The award to Dr.Chen was based on her research in the laboratory of Prof. Orna Amster-Choder at the Hebrew University-Hadassah Medical School on how cells process environmental information to generate appropriate adaptive responses.
Correct response to environmental stimuli, mediated by signal transduction systems, is the key to normal cell growth. Defects in sensing or in signaling lead to uncontrolled growth and tumor development. Through her studies with E coli bacteria, Dr. Chen succeeded in achieving a new understanding of how this sensing, signaling and response mechanism operates, furthering efforts to control the process of uncontrolled growth.
Dr. Chen was born in 1964 in Jinan, China, where she received her M.D. degree and a master's degree in biochemistry. She worked as a lecturer in the Department of Biochemistry at the Medical School of Beijing University for two years before coming to Jerusalem. Along with her Ph.D. degree awarded in 2002 by the Hebrew University, she received the Kennedy-Leigh Prize for outstanding Ph.D. research performed at the university as well as the Hebrew University Faculty of Medicine Prize for an excellent dissertation.
Prof. Amster-Choder commented that Dr. Chen expressed great love for Jerusalem during her stay at the Hebrew University.
Today, Dr. Chen studies the genomic features that make certain bacterial strains so dangerous as part of her work for the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research in Silver Spring, Md. Her goal is to some day help develop new vaccines for improving public health.