Yun Chen

Assistant Professor

Research Interests

Cell Mechanics, biophysical properties of cancer microenvironment, mechanosignaling pathways, drug delivery, bioenergetics in mitochondria.

Yun Chen was most recently a Research Fellow with the National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health. Dr. Chen completed her PhD in Biomedical Engineering at the University of North Carolina, where her research focused on tracking molecular movements in cells by single particle tracking with fast-sampling high-resolution microscopy. Dr. Chen was a 2010-13 NIH Intramural Research Training Award Fellow at National Institutes of Health and awarded 2007-2010 Joint NIST/NIH Interface Research Associate Fellowship by National Research Council, National Academy of Sciences. Her representative publications can be found at https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Yun_Chen32.

Dr. Yun Chen’s research efforts are focused on studying how biophysical and biochemical factors are coordinated to achieve homeostasis or facilitate pathogenesis across molecular, cellular and tissue levels. In particular, Dr. Chen uses multi-scale, multi-modality imaging integrating magnetic resonance imaging, optical microscopy and atomic force microscopy to study dynamical regulatory networks and mechanosignaling in cancer and its microenvironment. The physical parameters such as diffusion rate, fluid viscosity, tissue rigidity, electric surface charges, etc., in tumor microenvironment can be probed with the multi-scale, multi-modality imaging platform and subsequently assessed for their contribution in early cancer development. In addition, Dr. Chen is combining mass spectrometry-based proteomics with the imaging tools to identify the key molecules biophysically driving tumor progression. Dr. Chen also partners with clinicians at National Cancer Institute to develop collaborative translational research projects based on her findings.


  • 2015 - Present:  Faculty Member of Center for Cell Dynamics, SOM School of Medicine
Journal Articles
  • Mather IH, Masedunskas A, Chen Y, Weigert R (2019).  Intravital imaging of the lactating mammary gland in live mice reveals novel aspects of milk-lipid secretion.  Journal of Dairy Science.  Elsevier.  1--23.
  • Pittman M, Chen Y (2018).  3D-printed magnetic tweezers for dorsal traction force measurement.  BioTechniques.  65.  347--349.
  • Park S, Lui C, Jung W, Maity D, Ong CS, Bush J, Maruthamuthu V, Hibino N, Chen Y (2018).  Mechanical Characterization of hiPSC‐Derived Cardiac Tissues for Quality Control.  Advanced Biosystems.  2.  1800251.
  • Park S, Joo YK, Chen Y (2018).  Dynamic adhesion characterization of cancer cells under blood flow-mimetic conditions: effects of cell shape and orientation on drag force.  Microfluidics and Nanofluidics.  22.  108.
  • Hipp J, Johann D, Chen Y, Madabhushi A, Monaco J, Cheng J, Rodriguez-Canales J, Stumpe M, Riedlinger G, Rosenberg A, Hanson J, Kunju L, Emmert-Buck M, Balis U, Tangrea M (2018).  Computer-aided laser dissection: A microdissection workflow leveraging image analysis tools.  Journal of Pathology Informatics.  9.  45.
  • Chen Y, Oleg Milberg, Akiko Shitara, Andrius Masedunskas, Duy T. Tran,, Mary Anne Conti, Robert S. Adelstein, Kelly G. Ten Hagen, Roberto Weigert (2017).  Concerted actions of distinct nonmuscle myosin II isoforms drive intracellular membrane remodeling in live animals.  Journal of Cell Biology.  216(7).  1925.
  • Masedunskas A, Chen Y, Stussman R, Weigert R, Mather IH (2017).  Kinetics of milk lipid droplet transport, growth, and secretion revealed by intravital imaging: lipid droplet release is intermittently stimulated by oxytocin..  Molecular biology of the cell.  28(7).  935-946.
  • Rosenberg AZ, Armani MD, Fetsch PA, Xi L, Pham TT, Raffeld M, Chen Y, O'Flaherty N, Stussman R, Blackler AR, Du Q, Hanson JC, Roth MJ, Filie AC, Roh MH, Emmert-Buck MR, Hipp JD, Tangrea MA (2016).  High-Throughput Microdissection for Next-Generation Sequencing..  PloS one.  11(3).  e0151775.
  • Tangrea MA, Rosenberg AZ, Fetsch PA, Armani MD, Xi L, Raffeld M, Pham TT, Chen Y, O’Flaherty N, Stussman R, others (2015).  Do-It-Yourself expression microdissection (DIY xMD): A low-cost, high-throughput cell and organelle isolation system.  Cancer Research.  75(15 Supplement).  230-230.
  • Porat-Shliom N, Chen Y, Tora M, Shitara A, Masedunskas A, Weigert R (2014).  In vivo tissue-wide synchronization of mitochondrial metabolic oscillations.  Cell reports.  9(2).  514-521.
  • Chen Y, Tangrea MA, Rosenberg AZ, Du Q, Emmert-Buck MA (2014).  Diffusion Discrepancy between Stroma of Tumor and Normal Tissues.  Biophysical Journal.  106(2).  734a.
  • Chen Y, Pasapera AM, Koretsky AP, Waterman CM (2013).  Orientation-specific responses to sustained uniaxial stretching in focal adhesion growth and turnover.  Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.  110(26).  E2352-E2361.
  • Chen Y, Dodd SJ, Tangrea MA, Emmert-Buck MR, Koretsky AP (2013).  Measuring collective cell movement and extracellular matrix interactions using magnetic resonance imaging.  Scientific reports.  3.
  • Qian C, Yu X, Chen D, Dodd S, Bouraoud N, Pothayee N, Chen Y, Beeman S, Bennett K, Murphy-Boesch J, others (2013).  Wireless amplified nuclear MR detector (WAND) for high-spatial-resolution MR imaging of internal organs: preclinical demonstration in a rodent model.  Radiology.  268(1).  228-236.
  • Chen Y, Guzik S, Sumner JP, Moreland J, Koretsky AP (2011).  Magnetic manipulation of actin orientation, polymerization, and gliding on myosin using superparamagnetic iron oxide particles.  Nanotechnology.  22(6).  065101.
  • Chen Y, Veracini L, Benistant C, Jacobson K (2009).  The transmembrane protein CBP plays a role in transiently anchoring small clusters of Thy-1, a GPI-anchored protein, to the cytoskeleton.  Journal of cell science.  122(21).  3966-3972.
  • Thelin WR, Chen Y, Gentzsch M, Kreda SM, Sallee JL, Scarlett CO, Borchers CH, Jacobson K, Stutts MJ, Milgram SL (2007).  Direct interaction with filamins modulates the stability and plasma membrane expression of CFTR.  Journal of Clinical Investigation.  117(2).  364.
  • Chen Y, Thelin WR, Yang B, Milgram SL, Jacobson K (2006).  Transient anchorage of cross-linked glycosyl-phosphatidylinositol-anchored proteins depends on cholesterol, Src family kinases, caveolin, and phosphoinositides.  The Journal of cell biology.  175(1).  169-178.
  • Chen Y, Lagerholm BC, Yang B, Jacobson K (2006).  Methods to measure the lateral diffusion of membrane lipids and proteins.  Methods.  39(2).  147-153.
  • Peterson LJ, Rajfur Z, Maddox AS, Freel CD, Chen Y, Edlund M, Otey C, Burridge K (2004).  Simultaneous stretching and contraction of stress fibers in vivo.  Molecular biology of the cell.  15(7).  3497-3508.
  • Chen Y, Yang B, Jacobson K (2004).  Transient confinement zones: a type of lipid raft?.  Lipids.  39(11).  1115-1119.
  • Chen Y, Lai M (2001).  c-Jun NH2-terminal kinase activation leads to a FADD-dependent but Fas ligand-independent cell death in Jurkat T cells.  Journal of Biological Chemistry.  276(11).  8350-8357.
  • Chen Y, Park S (2019).  Mechanics of Biological Systems.  IOP Publishing.
  • "Versatile and High-throughput Microfluidics Platform for Dorsal Cell Mechanics", IEEE Nano-Medicine Conference,.  Honolulu Hawaii, United States of America (the).  December 5, 2018
  • "Non-Trivial Quantum Effects in the Biological System", Non-classical Behaviors in Biological Functions: Potential for Smart Sensing Symposium.  Arlington Virginia, United States of America (the).  April 12, 2018
  • "Model Gene Expression by Evaluating the Diffusion of Transcription Factors, the Transcription Factor-Chromatin Binding Kinetics, the Shape of the Nucleus, and the Chromatin Packing State", National Science Foundation Cell Modeling Hackathon.  San Francisco California, United States of America (the).  March 14, 2018
  • "Developing microtissue-building toolbox to study biophysical effects at multiple scales", American Physical Society March Meeting.  Los Angeles California, United States of America (the).  March 8, 2018
  • "A microtissue-building toolbox to study biophysical effects on cell dynamics", 2017 ASCB/EMBO meeting.  Philadelphia Pennsylvania, United States of America (the).  December 3, 2017
  • "Multidisciplinary Research Career Development", Boston Taiwanese Biotechnology Association (BTBA) symposium.  Cambrudge Massachusetts, United States of America (the).  August 5, 2017
  • "Environmental Adaptation at The Multi-Cellular Level", NSF Quantitative Cell Biology workshop: Cells as Dynamical Systems.  San Francisco California, United States of America (the).  May 22, 2017
  • "Building an Imaging-Based Toolbox to Study Mechnochemistry", Seminar Series of the Patent Examiner Technical Training Program.  Alexandria Virginia, United States of America (the).  April 25, 2017
  • "3D bio-printing organoids of physiological geometry at micron resolution", Biology Department Seminar.  Clinton New York, United States of America (the).  February 27, 2017
  • "Developing 3D Molding Technique to Study the Effect of Geometry on Protein Expression", American Society of Cell Biology 2016 Annual Meeting.  San Francisco, United States of America (the).  December 4, 2016
  • "Imaging Organoids", National Cancer Institute Department Seminar.  Frederick Maryland, United States of America (the).  August 24, 2016
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