Chen Lab


Chemical Basis for Disease

Chemists have had a profound impact on biology, by providing the tools and insights to discover and control the mechanisms of the macromolecules of life. Over half the faculty in the department have research projects related to biological chemistry. The goals of our research are to develop molecules and approaches to interrogate and control biological systems, including research projects that address the following topics:

  • molecules and assemblies for drug delivery
  • biomimetic materials and catalysts
  • enzymatic synthesis of pharmacological compounds
  • drug target function and validation measurements
  • protein folding; protein misfolding diseases
  • membrane protein signaling and transport
  • enzyme and metalloenzyme mechanisms
  • apoptotic proteins and pathways
  • protein-nucleic acid interactions

Our department is well-known for applying biophysical/bioanalytical approaches to uncovering fundamental mechanisms of protein folding and function. We apply an arsenal of tools, including spectroscopies, crystallography, calorimetry, and protein engineering, to systems that range from fundamental models to proteins involved in disease states. We are also well-known for developing small molecules and assemblies to mimic or control biomolecules and systems. Recent hires bring new emphasis on engineering proteins for enzymatic synthesis and drug target validation, and developing small molecules for interrogating function in living cells.


Center and Programs

  • CBI-Chemical-Biology Interface Program (NIH Training Grant)
  • Biotech Training Program (NIH Training Grant)
  • Soft Materials for Life Sciences (NRT NSF Training Grant)
  • MCB-Molecular and Cellular Biology Program
  • IALS-Institute for Applied Life Sciences