Yvonne Y. Chen, Ph.D.

Laboratory Address:
420 Westwood Plaza Boelter Hall 5531
Los Angeles, CA 90095

Affiliations
Affiliations
Associate Professor, Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, Microbiology, Immunology & Molecular Genetics
Co-Director, Tumor Immunology Program, Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center
Member, Eli & Edythe Broad Center of Regenerative Medicine & Stem Cell Research, Immunity, Microbes & Molecular Pathogenesis GPB Home Area, Molecular Biology Institute, Molecular Pharmacology GPB Home Area
Research Interests
Dr. Yvonne Chen is an Associate Professor of Microbiology, Immunology, and Molecular Genetics at the University of California, Los Angeles. Prior to joining UCLA in 2013, Dr. Chen was a Junior Fellow in the Harvard Society of Fellows. She received her B.S. in Chemical Engineering from Stanford University and her Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from the California Institute of Technology. She performed postdoctoral research at the Seattle Children’s Research Institute and the Department of Systems Biology at Harvard Medical School. The Chen lab’s work on engineering next-generation T-cell therapies for cancer has been recognized by the NIH Director’s Early Independence Award, the NSF CAREER Award, the Hellman Fellowship, the ACGT Young Investigator Award in Cell and Gene Therapy for Cancer, the Mark Foundation Emerging Leader Award, and the Cancer Research Institute Lloyd J. Old STAR Award. Dr. Chen is also a Member Researcher in the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy.

The Chen Laboratory is focused on applying synthetic biology and biomolecular engineering techniques to develop robust cell-based therapies for otherwise intractable diseases. We are particularly interested in engineering multi-functional T cells that can accurately identify and effectively eliminate tumor cells, in part by overcoming the various defense mechanisms associated with cancers and their microenvironments. Bispecific chimeric antigen receptor (CAR)-T cells developed in our laboratory is being tested in the clinic, and current projects include the development of next-generation CAR-T cells with enhanced specificity, reduced toxicity, and the ability to overcome tumor-associated immunosuppression.
Biography:

Prof. Yvonne Chen's research focuses on applying synthetic biology and biomolecular engineering techniques to the development of robust cell-based immunotherapy for cancer, particularly T cells expressing tumor-targeting chimeric antigen receptors. She received her B.S. in Chemical Engineering from Stanford University and her Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering form the California Institute of Technology. Yvonne was a Junior Fellow at the Harvard Society of Fellows prior to joining UCLA in 2013. The Chen Laboratory's work on engineering next-generation T-cell therapy for cancer has been recognized by the NIH Director’s Early Independence Award, NSF CAREER Award, the ACGT New Investigator Award in Cell and Gene Therapy for Cancer, the Mark Foundation Emerging Leader Award, and the Cancer Research Institute Lloyd J. Old STAR Award.

Publications

A selected list of publications:

Chen Laurence C, Chen Yvonne Y   Outsmarting and outmuscling cancer cells with synthetic and systems immunology Current opinion in biotechnology, 2019; 60(2): 111-118.
Katz Leonard, Chen Yvonne Y, Gonzalez Ramon, Peterson Todd C, Zhao Huimin, Baltz Richard H   Synthetic biology advances and applications in the biotechnology industry: a perspective Journal of industrial microbiology & biotechnology, 2018; 45(7): 449-461.
Chen Yvonne Y   Increasing T Cell Versatility with SUPRA CARs Cell, 2018; 173(6): 1316-1317.
Hou Andrew J, Chang ZeNan L, Lorenzini Michael H, Zah Eugenia, Chen Yvonne Y   TGF-β-responsive CAR-T cells promote anti-tumor immune function Bioengineering & translational medicine, 2018; 3(2): 75-86.
Chang ZeNan L, Lorenzini Michael H, Chen Ximin, Tran Uyen, Bangayan Nathanael J, Chen Yvonne Y   Rewiring T-cell responses to soluble factors with chimeric antigen receptors Nature chemical biology, 2018; 14(3): 317-324.
Wong Remus S, Chen Yvonne Y, Smolke Christina D   Regulation of T cell proliferation with drug-responsive microRNA switches Nucleic acids research, 2018; 46(3): 1541-1552.
Ho Patrick, Chen Yvonne Y   Mammalian synthetic biology in the age of genome editing and personalized medicine Current opinion in chemical biology, 2017; 40(3): 57-64.
Ho Patrick, Ede Christopher, Chen Yvonne Y   Modularly Constructed Synthetic Granzyme B Molecule Enables Interrogation of Intracellular Proteases for Targeted Cytotoxicity ACS synthetic biology, 2017; 6(8): 1484-1495.
Chang ZeNan L, Chen Yvonne Y   CARs: Synthetic Immunoreceptors for Cancer Therapy and Beyond Trends in molecular medicine, 2017; 23(5): 430-450.
Zah Eugenia, Lin Meng-Yin, Silva-Benedict Anne, Jensen Michael C, Chen Yvonne Y   ADDENDUM: T Cells Expressing CD19/CD20 Bispecific Chimeric Antigen Receptors Prevent Antigen Escape by Malignant B Cells Cancer immunology research, 2016; 4(7): 639-41.
Zah Eugenia, Lin Meng-Yin, Silva-Benedict Anne, Jensen Michael C, Chen Yvonne Y   T cells expressing CD19/CD20 bi-specific chimeric antigen receptors prevent antigen escape by malignant B cells Cancer immunology research, 2016; 16(5): .
Ede Christopher, Chen Ximin, Lin Meng-Yin, Chen Yvonne Y   Quantitative Analyses of Core Promoters Enable Precise Engineering of Regulated Gene Expression in Mammalian Cells ACS synthetic biology, 2016; 17(5): .
Chen Yvonne Y   Efficient Gene Editing in Primary Human T Cells Trends in immunology, 2015; 36(11): 667-9.
Chang ZeNan L, Silver Pamela A, Chen Yvonne Y   Identification and selective expansion of functionally superior T cells expressing chimeric antigen receptors Journal of translational medicine, 2015; 13(1): 161.
Wei Kathy Y, Chen Yvonne Y, Smolke Christina D   A yeast-based rapid prototype platform for gene control elements in mammalian cells Biotechnology and bioengineering, 2013; 110(4): 1201-10.
Chen Yvonne Y, Galloway Kate E, Smolke Christina D   Synthetic biology: advancing biological frontiers by building synthetic systems Genome biology, 2012; 13(2): 240.
Chen Yvonne Y, Smolke Christina D   From DNA to targeted therapeutics: bringing synthetic biology to the clinic Science translational medicine, 2011; 3(106): 106ps42.
Beisel Chase L, Chen Yvonne Y, Culler Stephanie J, Hoff Kevin G, Smolke Christina D   Design of small molecule-responsive microRNAs based on structural requirements for Drosha processing Nucleic acids research, 2011; 39(7): 2981-94.
Chen Yvonne Y, Jensen Michael C, Smolke Christina D   Genetic control of mammalian T-cell proliferation with synthetic RNA regulatory systems Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 2010; 107(19): 8531-6.
Jewett Michael C, Miller Mark L, Chen Yvonne, Swartz James R   Continued protein synthesis at low [ATP] and [GTP] enables cell adaptation during energy limitation Journal of bacteriology, 2009; 191(3): 1083-91.