Meet the New Neuroscientist: Dr. Meifan (Amy) Chen

Dr. Chen joined the University of Kentucky Spinal Cord and Brain Injury Research Center and Department of Neuroscience in early 2020. She came from the Department of Neurology and Neurotherapeutics, UT Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, TX

She is  an early stage investigator dedicated to advancing knowledge of the biology and treatment of central
nervous system damage, including spinal cord injury (SCI) and ischemic stroke. Initially trained as a molecular
biologist, she studied cellular stress response to proteo-toxicity with my doctoral mentor Dr. Ze’ev Ronai. Seeking
to apply my knowledge in cellular stress signaling to the field of neural repair, she performed postdoctoral training
with Dr. Binhai Zheng, whose lab studies axon regeneration following spinal cord injury. While identifying neuronintrinsic
regulators of CNS axon plasticity (Chen et al, Sci Rep, 2016; Chen & Zheng, Trends Neurosci, 2014), she
also discovered a critical activator of astrogliosis (Chen et al, Cell Rep, 2018) that led to the generation of unique
genetic tools for the dissection of astrocyte-neuron and astrocyte-glia communication. In her instructor position
at UT Southwestern Medical Center, she began to develop my own research program to determine the astrocytic
contribution to injury-induced neural plasticity (manuscript in preparation). My own lab at the University of
Kentucky will continue to investigate how glial interactions contribute to the pathophysiology and outcomes of
CNS injury, with the goal to develop glia-targeted strategies to promote neural repair.
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