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Faculty Profile

Li ChenLi Chen

Assistant Professor
Department of Biology and Biochemistry

Office: Science & Engineering Research Center, 4007
Contact: - (713) 743-0918

Education: Ph.D., Baylor College of Medicine, M.D., Wuhan University, Wuhan, China

Transcriptional and Epigenetic Regulation of Cardiac Stem Cells

Dr. Li Chen is interested in transcriptional and epigenetic regulation of stem cells in the context of vertebrate embryogenesis causing human congenital defects, and their implications in adult tissue regeneration. In particular, she is interested in determining the roles of transcription factors and molecular signaling pathways in cell lineage specification, including T-box transcription factors, Wnt signaling, Notch signaling, and the role of epigenetic chromatin remodeling complexes including Polycomb Repressive Complex 2 (PRC2) and BAF complex. Her goal is to obtain an in-depth understanding of these molecular pathways in order to prevent neonatal congenital heart defects and efficiently regenerate heart muscle in adult patients with irrevocable heart diseases.

  • Yu Liu*, Li Chen*, Andrea Diaz Diaz , Ashley Benham , Xueping Xu , Cori Wijaya , Faisal Fa'ak , Weijia Luo, Benjamin Soibam , Alon Azares , Wei Yu , Qiongying Lyu , David Stewart , Preethi Gunaratne , Austin Cooney , Robert Schwartz, Bradley McConnell. Mesp1 Marked Cardiac Progenitor Cells Repair Infarcted Mouse Hearts. Accepted, Scientific Reports, 2016 (*equal contribution)
  • Yixuan Wang, Xiaolu Nie, Li Chen, Ryan Weldon, Weili Zhang, Dan Xiao, Xiaoxia Peng, Jun Cai. Burden of hypertension in China over the past decades: Systematic analysis of prevalence, treatment and control of hypertension. European Journal of Preventive Cardiology, 2015 Nov 24. pii: 2047487315617105.
  • Weijia Luo, Kuo-Chan Weng, Wei Yu, Donna Dike, Yu Liu, Ashley Benham, Jong Kim, Benjamin Soibam, Xueping Xu, Austin Cooney, Robert Schwartz, Li Chen. A Molecular Switch Regulating Heart and Pancreatic Development. Circulation, 2014; 130: A19676, 2014...
  • Li ChenLi Chen, Yanlin Ma, Ling Qian, Jun Wang. SUMOylation Regulates Nuclear Localization and Function of Zinc Finger Transcription Factor ZIC3. Biochim Biophys Acta. 2013 Dec;1833(12):2725-33. doi: 10.1016/j.bbamcr.2013.07.009. Epub 2013 Jul 19.
  • Xiaoming Zhu, Hongjiang Wang, Fan Liu, Li Chen, Weijia Luo, Pixiong Su, Weiming Li, Liping Yu, Xinchun Yang, Jun Cai. Identification of Micro-RNA Networks in End-stage Heart Failure Because of Dilated Cardiomyopathy. Journal of Cellular and Molecular Medicine, 2013 Sep; 17(9): 1173-87.
  • Shouling Wu, Zhengrong Huang, Xinchun Yang, Yong Zhou, Anxing Wang, Li Chen, Haiyan Zhao, Chunyu Ruan, YuntaoWu, Aijun Xin, Kuibao Li, Cheng Jin, Jun Cai. Prevalence of Ideal Cardiovascular Health and its Relationship with the 4-year Incidence of Cardiovascular Events in a Northern Chinese Industrial City. Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes, 2012 Jul 10; 5(4):487-93.
  • Li Chen, Gabriella Fulcoli, Rosa Ferrentino, Stefania Martucciello, Elizabeth Illingworth, Antonio Baldini. Transcriptional Control in Cardiac Progenitors: Tbx1 Interacts With the BAF Chromatin Remodeling Complex and Regulates Wnt5a. PLoS Genetics, 2012 Mar; 8(3): e1002571. doi:10.1371/journal.pgen. 1002571.
  • Li Chen, Yanlin Ma, Wei Yu, Robert J Schwartz, Ling Qian, Jun Wang. Conditional Ablation of Ezh2 in Murine Hearts Reveals Its Essential Roles in Endocardial Cushion Formation, Cardiomyocyte Proliferation and Survival. PLoS ONE, 2012 Feb; 7(2): e31005.
  • Eun Young Kim, Li Chen, Yanlin Ma, Wei Yu, Jiang Chang, Ivan P. Moskowitz, Jun Wang. Enhanced Desumoylation in Murine Hearts by Overexpressed SENP2 Leads to Congenital Heart Defects and Cardiac Dysfunction. Journal of Molecular and Cellular Cardiology, 2011 Dec; doi: 10.1016/j.yjmcc.2011.11.011
  • Eun Young Kim, Li ChenLi Chen, Yanlin Ma, Wei Yu, Jiang Chang, Ivan P. Moskowitz, Jun Wang. Expression of Sumoylation Deficient Nkx2.5 Mutant in Nkx2.5 Haploinsufficient Mice Leads to Congenital Heart Defects. PLoS ONE, 2011 Jun; 6(6): e20803.
  • Weiming Li, Rong Rong, Shen Zhao, Xiaoming Zhu, Ke Zhang, Xin Xiong, Xueqing Yu, Qinghua Cui, Shuqiang Li, Li Chen, Jun Cai, Jie Du. Proteomic Analysis of Metabolic, Cytoskeletal, and Stress Response Proteins in Human Heart Failure. Journal of Cellular and Molecular Medicine, 2011 May; doi: 10.1111/ j.1582-4934.2011.01336.x.
  • Jun Wang, Li Chen, Shu Wen, Huiping Zhu, Wei Yu, Ivan P. Moskowitz, Gary M. Shaw, Richard H. Finnel, Robert J. Schwartz. Defective Sumoylation Pathway Directs Congenital Heart Disease. Birth Defects Research (Part A): Clinical and Molecular Teratology, 2011 May; 91:468-476.
  • You-Ren Chen, Yang Li, Li ChenLi Chen, Xin-Chun Yang, Pi-Xiong Su, Jun Cai. The Infarcted Cardiac Microenvironment Cannot Selectively Promote Embryonic Stem Cell Differentiation Into Cardiomyocytes. Cardiovascular Pathology, 2011 Mar; 20(2): 77-83
  • Li Chen, Annalisa Mupo, Tuong Huynh, Matthew Woods, Lou Ann Snipes, Milton Finegold, Antonio Baldini, Elizabeth Illingworth. Tbx1 Regulates Vegfr3 and Is Required For Lymphatic Vessel Development. Journal of Cell Biology, 2010 May; 189(3) 417-424. (SELECTED FOR FACULTY OF 1000 BIOLOGY, 2010)
  • Li Chen, Gabriella Fulcoli, Susan Tang, Antonio Baldini. Tbx1 Regulates Proliferation and Differentiation of Multipotent Heart Progenitors. Circulation Research, 2009 Oct; 105(9) 842-51. (EDITORS' PICKS)
  • Zhouyan Bian, Jun Cai, Di-fei Shen, Li Chen, Ling Yan, Qizhu Tang, Hongliang Li. Cellular Repressor of E1A-stimulated Genes Attenuates Cardiac Hypertrophy and Fibrosis. Journal of Cellular and Molecular Medicine, 2009 Jul; 13(7) 1302-13.
  • You-Ren Chen, Fang-Fang Yi, Xin-Yi Li, Cheng-Yao Wang, Li Chen, Xin-Chun Yang, Pi-Xiong Su, Jun Cai. Resveratrol Attenuates Ventricular Arrhythmias and Improves the Long-Term Survival in Rats with Myocardial Infarction. Cardiovascular Drugs and Therapy, 2008 Oct; 22(6):479-85. (REVIEWED BY CARDIOVASCULAR DRUGS AND THERAPY. 2008 OCT; 22(6):427-8)
  • Huansheng Xu, Li Chen, Antonio Baldini. The Periotic Mesoderm Is Essential For The Development of The Cochlea in vivo. Developmental Biology, 2007 Oct; 310(2): 329-40.
  • Li Chen*, Tuong Huynh*, Phillip Terrell, Antonio Baldini. A Fate map of Tbx1 Expressing Cells Reveals Heterogeneity In the Second Cardiac Field. Genesis, 2007 Jul; 45(7):470-5. (*equal contribution) (COVER ARTICLE)
  • Di Ai., Xueyao Fu, Jun Wang, Mei-Fang Lu, Li Chen, Antonio Baldini, William H Klein, James F. Martin. Canonical Wnt-signaling functions in second heart field to promote right ventricular growth. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A, 2007 May; 104(22): 9319-24. (REVIEWED BY DEVELOPMENTAL CELL. 2007 JUL; 13(1):10-3)
  • Qizhu Tang, Ji Huang, Haiyan Qian, Li ChenLi Chen, Teng Wang, Haining Wang, Difei Shen, Hui Wu and Ran Xiong. Antiarrhythmic effect of atorvastatin on autoimmune myocarditis is mediated by improving myocardial repolarization. Life Sciences, 2007 Jan; 80(7): 601-8.
  • Feiyan Dong, Xiaoxia Sun, Wei Liu, Di Ai, Elizabetha Klysik, Mei-Fang Lu, Julia Hadley, Laurent Antoni, Li Chen, Antonio Baldini, Pip Francis-West and James F. Martin. Pitx2 promotes development of splanchnic mesoderm-derived branchiomeric muscle. Development, 2006 Nov; 133(24): 4891-9.
  • Peng Hu, Jianjun Li, Li Chen, Jing Wang. Influence of Lipopolysaccharide-induced Adventitial Inflammation on Intimal Proliferation of Rabbit Iliac Artery and Its Mechanism. Chin J Arterioscler, 2004 Mar; 12(3):330-2.

Honors and Awards:

2015 Basic Cardiovascular Sciences Minority Travel Grant, American Heart Association
2014 Provost’s Faculty Travel Award, University of Houston
2014 Best of Basic Science, American Heart Association Scientific Session
2012 Louis N. and Arnold M. Katz Basic Science Research Prize for Young Investigator, American Heart Association
2009 Travel Award, Keystone Symposia - Cardiac Disease: Development, Regeneration, and Repair
2003-08 Predoctoral Scholarship, Baylor College of Medicine
2007 John R. Kelsey Jr. Student Speaker Award, Baylor College of Medicine
2007 Deborah K. Martin Award, Baylor College of Medicine
2006 Professor John J. Trentin Scholarship Award, Baylor College of Medicine
2006 Award of Excellence, Weinstein Cardiovascular Development Conference

Organizations, Outreach, Boards, Memberships:


2016, Board Member, Chinese American Heart Association
2012, Professional Member, Society of Chinese Bioscientists in America
2007, Senior Professional Member, American Heart Association
2007, Associate Member, Sigma Xi, The Scientific Research Society


2013, Peer Reviewer, Circulation Research
2012, Academic Editor and Peer Reviewer, PLoS ONE
2012, Member, Peer Review Committee, American Heart Association