PhD, 1998, Harvard University
BS, 1993, Ohio University
Cells use certain membrane proteins to pump molecules in or out against a concentration gradient. The Chen lab studies a class of these proteins known as ATP-binding cassette, or ABC, transporters that power themselves using ATP. They are investigating ABC transporters’ role in normal cellular processes and in disease, including multidrug resistance during chemotherapy. Using X-ray crystallography, they have been able to visualize how transporters convert the chemical energy of ATP hydrolysis into mechanical work through a series of conformational changes. Their current efforts are focused on understanding the roles of ABC transporters in disease and drug resistance. They are also interested in pursuing chemistry-based methods to design small molecules targeting ABC transporters.