Christopher S. Chen, M.D., Ph.D., is Founding Director of the Biological Design Center, Director of the Tissue Microfabrication Laboratory, and Professor of Biomedical Engineering at Boston University and the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University.
Dr. Chen has been an instrumental figure in the development of engineered cellular microenvironments to understand how cells build tissues. His group pioneered the use of micro- and nanofabrication technologies to identify the underlying mechanisms by which cells interact with materials and each other to build organized tissues, and to apply this knowledge in the biology of stem cells and tissue vascularization. He has contributed several seminal methods to pattern the spatial organization of cells and measure cellular forces, and used these to reveal how forces regulate cell-matrix adhesion, cell-cell adhesion, and many cellular functions from proliferation to apoptosis to stem cell differentiation. Most recently, he has used these insights to engineer biomimetic cultures that recapitulate the architecture and function of a variety of human tissues, as a new platform for studying human physiology and disease.
Dr. Chen has also provided leadership at the interface between engineering, biology, and medicine, having served or is serving as a member of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering, Faculty of 1000, the Board of Trustees for the Society for BioMEMS and Biomedical Nanotechnology, and Defense Sciences Study Group, and editorial board for Annuals Reviews of Cell and Developmental Biology, Developmental Cell, Science Translational Medicine, and editor for Journal of Cell Science, Cell and Molecular Bioengineering, and Technology. He has been awarded the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers, the Angiogenesis Foundation Fellowship, the Office of Naval Research Young Investigator Award, the Mary Hulman George Award for Biomedical Research, and the Herbert W. Dickerman Award for Outstanding Contribution to Science.
He received his A.B. in Biochemistry from Harvard, M.S. in Mechanical Engineering from M.I.T., and Ph.D. in Medical Engineering and Medical Physics from the Harvard-M.I.T. Health Sciences and Technology Program. He earned his M.D. from the Harvard Medical School. He began his academic career as an Assistant Professor in Biomedical Engineering and in Oncology at Johns Hopkins University, and then was recruited to the University of Pennsylvania as the Skirkanich Professor of Innovation and founding director of the Center for Engineering Cells and Regeneration prior to his current appointment.