Featured Researcher: Dandan Chen

Dandan Chen, PhD

What is your professional background? 
I joined the PhD program of Cardiovascular Diseases at Sun Yat-Sen University Medical School (China) in 2004. During my PhD study, I was selected as an exchange PhD student to study vascular biology at Michigan State University. Fortunately, after obtaining my PhD degree, I was awarded a postdoctoral fellowship for the American Heart Association (AHA) at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine Department of Surgery to continue to explore “endothelial progenitor cell dysfunction in salt-sensitive hypertension.” To achieve my career dream of being a physician-scientist in the United States, in 2014, I joined the Internal Medicine Residency Program (Bronx) at Mount Sinai Medical School in New York City. The challenges of treating ischemic heart disease and its associated advanced heart failure inspired me to dedicate myself to cardiac regenerative research to fulfill my career goal as a physician-scientist in cardiology, who can translate bench research to daily clinical practice and, ultimately, improve patient care.

In what division do you work, and who is your mentor? 
Currently, I am a cardiology fellow on a basic research track. Besides my two-year clinical track training, I will spend my first two years of training under the mentorship of Dr. Young-Sup Yoon in Biomedical Engineering and Stem Cell Biology.

Briefly describe your research. Why is it important? 
My current research efforts aim to optimize a standard protocol/method to reprogram human dermal fibroblast cells into endothelial cells (rECs), and utilize the reprogramed rECs equipped with injectable self-assembled nanomatrix gels (PA-RGDS) to bioengineer myocardium neovascularization by enhancing cell retention and augmenting angiogenesis and vasculogenesis, and, ultimately, improve cardiac function in experimental myocardial ischemia. This research will provide us with not only a powerful tool but also a new clinical pathway to improve myocardial microcirculation and function in ischemic heart disease.

What do you like most about Emory? 
The most attractive aspects of my program include Emory’s prestigious academic reputation, the outstanding faculty members, and the hands-on training and fellowship opportunities. More importantly, I always get inspired by the varying areas of expertise within the research fields, including bioengineering, medicine, and biochemistry, which is of great significance for me to accomplish my interdisciplinary research mission and fulfill my career goals.

What is your favorite movie or TV show? 
I like detective movies and novels; my favorite TV series are Bones and Grey’s Anatomy.

What do you like to do in your spare time? 
I spend most of my spare time with my family. We enjoy visiting museums and hiking trails.


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About the Author

Emory Department of Medicine
Emory Department of Medicine
The Emory University Department of Medicine, within the Emory University School of Medicine, is steeped in a rich tradition of excellence. Through the work of its nine divisions and numerous centers and institutes, the department has pioneered discoveries in medicine, education, scientific and clinical investigation, and clinical care. Emory University School of Medicine's medical school, residency, transitional-year, and fellowship programs offer students the latest knowledge in treatment practices, scientific theories, research, and patient care. The Emory University Department of Medicine is a component of the Robert W. Woodruff Health Sciences Center of Emory University, which includes the Emory schools of Medicine, Nursing, and Public Health; Yerkes National Primate Research Center; Winship Cancer Institute; and Emory Healthcare.

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