Kang Chen

Kang Chen

Associate Professor with Tenure



Kang Chen

Academic Rank

Associate Professor with Tenure

Office Address

421 E. Canfield Street, Detroit, MI 48201




Dr. Chen studied in the National University of Singapore on a Singapore government scholarship. He initially majored in Computer Science and later graduated with First-Class Honors degree in biochemistry, studying tumor immunology and microbial pathogenesis. He did graduate research in immunology and microbial pathogenesis at Weill Cornell Medicine and Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and postdoctoral research at Weill Cornell Medicine and Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. While in New York, he also worked with the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-HABITAT) on initiatives of sustainable urbanization and public health and organized regular seminars to host world-renowned political, economic and scientific leaders in the UN Headquarters. He has been a member of the NIH/NIAID Mucosal Immunology Studies Team, the tumor biology and microenvironment program at Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute and the UN Committee on Human Settlements in consultative relationship with the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC).

He has received many awards, such as the Singapore Lijen Industrial Development Medal, Charles Janeway Memorial Award, Wayne State University Research and Teaching Excellence Awards, and authored many articles in Science, Nature Medicine, Nature Immunology, Immunity, Annual Review of Immunology, Journal of Clinical Investigation, Journal of Experimental Medicine and Trends in Immunology. Currently, he is a Burroughs Wellcome Fund investigator, reviews manuscripts and grants for leading journals and funding agencies in the US, Europe and Asia, and co-chairs the Immunology Focus Group of Wayne State University, Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute and Henry Ford Health System.


B.Sc., National University of Singapore
B.Sc. with Honours (First-Class Honours), National University of Singapore
Ph.D., Weill Cornell Medicine and Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center

Courses taught

  • IBS7090 Biomedical Immunobiology
  • IM7010/CB7010 Fundamentals of Immunology
  • MGG7091 Scientific Enquiries
  • MGG7400 Molecular Biology of Cell Signaling
  • IM8999 Master's Thesis Research and Direction
  • CB7700 Cancer Biology Journal Club
  • PSL7700 Stem Cell Biology
  • PSL7690 Principles of Reproductive Biology
  • CB7410/IM7410 Cancer Immunology and Immunotherapy (Course Director)
  • MD2 Immunology Case Study
  • HON4998 University Honors Thesis
  • BIO6999 Honors Program Terminal Essay
  • BIO6990 Directed Study in Biology


A large number of reproductive and pediatric disorders have an immunological basis. Leveraging our immunological expertise, novel and original diagnostic, therapeutic and preventive strategies are being developed in my lab to reduce adverse pregnancy outcomes and the associated infant mortality and disability. We also collaborate with leading scientists and clinicians on campus and across the world.

Research Interests

  • Mucosal Immunology
  • Reproductive immunology
  • Immunodeficiency, Infection and Inflammation
  • Cancer Immunology



  • Zhou JZ, Way SS, Chen K (2018). Immunology of the uterine and vaginal mucosae. Trends in Immunology 39:302-314 (covery story).
  • Huang B, Faucette AN, Pawlitz MD, Pei B, Goyert JW, Zheng JZ, El-Hage NG, Cols M, Lin J, Yao F, Jassal JS, Dewar RS III, Dai J, Shen C, Polin LA, Nichols RA, Jones TB, Deng J, Bluth MH, Puder KS, Gonik B, Nayak NR, Puscheck E, Wei W-Z, Cerutti A, Colonna M, Chen K. Interleukin-33-induced expression of PIBF1 by decidual B cells protects against preterm labor. Nature Medicine 2017;23:128-35
  • Huang B, Yin M, Li X, Cao G, Qi J, Lou G, Sheng S, Kou J*, Chen K*, Yu B. Migration-Inducing Protein 7 promotes epithelial ovarian cancer tumorigenesis and angiogenesis and independently predicts poor prognosis. Oncotarget 2016;7:27552-66.
  • Faucette AN, Unger BL, Gonik B, Chen K Maternal vaccination: moving the science forward. Human Reproduction Update 2015;21:119-35.
  • Shan M, Gentile M, Yeiser JR, Walland AC, Bornstein VU, Chen K, He B, Cassis L, Bigas A, Cols M, Comera L, Huang B, Blander JM, Xiong H, Meyer L, Berin C, Augenlicht LH, Velcich A, Cerutti A. Mucus enhances gut homeostasis and oral tolerance by delivering immunoregulatory signals. Science 2013;342:447-453.
  • Hong P, Chen K, Huang B, Liu M, Li Z, Cui M, Chaqour B, Pan X, Barton ER, Jiang X-C, Siddiqui MAQ. HEXIM1 controls satellite cell expansion after injury to regulate skeletal muscle regeneration. Journal of Clinical Investigation 2012;122:3873-87.
  • Puga I, Cols M, Barra CM, He B, Cassis L, Gentile M, Comerma L, Chorny A, Shan M, Xu W, Magri G, Knowles DM, Tam W, Chiu A, Bussel JB, Serrano S, Lorente JA, Bellosillo B, Lloreta J, Juanpere N, Alameda F, Baró T, de Heredia CD, Torán N, Català A, Torrebadell M, Fortuny C, Cusí V, Carreras C, Diaz GA, Blander JM, Farber CM, Silvestri G, Cunningham-Rundles C, Calvillo M, Dufour C, Notarangelo LD, Lougaris V, Plebani A, Casanova JL, Ganal SC, Diefenbach A, Aróstegui JI, Juan M, Yagüe J, Mahlaoui N, Donadieu J, Chen K, Cerutti A. B cell-helper neutrophils stimulate immunoglobulin diversification and production in the marginal zone of the spleen. Nature Immunology 2012;13:170-80 (cover story).
  • Cerutti A, Chen K, Chorny A. Immunoglobulin responses at mucosal interfaces. Annual Review of Immunology 2011;29:273-93.
  • Chen K, Cerutti A. AIDing the pursuit of IgA diversity. Nature Immunology 12:197-198, 2011.
  • Ballon G, Chen K, Perez R, Tam W, Cesarman E. Kaposi Sarcoma Herpesvirus (KSHV) vFLIP oncoprotein induces B-cell transdifferentiation and tumorigenesis in mice. Journal of Clinical Investigation 121:1141-1153, 2011.
  • He B, Santamaria R, Xu W, Cols M, Chen K, Puga I, Shan M, Xiong H, Bussel J B, Chiu A, Puel A, Reichenbach J, Marodi L, Doffinger R, Vasconcelos J, Issekutz A, Krause J, Davies G, Li X, Grimbacher B, Plebani A, Meffre E, Picard C, Cunningham-Rundles C, Casanova J-L, Cerutti A. The transmembrane activator TACI triggers immunoglobulin class switching by activating B cells through the adaptor MyD88. Nature Immunology 11: 836-845, 2010.
  • Chen K, Cerutti A. Vaccination strategies to promote mucosal antibody responses. Immunity 33:479-491, 2010.
  • Chen K, Xu W, Wilson M, He B, Miller NW, Bengten E, Edholm E-S, Santini PA, Rath P, Chiu A, Cattalini M, Litzman J, Bussel J, Huang B, Meini A, Riesbeck K, Cunningham-Rundles C, Plebani A, Cerutti A. Immunoglobulin D enhances immune surveillance by activating antimicrobial, pro-inflammatory and B-cell stimulating programs in basophils. Nature Immunology 10:889-898, 2009.
  • Xu W, Santini PA, Sullivan JS, He B, Shan M, Ball SC, Dyer WB, Ketas TJ, Chadburn A, Cohen-Gould L, Knowles DM, Chiu A, Sanders RW, Chen K, Cerutti A. HIV-1 evades virus-specific IgG2 and IgA responses by targeting systemic and intestinal B cells via long-range intercellular conduits. Nature Immunology 10:1008-1017, 2009.

Other Information

Chen Lab's website