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Christopher S. Chen, M.D., Ph.D.

Founding Director, Biological Design Center

William F. Warren Distinguished Professor of Boston University

The Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University

Dr. Chen has been an instrumental figure in the development of engineered cellular microenvironments to understand and control how cells build tissues. His group pioneered the use of micro- and nanofabrication technologies to identify the underlying mechanisms by which cells interact with materials and each other to build tissues – shedding light on the mechanical, biochemical, and physical properties of these regulatory interactions. His innovative technological applications and scientific contributions have provided key insights into the biology and engineering of stem cells, tissue vascularization, cardiac tissue, and cancer. He is using these insights to engineer biomimetic cultures that recapitulate the architecture and function of a variety of human tissues – an exciting new platform for the study of human physiology and disease.

Chris Chen

Dr. Chen is William Fairfield Warren Distinguished Professor at Boston University, Director of the Tissue Microfabrication Laboratory, Founding Director of the Biological Design Center, Associate Faculty of the Harvard Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering. He is a member of the Department of Biomedical Engineering and the Division of Materials Science & Engineering. He serves as Deputy Director of the National Science Foundation Engineering Research Center in Cellular Metamaterials and Co-PI of the National Science Foundation Science and Technology Center for Engineering Mechanobiology (CEMB). He is a fellow of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering, fellow of the Biomedical Engineering Society, member of the Faculty of 1000, and on numerous advisory boards and councils. He is also part of CELL-MET, a multi-institutional National Science Foundation Engineering Research Center in Cellular Metamaterials (EEC-1647837), which aims to grow functional and clinically significant heart tissue while simultaneously developing a talented and diverse workforce to tackle future challenges in synthetic tissues engineering.


He received his A.B. in Biochemistry from Harvard, M.S. in Mechanical Engineering from M.I.T., and Ph.D. in Medical Engineering and Medical Physics from the Harvard-M.I.T. Health Sciences and Technology Program. He earned his M.D. from the Harvard Medical School. He began his academic career as an Assistant Professor in Biomedical Engineering and in Oncology at Johns Hopkins University, and was then recruited to the University of Pennsylvania as the Skirkanich Professor of Innovation and founding director of the Center for Engineering Cells and Regeneration prior to his current appointment.

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