Yvonne Yu-Hsuan Chen
Associate Professor, MIMG, University of California Los Angeles
420 Westwood Plaza Boelter Hall 5531
Los Angeles, CA 90095
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
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.
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.
- Clubb JD, Gao TA, Chen YY. Synthetic Biology in the Engineering of CAR-T and CAR-NK Cell Therapies: Facts and Hopes.. Clinical cancer research : an official journal of the American Association for Cancer Research, 2023.
- Lakhani A, Chen X, Chen LC, Khericha M, Chen YY, Park JO. Extracellular Domains of CAR Reprogram T-Cell Metabolism Without Antigen Stimulation.. bioRxiv : the preprint server for biology, 2023.
- Larson SM, Walthers CM, Ji B, Ghafouri SN, Naparstek J, Trent J, Chen JM, Roshandell M, Harris C, Khericha M, Schweppe T, Berent-Maoz B, Gosliner SB, Almaktari A, Ceja MA, Allen-Auerbach MS, Said J, Nawaly K, Mead M, de Vos S, Young PA, Oliai C, Schiller GJ, Timmerman JM, Ribas A, Chen YY. CD19/CD20 Bispecific Chimeric Antigen Receptor (CAR) in Naive/Memory T Cells for the Treatment of Relapsed or Refractory Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma.. Cancer discovery, 2023.
- Chen X, Chen LC, Khericha M, Meng X, Salvestrini E, Shafer A, Iyer N, Alag AS, Ding Y, Nicolaou DM, Chen YY. Rational Protein Design Yields a CD20 CAR with Superior Antitumor Efficacy Compared with CD19 CAR.. Cancer immunology research, 2023.
- Cabera A, Edelstein HI, Glykofrydis F, Love KS, Palacios S, Tycko J, Zhang M, Lensch S, Shields CE, Livingston M, Weiss R, Zhao H, Haynes KA, Morsut L, Chen YY, Khalil AS, Wong WW, Collins JJ, Rosser SJ, Polizzi K, Elowitz MB, Fussenegger M, Hilton IB, Leonard JN, Bintu L, Galloway KE, Deans TL. The sound of silence: Transgene silencing in mammalian cell engineering.. Cell systems, 2022.
- Gao TA, Chen YY. Engineering Next-Generation CAR-T Cells: Overcoming Tumor Hypoxia and Metabolism.. Annual review of chemical and biomolecular engineering, 2022.
- Gao TA, Chen YY. T cells to fix a broken heart.. Science (New York, N.Y.), 2022.
- Shih RM, Chen YY. Engineering Principles for Synthetic Biology Circuits in Cancer Immunotherapy.. Cancer immunology research, 2022.
- Hong M, Chen YY. Killer fatigue: Transition to NK-cell-like phenotype is a signature of CAR-T cell exhaustion.. Cell, 2021.
- Chen LC, Hou AJ, Chen YY. Getting better mileage with logically primed CARs.. Med (New York, N.Y.), 2021.
- Hou AJ, Chen LC, Chen YY. Navigating CAR-T cells through the solid-tumour microenvironment.. Nature reviews. Drug discovery, 2021.
- Chen YY, Lim W, Levings M, Blazar B, Krenciute G, Wong W, Lehner M. What is the Optimal Design-Build-Test Cycle for Clinically Relevant Synthetic CAR T Cell Therapies?. Cell systems, 2020.
- Li JH, Chen YY. A Fresh Approach to Targeting Aging Cells: CAR-T Cells Enhance Senolytic Specificity.. Cell stem cell, 2020.
- Jayaraman J, Mellody MP, Hou AJ, Desai RP, Fung AW, Pham AHT, Chen YY, Zhao W. CAR-T design: Elements and their synergistic function.. EBioMedicine, 2020.
- Hong M, Clubb JD, Chen YY. Engineering CAR-T Cells for Next-Generation Cancer Therapy.. Cancer cell, 2020.
- Zah E, Nam E, Bhuvan V, Tran U, Ji BY, Gosliner SB, Wang X, Brown CE, Chen YY. Systematically optimized BCMA/CS1 bispecific CAR-T cells robustly control heterogeneous multiple myeloma.. Nature communications, 2020.
- Chang ZL, Hou AJ, Chen YY. Engineering primary T cells with chimeric antigen receptors for rewired responses to soluble ligands.. Nature protocols, 2020.
- Chen YY, Van Deventer JA. Editorial overview: Pharmaceutical biotechnology: new frontiers in protein, gene, and cell therapies.. Current opinion in biotechnology, 2019.
- Chen YY. Cell fishing with DNA aptamers.. Nature biomedical engineering, 2019.
- Chen LC, Chen YY. Outsmarting and outmuscling cancer cells with synthetic and systems immunology.. Current opinion in biotechnology, 2019.
- Hou AJ, Chang ZL, Lorenzini MH, Zah E, Chen YY. TGF-β-responsive CAR-T cells promote anti-tumor immune function.. Bioengineering & translational medicine, 2018.
- Katz L, Chen YY, Gonzalez R, Peterson TC, Zhao H, Baltz RH. Synthetic biology advances and applications in the biotechnology industry: a perspective.. Journal of industrial microbiology & biotechnology, 2018.
- Chen YY. Increasing T Cell Versatility with SUPRA CARs.. Cell, 2018.
- Chang ZL, Lorenzini MH, Chen X, Tran U, Bangayan NJ, Chen YY. Rewiring T-cell responses to soluble factors with chimeric antigen receptors.. Nature chemical biology, 2018.
- Ho P, Chen YY. Mammalian synthetic biology in the age of genome editing and personalized medicine.. Current opinion in chemical biology, 2017.
- Ho P, Ede C, Chen YY. Modularly Constructed Synthetic Granzyme B Molecule Enables Interrogation of Intracellular Proteases for Targeted Cytotoxicity.. ACS synthetic biology, 2017.
- Chang ZL, Chen YY. CARs: Synthetic Immunoreceptors for Cancer Therapy and Beyond.. Trends in molecular medicine, 2017.
- Zah E, Lin MY, Silva-Benedict A, Jensen MC, Chen YY. ADDENDUM: T Cells Expressing CD19/CD20 Bispecific Chimeric Antigen Receptors Prevent Antigen Escape by Malignant B Cells.. Cancer immunology research, 2016.
- Zah E, Lin MY, Silva-Benedict A, Jensen MC, Chen YY. T Cells Expressing CD19/CD20 Bispecific Chimeric Antigen Receptors Prevent Antigen Escape by Malignant B Cells.. Cancer immunology research, 2016.
- Ede C, Chen X, Lin MY, Chen YY. Quantitative Analyses of Core Promoters Enable Precise Engineering of Regulated Gene Expression in Mammalian Cells.. ACS synthetic biology, 2016.
- Chen YY. Efficient Gene Editing in Primary Human T Cells.. Trends in immunology, 2015.
- Chang ZL, Silver PA, Chen YY. Identification and selective expansion of functionally superior T cells expressing chimeric antigen receptors.. Journal of translational medicine, 2015.
- Chen YY, Galloway KE, Smolke CD. Synthetic biology: advancing biological frontiers by building synthetic systems.. Genome biology, 2012.
- Chen YY, Smolke CD. From DNA to targeted therapeutics: bringing synthetic biology to the clinic.. Science translational medicine, 2011.
- Beisel CL, Chen YY, Culler SJ, Hoff KG, Smolke CD. Design of small molecule-responsive microRNAs based on structural requirements for Drosha processing.. Nucleic acids research, 2010.
- Chen YY, Jensen MC, Smolke CD. 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.