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Wenhao Chen, PhD

Assistant Professor of Transplant Immunology in Surgery, Institute for Academic Medicine
Assistant Member, Research Institute
Houston Methodist
Weill Cornell Medical College


Dr. Wenhao Chen earned his Ph.D. in Biomedical Science from the University of Toronto in 2006. He held faculty appointments at the University of Toledo College of Medicine in Toledo, Ohio and Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas before becoming a member of Houston Methodist Research Institute in 2013. As a member of the Transplantation Immunology Program, Dr. Chen studies the cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying immune tolerance. He has published more than 40 original papers and review articles in high-impact scientific journals.

Description of Research

Dr. Chen’s research interests are to define the molecular mechanisms by which immune cells reject the transplanted organs or cause autoimmune type 1 diabetes and develop novel strategies to selectively abrogate undesired immune responses against self-islets or transplanted organs.

Areas Of Expertise

Transplantation Type 1 diabetes T cell Immune tolerance
Education & Training

Postdoctoral Associate , Baylor College of Medicine
Postdoctoral Fellowship , University of Texas Medical School at Houston
Postdoctoral Fellowship , University of Toronto
PhD , University of Toronto

Dissonant response of M0/M2 and M1 bone-marrow-derived macrophages to RhoA pathway interference
Liu, Y, Chen, W, Minze, LJ, Kubiak, JZ, Li, XC, Ghobrial, RM & Kloc, M 2016, Cell and Tissue Research, pp. 1-14. DOI:

Macrophage/monocyte-specific deletion of Ras homolog gene family member A (RhoA) downregulates fractalkine receptor and inhibits chronic rejection of mouse cardiac allografts
Liu, Y, Chen, W, Wu, C, Minze, LJ, Kubiak, JZ, Li, XC, Kloc, M & Ghobrial, RM 2016, Journal of Heart and Lung Transplantation. DOI:

Proinsulin-producing, hyperglycemia-induced adipose tissue macrophages underlie insulin resistance in high fat-fed diabetic mice
Dale Buras, E, Yang, L, Saha, P, Kim, J, Mehta, P, Yang, Y, Hilsenbeck, S, Kojima, H, Chen, W, Smith, CW & Chan, L 2015, FASEB Journal, vol 29, no. 8, pp. 3537-3548. DOI:

PD-1-dependent restoration of self-tolerance in the NOD mouse model of diabetes after transient anti-TCRß mAb therapy
Schroder, PM, Khattar, M, Baum, CE, Miyahara, Y, Chen, W, Vyas, R, Muralidharan, S, Mierzejewska, B & Stepkowski, SM 2015, Diabetologia, vol 58, no. 6, pp. 1309-1318. DOI:

PD-L1-driven tolerance protects neurogenin3-induced islet neogenesis to reverse established type 1 diabetes in NOD mice
Li, R, Lee, J, Kim, MS, Liu, V, Moulik, M, Li, H, Yi, Q, Xie, A, Chen, W, Yang, L, Li, Y, Tsai, TH, Oka, K, Chan, L & Yechoor, V 2015, Diabetes, vol 64, no. 2, pp. 529-540. DOI:

TCR stimulation without co-stimulatory signals induces expression of "tolerogenic" genes in memory CD4 T cells but does not compromise cell proliferation
Xie, A, Zheng, X, Khattar, M, Schroder, P, Stepkowski, S, Xia, J & Chen, W 2015, Molecular Immunology, vol 63, no. 2, pp. 406-411. DOI:

The evolving roles of memory immune cells in transplantation
Chen, W , Ghobrial, RM & Li, XC 2015, Transplantation, vol 99, no. 10, pp. 2029-2037. DOI:

Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus: Immune Modulation as a Prerequisite for Successful Gene Therapy Strategies
Chen, W, Xie, A, Wu, J & Chan, L 2014, . in Translating Gene Therapy to the Clinic: Techniques and Approaches. Elsevier, pp. 99-113. DOI:

Anti-TCR mAb induces peripheral tolerance to alloantigens and delays islet allograft rejection in autoimmune diabetic NOD mice
Deng, R, Khattar, M, Xie, A, Schroder, PM, He, X, Chen, W & Stepkowski, SM 2014, Transplantation, vol 97, no. 12, pp. 1216-1224. DOI:

Interleukin-21 is a critical regulator of CD4 and CD8 T cell survival during priming under interleukin-2 deprivation conditions
Khattar, M, Miyahara, Y, Schroder, PM, Xie, A, Chen, W & Stepkowski, SM 2014, PLoS ONE, vol 9, no. 1, e85882. DOI:

Molecular insights into the development of T cell-based immunotherapy for prostate cancer
Dong, B, Minze, LJ, Xue, W & Chen, W 2014, Expert Review of Clinical Immunology, vol 10, no. 11, pp. 1547-1557. DOI:

MAFbx/Atrogin-1 is required for atrophic remodeling of the unloaded heart
Baskin, KK, Rodriguez, MR, Kansara, S, Chen, W, Carranza, S, Frazier, OH, Glass, DJ & Taegtmeyer, H 2014, Journal of Molecular and Cellular Cardiology, vol 72, pp. 168-176. DOI:

Pancreatic islet transplantation in mice
Deng, R, Schroder, P & Chen, W 2013, . in Experimental Organ Transplantation. Nova Science Publishers, Inc. pp. 81-98.

T cell and B cell responses in transplantation
Schroder, P, Deng, R & Chen, W 2013, . in Experimental Organ Transplantation. Nova Science Publishers, Inc. pp. 327-343.

Transient Combination Therapy Targeting the Immune Synapse Abrogates T Cell Responses and Prolongs Allograft Survival in Mice
Schroder, PM, Khattar, M, Deng, R, Xie, A, Chen, W & Stepkowski, SM 2013, PLoS ONE, vol 8, no. 7, e69397. DOI:

GM-CSF contributes to aortic aneurysms resulting from SMAD3 deficiency
Ye, P, Chen, W, Wu, J, Huang, X, Li, J, Wang, S, Liu, Z, Wang, G, Yang, X, Zhang, P, Lv, Q & Xia, J 2013, Journal of Clinical Investigation, vol 123, no. 5, pp. 2317-2331. DOI:

Mechanistic basis of immunotherapies for type 1 diabetes mellitus
Chen, W, Xie, A & Chan, L 2013, Translational Research, vol 161, no. 4, pp. 217-229. DOI:

A dynamic dual role of IL-2 signaling in the two-step differentiation process of adaptive regulatory T cells
Guo, Z, Khattar, M, Schroder, PM, Miyahara, Y, Wang, G, He, X, Chen, W & Stepkowski, SM 2013, Journal of Immunology, vol 190, no. 7, pp. 3153-3162. DOI:

Digoxin attenuates acute cardiac allograft rejection by antagonizing ROR?t activity
Wu, J, Zhou, C, Chen, W, Xie, A, Li, J, Wang, S, Ye, P, Wang, W & Xia, J 2013, Transplantation, vol 95, no. 3, pp. 434-441. DOI:

Anti-TCRß mAb induces long-term allograft survival by reducing antigen-reactive T cells and sparing regulatory T cells
Miyahara, Y, Khattar, M, Schroder, PM, Mierzejewska, B, Deng, R, Han, R, Hancock, WW, Chen, W & Stepkowski, SM 2012, American Journal of Transplantation, vol 12, no. 6, pp. 1409-1418. DOI: