Program and the Cancer Epigenetics Institute (CEI) as an assistant professor.
The recently founded CEI at Fox Chase is a national hub for epigenetics study and collaboration focused on mechanisms promoting cancer and therapeutic resistance. Its mission is to facilitate academic-to-industry and academic-to-academic partnerships with the goal of promoting discovery in cancer epigenetics.
Chen will lead research on how molecular details underlying RNA structure, localization, and posttranslational modifications can be harnessed to combat cancer, aging, and degenerative diseases, with a long-term goal of developing RNA therapeutics.
Before coming to Fox Chase, Chen was an instructor at the Stanford Cancer Institute. Prior to that, he worked as a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Biochemistry and the Department of Medicine-Division of Hematology at Stanford University. He received the Stanford Cancer Institute Fellowship Award in 2018.
While at Stanford, Chen discovered novel regulatory mechanisms within the ribonucleoprotein telomerase, an enzyme that drives immortal growth in about 90% of cancers. This work involved studies into intracellular trafficking, chemical modifications, and the arrangement of atoms of telomerase RNA.
He also engineered a novel mouse model with humanized telomerase expression, a long-sought step toward introducing replicative senescence into preclinical modeling of human cancers. Replicative senescence refers to the limitation of how many times a cell can divide.
Chen has published nine high-impact research papers in various journals, including Cell, Cell Reports, and Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS). Chen is the first author on all nine papers and listed as the corresponding author for two. He is also an editorial board member for Cancer Translational Medicine and is a peer review board member for the Journal of Visualized Experiments. He has also been a reviewer for other journals, including the Journal of Biological Chemistry, Protein Expression and Purification, and Star Protocols.
Chen received his undergraduate degree in biological sciences from Wuhan University in China. He received a doctorate in biochemistry and molecular biology, with honors, from the University of Kansas Medical Center in 2013. While there, he served as chair of the Chinese Student and Scholar Association. He was also a predoctoral researcher at the Stowers Institute for Medical Research in Kansas City, Missouri.
Chen will begin working at Fox Chase on September 6, 2021.