|Office||Boelter Hall 4531K|
|Lab||Boelter Hall 7523|
|Office Lab||(310) 206-9172|
Irene A. Chen is an associate professor in the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at the University of California, Los Angeles. Previously, she was an assistant and then associate professor at the University of California, Santa Barbara. She received a B.A. in chemistry and an M.D.-Ph.D. in biophysics from Harvard, advised by Jack Szostak, and was a Bauer Fellow in systems biology at Harvard. She has received the Searle Scholar award, NIH New Innovator award, the Camille Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar award, and the David White award for outstanding contribution in astrobiology. She has been a Simons Investigator for the Collaboration on the Origin of Life since 2013.
The Chen Lab studies life-like biochemical systems to understand their fundamental properties and address emerging challenges in biotechnology and infectious disease. Our focus is biomolecular design and evolution in two nanoscale systems: simple synthetic cells and bacteriophages (phages).
Honors & Awards
- Camille Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Award, 2018
- Regents Junior Faculty Fellowship, 2017
- NIH Director’s New Innovator Award, 2016
- Hellman Family Faculty Fellowship, 2015
- Searle Scholar Award, 2014
- Investigator of the Simons Collaboration on the Origins of Life, 2013-2023
- David White Research Award from the International Society for the Study of
the Origin of Life (given triennially), 2011
- G.E. and Science Prize for Young Life Scientists, 2006
- Harold M. Weintraub Graduate Student Award, 2005
- Barry M. Goldwater Scholar, 1998
- Westinghouse Science Talent Search, 1st place, 1995
Most Recent Publications (for a full list, please visit here)
- Zhang S, Shen Y, Chen IA, Lee J. (2022) Bayesian modeling of interaction between features in sparse multivariate count data with application to microbiome study. Annals of Applied Statistics, in press.
- Tran CH*, Saha R*, Blanco C, Bagchi D, Chen IA. (2022) Modulation of a-synuclein aggregation in vitro by a DNA aptamer. Biochemistry, in press. https://doi.org/10.1021/acs.biochem.2c00207
- Janzen E, Shen Y, Vázquez-Salazar A, Liu Z, Blanco C, Kenchel J, Chen IA. (2022) Emergent properties as by-products of prebiotic evolution of aminoacylation ribozymes. Nat. Commun., 13:3631. DOI: 10.1038/s41467-022-31387-0.
- Vázquez-Salazar A, Chen IA. (2022) In vitro evolution: From monsters to mobs. Curr. Biol., 32(12):PR580-R583. [pdf]
- Peng H, Rossetto D, Mansy SS, Jordan MC, Roos KP, Chen IA. (2022) Treatment of wound infections in a mouse model using Zn2+-releasing phage bound to gold nanorods. ACS Nano, 16(3)4756-4774.
- Verbanic S, Deacon JM, Chen IA. (2022) The chronic wound phageome: phage diversity and associations with wounds and healing outcomes. Microbiol. Spectr. 10(3):e02777-21.
- Peng H, Lelievre A, Landenfeld K, Müller S, Chen IA. (2021) Vesicle encapsulation stabilizes intermolecular association and structure formation of functional RNA and DNA. Curr. Biol., 32(1): 86-96.E6, DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2021.10.047
- Kanwar N*, Blanco C*, Chen IA, Seelig B. (2021) PacBio sequencing output increased through uniform and directional 5-fold concatenation. Sci. Rep., 11(18065), DOI: 10.1038/s41598-021-96829-z
- Peng H*, Latifi B*, Muller S, Luptak A*, Chen IA*. (2021) Self-cleaving ribozymes: substrate specificity and synthetic biology applications. RSC Chem. Biol., 2(5):1370-1383, DOI: 10.1039/D0CB00207K
- Lai Y-C, Liu Z, Chen IA. (2021) Encapsulation of ribozymes inside model protocells leads to faster evolutionary adaptation. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA, 118(21) e2025054118.
- Shuler K, Verbanic S, Chen IA, Lee J. (2021) A Bayesian nonparametric analysis for zero inflated multivariate count data with application to microbiome study. J. R. Stat. Soc. Series C, 70(4):961-979.
- Shen Y, Pressman A, Janzen E, and Chen IA. (2021) Kinetic sequencing (k-Seq) as a massively parallel assay for ribozyme kinetics: utility and critical parameters. Nuc. Acids Res., 49(12):e67, doi: 10.1093/nar/gkab199
Most Significant Publications
- Peng H, Borg RE, Dow LP, Pruitt BL, Chen IA. Controlled phage therapy by photothermal ablation of specific bacterial species using gold nanorods targeted by chimeric phages.
Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci USA, DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1913234117. [pdf]
- Verbanic S, Shen Y,
Lee J, Deacon JM, Chen IA. Microbial predictors of healing and short-term effect of debridement on the microbiome of chronic wounds: the role of facultative anaerobes.
npj Biofilms Microbiomes, 6:21.
- Janzen E, Blanco C, Peng H, Kenchel J, Chen IA. Promiscuous ribozymes and their proposed role in prebiotic evolution.
Chem. Rev. [pdf]
- Pressman A, Liu Z, Janzen E, Blanco C, Muller UF, Joyce GF, Pascal R, Chen IA. Mapping a systematic ribozyme fitness landscape reveals a frustrated evolutionary network for self-aminoacylating RNA.
J. Am. Chem. Soc., 141(15), 6213-6223.
- Peng H and Chen IA. Rapid colorimetric detection of bacterial species through capture of gold nanoparticles by chimeric phages. ACS Nano, 13 (2), 1244–1252
- Saha R, Verbanic S, Chen IA. Lipid vesicles chaperone an encapsulated RNA aptamer.
Nat. Commun. 9:2313
- Pressman A, Moretti JE, Campbell GW, Muller UF*, Chen IA*. Analysis of in vitro evolution reveals the underlying distribution of catalytic activity among random sequences.
Nucleic Acids Res. 45: 8167-8179. “Breakthrough” article. [pdf]
[data on SRA]
- Jimenez JI,Xulvi-Brunet R, Campbell G, Turk-MacLeod R, Chen IA. Comprehensive experimental fitness landscape and evolutionary network for small
RNA. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA, 2013 110(37):14984-9.
[Data on Dryad: doi:10.5061/dryad.3rq8q88]
- Leu K, Kervio E,Obermayer B, Turk-MacLeod R, Yuan C, Luevano J-M, Chen E, Gerland U, Richert C, Chen IA. Cascade of reduced speed and accuracy after errors in enzyme-free copying of nucleic acid sequences. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2013. 135(1):354-366. [pdf]