Dr. Chen received her undergraduate degree in Biology from Peking University in 1990. After spending two years in the Chemistry and Biochemistry Department at UCLA, she moved to the Developmental Biology Department at Stanford University and obtained her PhD degree in 1998. Her graduate research in Bruce Baker’s laboratory focused on pattern formation in Drosophila imaginal discs. She was a Helen Hay Whitney postdoctoral fellow in the laboratory of Eric Olson at UT Southwestern Medical Center, where she initiated an independent project investigating the mechanisms underlying cell-cell fusion. In 2004, Dr. Chen joined the Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine as an Assistant Professor and was promoted to a Full Professor in 2016. Her lab has discovered the asymmetric fusogenic synapse that mediates a variety of cell-cell fusion events. Dr. Chen moved back to UT Southwestern in 2016, where she continues to use a multifaceted approach including genetics, cell biology, biochemistry and biophysics to address major unanswered questions in cell-cell fusion using organisms ranging from insects to mammals.  


Peking University (1990), Biochemistry
Graduate School
Stanford University (1998), Developmental Biology

Research Interest

  • Actin cytoskeletal dynamics
  • Cell-Cell Fusion
  • Mechanobiology
  • Muscle development and regeneration


Featured Publications LegendFeatured Publications

Mechanisms of myoblast fusion during muscle development.
Kim JH, Jin P, Duan R, Chen EH Curr. Opin. Genet. Dev. 2015 Jun 32 162-70
Invasive podosomes and myoblast fusion.
Chen EH Curr Top Membr 2011 68 235-58
Ultrastructural analysis of myoblast fusion in Drosophila.
Zhang S, Chen EH Methods Mol. Biol. 2008 475 275-97
Cell-cell fusion.
Chen EH, Grote E, Mohler W, Vignery A FEBS Lett. 2007 May 581 11 2181-93
A critical function for the actin cytoskeleton in targeted exocytosis of prefusion vesicles during myoblast fusion.
Kim S, Shilagardi K, Zhang S, Hong SN, Sens KL, Bo J, Gonzalez GA, Chen EH Dev. Cell 2007 Apr 12 4 571-86


Featured Books Legend Featured Books

Cell Fusion

E. Chen (Ed.) (2008). NJ, Humana Press Inc.

Honors & Awards

  • WICB Mid-Career Award for Excellence in Research, American Society for Cell Biology
  • HHMI Faculty Scholar
  • National Established Investigator Award, American Heart Association
  • Basil O'Connor Starter Scholar Research Award, March of Dimes
  • Searle Scholar, The Chicago Community Trust
  • David and Lucile Packard Fellowship for Science and Engineering
  • Edward Mallinckrodt, Jr. Foundation Young Investigator Award
  • National Scientist Development Award, American Heart Association
  • UT Southwestern Medical Center Postdoctoral Research Award
  • The Helen Hay Whitney Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship

Professional Associations/Affiliations

  • Biophysical Society (2012)
  • American Society for Cell Biology (2008)