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Molecular and Cellular Biology

Houston, Texas

Image 1: Ovulated mouse cumulus cell oocyte complex immunostained for matrix proteins hyaluronan and versican. By JoAnne Richards, Ph.D.; Image 2: By Yi LI, Ph.D.; Image 3: Mouse oocyte at meiosis I immunostained  for tubulin (red) phosphop38MAPK (green) and DNA (blue). By JoAnne Richards,  Ph.D.;  Image 4: Expanded cumulus cell ooctye ocmplex  immunostained for hyaluronan (red), TSG6 (green) and DAN (blue). By JoAnne  Richards, Ph.D.;  Image 5: Epithelial cells taken from a mouse  mammary gland were cultured in a dish and transduced with a retrovirus  expressing two genes. The green staining shows green fluorescent protein and the red  staining shows progesterone receptor expression. The nucleus of each cell is  stained blue. Photomicrograph taken at 200X magnification.  By Sandra L. Grimm,  Ph.D.; Image 6: Ovarian vasculature (red) is excluded from the granulosa cells (blue) within growing follicles (round structures); Image 7:  Ovulated mouse cumulus cell oocyte  complex immunostained for matrix proteins hyaluronan and versican. By JoAnne Richards, Ph.D.
Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology
not shown on screen

Changyi (Johnny) Chen, M.D., Ph.D.

Changyi (Johnny) Chen, M.D., Ph.D. photo
Departments of Surgery and Molecular and Cellular Biology
Director, Molecular Surgeon Research Center
Vice Chair for Research


M.D.: Southeast University School of Medicine, Nanjing, China
Ph.D.: Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta
Postdoctoral training: Emory University, Atlanta

Research Interest

HIV-associated Cardiovascular Disease; Vascular Tissue Engineering; Risk Factors; and Pancreatic Cancer
Dr. Chen's laboratory is actively conducting several basic science and translation research projects, which are highly relevant to clinical cardiovascular disease and pancreatic cancer. For example, they are investigating the effects of HIV protease inhibitors on endothelial functions focusing on the endothelial nitric oxide synthase system, oxidative stress system, and signal transduction pathways. Different model systems are used to these investigations such as human and non-human primate vessels, porcine coronary and pulmonary arteries, and different types of endothelial cells. The primary objectives of these projects are to determine the molecular mechanisms of HIV protease inhibitors-induced endothelial dysfunction and to develop novel strategies to reverse these detrimental effects of HIV protease inhibitors. In addition, Dr. Chen's laboratory has a long term interest in vascular lesion formation, tissue engineering of vascular grafts and molecular mechanisms of vascular healing and stem cell differentiation. For example, Dr. Chen's group is working on a novel small diameter vascular graft which can be tissue-engineered from the porcine carotid artery by decellularization, heparin covalent linkage, and heparin binding growth factors, and endothelial progenitor cell (EPC) seeding. A multidisciplinary approach is used including tissue engineering, cellular and molecular biology, and small and large animal models. Furthermore, Dr. Chen’s group is heavily involved in the new program of the personalized genomic medicine and surgery on vascular disease and pancreatic cancer. These studies include tissue banking, genomic profiling, preclinical testing, and clinical trials.

Contact Information

Baylor College of Medicine
One Baylor Plaza, NAB2010
Houston, TX 77030

Phone: 713-798-4401
Fax: 713-798-6633

Selected Publications

  1. Mu H, Wang X, Lin PH, Yao Q and Chen C. (2008). Nitrotyrosine Promotes Human Aortic Smooth Muscle Cell Migration Through oxidative stress and ERK1/2 Activation. BBA - Molecular Cell Research, in press.
  2. Chen C, Jamaluddin MS, Yan S, Sheikh-Hamad D and Yao Q. (2008). Human Stanniocalcin-1 Blocks TNF-α-Induced Monolayer Permeability in Human Coronary Artery Endothelial Cells. Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol. 2008 Feb 28; [Epub ahead of print]
  3. Wang X, Liao D, Bharadwaj U, Li M, Yao Q and Chen C. (2008). C-Reactive Protein Inhibits Cholesterol Efflux From Human Macrophage-Derived Foam Cells. Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol 28(3):519-26.
  4. Li M, Zhang Y, Liu Z, Bharadwaj U, Wang H, Wang X, Zhang S, Liuzzi JP, Chang SM, Cousins RJ, Fisher WE, Brunicardi FC, Logsdon CD, Chen C and Yao Q. (2007). Aberrant Expression of Zinc Transporter ZIP4 (SLC39A4) Significantly Contributes to Human Pancreatic Cancer Pathogenesis and Progression. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 104(47):18636-18641.
  5. Bechara C, Wang X, Chai H, Lin PH, Yao Q and Chen C. (2007). Growth-Related Oncogene-Alpha Induces Endothelial Dysfunction through Oxidative Stress and Downregulation of eNOS in Porcine Coronary Arteries. Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol 293(5):H3088-95.
  6. Wang X, Mu H, Chai H, Liao D, Yao Q and Chen C. (2007). Human immunodeficiency virus protease inhibitor ritonavir inhibits cholesterol efflux from human macrophage-derived foam cells. Am J Pathol 171(1):304-14.
  7. Bharadwaj U, Li M, Zhang R, Chen C and Yao Q. (2007). Elevated Interleukin-6 and G-CSF in Human Pancreatic Cancer Cell Conditioned Medium Suppress Dendritic Cell Differentiation and Activation. Cancer Res 67(11):5479-88.
  8. Mu H, Ohashi R, Yan S, Chai H, Yang H, Lin P, Yao Q and Chen C. (2006). Adipokine resistin promotes in vitro angiogenesis of human endothelial cells. Cardiovasc Res 70(1):146-157.
  9. Chai H, Zhou W, Lin PH, Lumsden AB, Yao Q and Chen C. (2005). Ginsenosides block HIV protease inhibitor ritonavir-induced vascular dysfunction of porcine coronary arteries. American Journal of Physiology, Heart and Circulation 288:H2965-H2971.
  10. Wang H, Riha GM, Yan S, Li M, Chai H, Yang H, Yao Q and Chen C. (2005). Shear Stress Induces Endothelial Differentiation from a Murine Embryonic Mesenchymal Progenitor Cell Line. Arterio Thromb Vas Biol 25:1817-1823.

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