Hong Chen, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Surgery at Harvard Medical School

Principal Investigator at Boston Children's Hospital


Research Description:

Maintaining vessel health

Maintaining a healthy vascular system can prevent conditions such as heart disease and stroke, but sometimes we need medicines to help. In our lab, we enlist epsins—a family of endocytic adaptor proteins involved in blood and lymphatic vessel growth—to restore proper blood and lymphatic vessel function and combat diseases like atherosclerosis, ischemic stroke, diabetes, myocardial infarction, lymphedema, and cancer. Understanding how epsins along with their upstream regulators such as Foxc2 and microRNAs, influence lymphatic signaling, transport and lymphangiogenesis in metabolic disorder such as obesity is one of invigorating research projects in the lab. Our sophisticated genetic approach, combined with bioinformatic analyses of single cell transcriptomes and biochemical, histological, functional studies has allowed us to elucidate the molecular mechanisms responsible and develop promising clinically relevant therapies for aforementioned diseases in humans.

Lab Website: https://projects.iq.harvard.edu/chenlab

Top lesson you have learned in your career:

The best lesson I have learned in my career is that hard work and perseverance almost always pay off. In other words, you make your own luck. It may be a cliché, but I have found it to be true (most of the time). The second top lesson I have learned is that investing your time to cultivate relationships with people who would be your advocators, mentors and supporters for your science is almost as crucial as being creative and original in your science.

Recent Publications:

  • Wu H, Rahman HNA, Dong Y, Liu X, Lee Y, Wen A, To KH, Xiao L, Birsner AE, Bazinet L, Wong S, Song K, Brophy ML, Mahamud MR, Chang B, Cai X, Pasula S, Kwak S, Yang W, Bischoff J, Xu J, Bielenberg DR, Dixon JB, D'Amato RJ, Srinivasan RS, Chen H. Epsin deficiency promotes lymphangiogenesis through regulation of VEGFR3 degradation in diabetes. J Clin Invest. 2018; 128, 4025-4043.
  • Dong Y, Lee Y, Zhang K, He M, Ouyang K, Wen A, Cowan DB, Deng L, Cui G, Yu L, Wu H, Song K, Liu X, Brophy ML, Wong S, Wylie-Sears J, Matsumoto H, Chen J, Wojcikiewicz RJH, Srivastava S, Bischoff J, Wang DZ, Ley K, Chen H. Epsin-mediated degradation of IP3R1 fuels atherosclerosis. Nat Comm. 2020; 11, 3984.
  • Brophy ML, Dong Y, Tao H, Yancey PG, Song K, Zhang K, Wen A, Wu H, Lee Y, Malovichko MV, Sithu SD, Wong S, Yu L, Kocher O, Bischoff J, Srivastava S, Linton MF, Ley K, Chen H. Myeloid-Specific Deletion of Epsins 1 and 2 Reduces Atherosclerosis by Preventing LRP-1 Downregulation. Circ Res. 2019; 124, e6–e19.