Chun-Kan Chen, PhD

Assistant Professor of Cell Biology/Physiol

Washington University in St. Louis (WU)

My research program focuses on understanding the role circular RNAs (circRNAs) play in cellular processes and their potential applications in RNA medicine. CircRNAs are crucial for cell proliferation, differentiation, and migration. CircRNA dysregulation can lead to cancer progression and metastasis. However, the underlying mechanisms remain largely unclear. I will utilize multi-omic and high-throughput screening approaches to (i) identify genomic elements, RNA structures, and protein components that regulate circRNA biogenesis and function, (ii) reveal the molecular mechanisms of circRNAs in regulating cell physiology, and (iii) determine how circRNA dysregulation contributes to disease pathogenesis. Furthermore, by taking advantage of the high stability of circRNAs, I aim to develop novel circRNA technologies as a long-lasting therapeutic protein production platform, ultimately advancing next-generation RNA medicine and therapeutics.