Kang Chen, Ph.D.
Dr. Chen is the recipient of the WSUSOM, Assistant Professor, Research Excellence Award. The Assistant Professor level award is given to a faculty member who has demonstrated independence, novelty and significance of research, rather than a body of work, and scientific potential, rather than achievement. Six awards are presented annually and evenly distributed among Assistant Professors, Associate Professors, and Professors from the Basic Science and Clinical Departments based on criteria defined for each academic rank.
Since joining the University, the Chen lab’s research has focuses on three synergistic themes pertaining to reproductive and immunological health and diseases. Firstly, his lab studies the immune regulation of pregnancy and mucosal immunity of the female reproductive tract, and in particular, has focused on the immune pathogenesis of preterm birth, the leading cause of infant mortality and long-term morbidity worldwide. His group has recently revealed a critical B lymphocyte-mediated immunological axis in the protection against spontaneous preterm labor. Secondly, his lab studies the defects of humoral immunity in autoimmune and immunodeficiency disorders, many of which predispose the individuals to reproductive failure or complications. His group has recently discovered a critical regulatory mechanism for the diversification of antibody responses and its defect in autoimmunity and susceptibility to fungal infection. Thirdly, his lab studies the pathogenesis of gynecologic malignancies, and has recently discovered a molecule that can serve as a reliable biomarker for the early diagnosis and accurate prognosis of epithelial ovarian cancer.
As an independent investigator at Wayne State for 4 years, Dr. Chen has won 4 extramural grant awards, from the NIH, Burroughs Wellcome Fund and the American Congress of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ACOG). His lab is the first one in Wayne State University that is funded by the prestigious Burroughs Wellcome Fund. He has published in leading scientific journals across the Cell, Nature and Science families, and has a track record of important public services, such as serving as the current co-Chair of the Wayne State University – Henry Ford Health System – Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Center Immunology Focus Group, an associate at the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-HABITAT) in consultative relationship with the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), and a reviewer of national and international funding agencies, such as the NIH, the Netherlands Scientific Research Organization and the Asthma Foundation of United Kingdom.