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Yuan Chen, PhD

Yuan Chen, PhD
  • Associate Member
    Natural Products and Exerimental Therapeutics Program
    University of Hawaii Cancer Center
  • Academic Appointments

  • Professor, Beckman Research Institute and Director, NMR Core Facility
    City of Hope
    Duarte, CA


  • PhD, Biochemistry
    Rutgers University
    New Brunswick, New Jersey
  • Postdoctoral Training, Structural Biology
    The Scripps Research Institute
    La Jolla, CA

Research Focus

The long-term objective of my laboratory is to identify novel mechanisms that can be targeted for developing treatments and cures for life-threatening human diseases. My current focus is on ubiquitin-like modifications, which contribute to the development of cancer and neurodegenerative disorders when dysregulated. We have identified the SUMO-interacting motif (SIM) that mediates nearly all down-stream effects of SUMOylation. In addition, using the small ubiquitin-like modifier (SUMO) modifications as a model system, my laboratory has contributed significantly to the understanding of the catalytic mechanisms of the conjugation and deconjugation enzymes. Drawing upon collaborative relationships, I have expanded my research program to encompass developing small molecule chemical probes that target the conjugation and deconjugation enzymes involved in Ubl modifications and other cancer therapeutic targets.

Selected Publications

  • Zhang X, Yueb P, Pagec BDG, Lia T, Zhao W, Namanja AT, Paladino D, Zhao J, Chen Y, Gunning PT, Turkson J. (2012). Orally bioavailable small-molecule Stat3 inhibitor regresses human breast and lung cancer xenografts. Proc Nat Acad Sci, 109(24):9623-8.
  • Li Y, Perkins Al, Su Y, Ma Y, Colson L, Horne DA, Chen Y. (2012). Gold Nanoparticles as a Platform for Creating a Multi-valent Poly-SUMO Chain Inhibitor That Also Augments Ionizing Radiation. Proc Nat Acad Sci, 109(11):4092-7.
  • Li Y, Stark J, Chen DJ, Ann DK, Chen Y. (2010). Role of SUMO:SIM-Mediated Protein-Protein Interaction in Non-Homologous End Joining. Oncogene, 17;29(24):3509-19, PMC207475.
  • Wang J, Hu W, Lee B, Song J, Chen Y. (2007). The Intrinsic Affinity between E2 and the Cys Domain of E1 in Ubiquitin-Like Modifications. Mol Cell, 27(2):228-37. PMC1978417.
  • Song J, Durrin LK, Wilkinson TA, Krontiris TG, Chen Y. (2004). Identification of a SUMO Binding Motif that Recognizes SUMO Modified Proteins. Proc Nat Acad Sci, 101(40):14373-78.

Publication list via PubMed

Active Grants

  • Y. Chen, Co-Investigator; J. Turkson, PI
    R01 CA161931
    "Salicylic acid-based small-molecule Stat3 inhibitors for anticancer therapy"
    The overall goal is to conduct NMR based structural studies on Stat3 inhibitors.
  • Y. Chen, PI
    R01 GM086171
    "SUMO modification and cancer therapy"
    The overall goal of this project is to investigate the role of SUMO modification in major oncogenesis pathways.
  • Y. Chen, PI
    R01 GM102538
    "SENP: Conformational Dynamics and Inhibition by Small Molecules" The overall goal of this project is to investigate the role of conformational dynamics in SENP catalytic cycle.