Jing Chen, PhD

Professor, Hematology & Medical Oncology

Emory University School of Medicine

Director, Division of Basic & Translational Science

Emory University School of Medicine

Associate Director of Research, Division of Hematology

Emory University School of Medicine

Office: Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University

Phone: (404) 778-5274

Fax: (404) 778-5520

Email: jchen@emory.edu

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Biography

Jing Chen, PhD, is Professor and Director of the Division of Basic & Translational Science in the Department of Hematology and Medical Oncology at Emory University School of Medicine. Dr. Chen obtained his PhD in Biochemistry and Cell Biology at Emory University, and was trained as an HHMI Postdoctoral Fellow in Dr. Gary Gilliland's laboratory at Harvard Medical School before joining Winship Cancer Institute as an Assistant Professor in 2004. He is interested in the signaling basis underlying metabolic reprogramming and rewiring in human cancers, and exploring therapeutic strategies to target metabolic alterations.

Dr. Chen has earned numerous prestigious awards including American Cancer Society Basic Research Scholar Award, The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society Scholar Award, Georgia Cancer Coalition Distinguished Cancer Scholar Award and Winship 5K Scholar Award. In 2016, he received the Distinguished Alumnus Award from the Graduate Division of Biological and Biomedical Sciences at Laney Graduate School of Emory University. His research is funded by National Institutes of Health, Departent of Defense, American Cancer Society, The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, T.J. Martell Foundation and other notable foundations.

Research

The terms metabolic "reprogramming" and "rewiring" have emerged to describe the increasingly emphasized metabolic changes in cancer cells. However, they have been used interchangeably without appreciation for their mechanistic distinction and biological implications. Dr. Chen and his team were the first to clearly define and distinguish them. They have accomplished a series of work that lays the foundation for a novel notion that "metabolic reprogramming" should represent "software" changes in cancer cells and describe metabolic alterations that are normally induced by growth factors in proliferating cells, but "hijacked" by oncogenic signals; and "metabolic rewiring" should represent "hardware" changes and describe newly "forged" metabolic alterations due to "neo-function" of distinct oncogenic mutants, which are not found in normal cells. Thus, they propose that oncogenic mutations reprogram and rewire metabolic pathways, which could be "fueled" by diet/nutrition, providing a proliferative advantage to cancer. Clearly distinguishing and characterizing metabolic "reprogramming" and "rewiring" in cancer cells will particularly inform therapy development as apparently targeting new "wiring" (e.g. IDH mutant inhibitors) in cancer cells will have minimal toxicity to normal cells. Moreover, exploring pathogenic links between diet and cancer patients harboring particular oncogenic mutations will provide new insights into development of a new concept that they named as "precision diet", which is specifically designed based on individual genetic background, including "personalized" diet with low cancer risk and "diet therapy" providing cancer prevention.

Their goal is to transition these novel approaches to a point where clinical benefit can be achieved for cancer patients through improved lifestyle and treatment. Three major directions include (1) Targeting mutation-specific, "synthetic lethal" metabolic partners and related "rewired" pathways in cancer; (2) Targeting diet-fueled metabolic "rewiring" in cancer; and (3) Targeting "reprogrammed" metal ion homeostasis and metabolism in cancer.

Publications

Dr. Chen has extensive publications in top peer-reviewed journals such as Cancer Cell, Molecular Cell, Nature Cell Biology, Nature ChemistryNature Communications, Science Signaling, Journal of Clinical Investigation, PNAS, and Blood. He also serves as a Reviewer in the Cancer Drug Discovery panel of Grant Review Committee, American Cancer Society, and multiple NIH/NCI study sections such as Tumor Cell Biology (TCB).