The Chen Lab


Tissue Microfabrication Lab

Christopher S. Chen, M.D., Ph.D
Skirkanich Professor of Innovation
Department of Bioengineering
Cell Biology and Physiology Program
Cancer Biology Program
Center for Engineering Cells and Regeneration (CECR)
Institute for Regenerative Medicine (IRM)
RESBIO - The Technology Resource for Polymeric Biomaterials
University of Pennsylvania



My laboratory seeks to understand how cells interact with their environment, and to use this knowledge to control cell function. In particular, we are studying the cooperation between adhesive, mechanical and biochemical signaling in the regulation of angiogenesis and stem cell biology. To probe these questions in novel ways, our laboratory has developed a repertoire of unique micro- and nanofabrication tools to control and
measure the adhesive and mechanical environment of cells. Using these tools in combination with traditional molecular approaches, we are investigating numerous regulatory interactions between mechanical forces and biochemical signaling, and between integrin-, cadherin-, and growth factor-mediated signaling. Our research program thus focuses on both the integration of novel devices, manipulation strategies, and materials with modern molecular tools, as well as the pursuit of a deeper understanding of the regulation of stem cells and endothelial cells.

At this interface between technology, cell biology, and medicine, our mission is to provide new tools for biomedicine, to gain new insights into the control of cell function, to train multi-disciplinary scientists undeterred by disciplinary boundaries, and to demonstrate the boundless opportunities for impacting the future of research and education.

We have several research programs that specifically address:
1) developing novel microfabrication and miniaturization tools for biological and medical research applications,
2) understanding the mechanisms of tissue vascularization,
3) the regulation of stem cell lineage commitment and differentiation, and
4) the role mechanical forces in cell function.