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Chen Lab

A central goal of our current research at Vanderbilt is to understand how tumor metabolic environment regulates cancer metastasis and tumor sensitivity to immunotherapies.

We are open for rotations!  Information on rotations for Vanderbilt graduate students and joining the Chen lab.

The current projects of the lab focus on improving antitumor immune therapies by targeting tumor blood vessels and tumor cell mTOR signaling and metabolism.  Our approach involves a combination of mining human cancer datasets, CRISPR/Cas9 technology-enabled and traditional transgenic/ knockout animal tumor models, as well as microscopy, cell biology and biochemistry techniques. Current project includes:


  1. Glutamine metabolic competition between cancer cells and tumor infiltrating lymphocytes in breast cancer and bone metastasis.
  2. Regulation of fatty acid transendothelial transport by mTOR signaling in tumor blood vessel.
  3. Targeting mTORC2 in squamous lung cancer and enhancing antitumor immunity.
  4. SgRNA library screen for metabolic genes that regulate cancer metastasis and antitumor immunity.
  5. EphA2 receptor tyrosine kinase in bone metastasis.