Wenhao Chen

Wenhao Chen, PhD

Associate Professor of Transplant Immunology in Surgery, Academic Institute
Associate 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 Toronto
PhD, University of Toronto
Postdoctoral Fellowship, University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston

Ablation of BATF Alleviates Transplant Rejection via Abrogating the Effector Differentiation and Memory Responses of CD8+ T Cells
Li, S, Zou, D, Chen, W, Cheng, Y, Britz, GW, Weng, YL & Liu, Z 2022, , Frontiers in immunology, vol. 13, 882721. https://doi.org/10.3389/fimmu.2022.882721

IRF4 ablation in B cells abrogates allogeneic B cell responses and prevents chronic transplant rejection
Wang, G, Zou, D, Wang, Y, Gonzalez, NM, Yi, SG, Li, XC, Chen, W & Gaber, AO 2021, , Journal of Heart and Lung Transplantation, vol. 40, no. 10, pp. 1122-1132. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.healun.2021.06.008

Association of CXCR6 with COVID-19 severity: delineating the host genetic factors in transcriptomic regulation
Dai, Y, Wang, J, Jeong, HH, Chen, W, Jia, P & Zhao, Z 2021, , Human genetics, vol. 140, no. 9, pp. 1313-1328. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00439-021-02305-z

Schrödinger’s T Cells: Molecular Insights Into Stemness and Exhaustion
Gonzalez, NM, Zou, D, Gu, A & Chen, W 2021, , Frontiers in immunology, vol. 12, 725618. https://doi.org/10.3389/fimmu.2021.725618

Genetically targeting the BATF family transcription factors BATF and BATF3 in the mouse abrogates effector T cell activities and enables long-term heart allograft survival
Wang, Y, Xiao, X, Kong, G, Wen, M, Wang, G, Ghobrial, RM, Dong, N, Chen, W & Li, XC 2022, , American Journal of Transplantation, vol. 22, no. 2, pp. 414-426. https://doi.org/10.1111/ajt.16861

Interferon regulatory factor 4 deficiency in CD8+ T cells abrogates terminal effector differentiation and promotes transplant acceptance
Zou, D, Fu, J, Guo, Z & Chen, W 2020, , Immunology, vol. 161, no. 4, pp. 364-379. https://doi.org/10.1111/imm.13258

Epigenetically modifying the Foxp3 locus for generation of stable antigen-specific Tregs as cellular therapeutics
Chen, S, Zhang, L, Ying, Y, Wang, Y, Arnold, PR, Wang, G, Li, J, Ghobrial, RM, Chen, W, Xiao, X & Li, XC 2020, , American Journal of Transplantation, vol. 20, no. 9, pp. 2366-2379. https://doi.org/10.1111/ajt.15845

PIRs mediate innate myeloid cell memory to nonself MHC molecules
Dai, H, Lan, P, Zhao, D, Abou-Daya, K, Liu, W, Chen, W, Friday, AJ, Williams, AL, Sun, T, Chen, J, Chen, W, Mortin-Toth, S, Danska, JS, Wiebe, C, Nickerson, P, Li, T, Mathews, LR, Turnquist, HR, Nicotra, ML, Gingras, S, Takayama, E, Kubagawa, H, Shlomchik, MJ, Oberbarnscheidt, MH, Li, XC & Lakkis, FG 2020, , Science, vol. 368, no. 6495, pp. 1122-1127. https://doi.org/10.1126/science.aax4040

T cell exhaustion is associated with antigen abundance and promotes transplant acceptance
Zou, D, Dai, Y, Zhang, X, Wang, G, Xiao, X, Jia, P, Li, XC, Guo, Z & Chen, W 2020, , American Journal of Transplantation, vol. 20, no. 9, pp. 2540-2550. https://doi.org/10.1111/ajt.15870

T follicular helper and memory cell responses and the mTOR pathway in murine heart transplantation
Xie, A, Yan, H, Fu, J, He, A, Xiao, X, Li, XC & Chen, W 2020, , Journal of Heart and Lung Transplantation, vol. 39, no. 2, pp. 134-144. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.healun.2019.11.017

Fingolimod (FTY720) prevents chronic rejection of rodent cardiac allografts through inhibition of the RhoA pathway
Chen, W, Chen, W, Chen, S, Uosef, A, Ghobrial, RM & Kloc, M 2021, , Transplant Immunology, vol. 65, 101347. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.trim.2020.101347

Adoptive CD8+ T cell therapy generates immunological memory to inhibit melanoma metastasis
Fu, J, Yu, A, Tang, J, He, B & Chen, W 2020, , American Journal of Translational Research, vol. 12, no. 11, pp. 7262-7274.

Interleukin 21 (IL-21) regulates chronic allograft vasculopathy (CAV) in murine heart allograft rejection
Khattar, M, Baum, CE, Schroder, P, Breidenbach, JD, Haller, ST, Chen, W & Stepkowski, S 2019, , PLoS ONE, vol. 14, no. 11, e0225624. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0225624

Coinhibition of mTORC1/mTORC2 and RhoA /ROCK pathways prevents chronic rejection of rat cardiac allografts
Chen, W, Chen, W, Li, XC, Ghobrial, RM & Kloc, M 2018, , Transplantation Reports, vol. 3, no. 4, pp. 21-28. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tpr.2018.09.002

OX40 Costimulation Inhibits Foxp3 Expression and Treg Induction via BATF3-Dependent and Independent Mechanisms
Zhang, X, Xiao, X, Lan, P, Li, J, Dou, Y, Chen, W, Ishii, N, Chen, S, Xia, B, Chen, K, Taparowsky, E & Li, XC 2018, , Cell Reports, vol. 24, no. 3, pp. 607-618. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.celrep.2018.06.052

Role of the NF-kB family member RelB in regulation of Foxp3 + regulatory t cells in vivo
Li, J, Chen, S, Chen, W, Ye, Q, Dou, Y, Xiao, Y, Zhang, L, Minze, LJ, Li, XC & Xiao, X 2018, , Journal of Immunology, vol. 200, no. 4, pp. 1325-1334. https://doi.org/10.4049/jimmunol.1701310

Ablation of interferon regulatory factor 4 in T cells induces “memory” of transplant tolerance that is irreversible by immune checkpoint blockade
Zhang, H, Wu, J, Zou, D, Xiao, X, Yan, H, Li, XC & Chen, W 2019, , American Journal of Transplantation, vol. 19, no. 3, pp. 884-893. https://doi.org/10.1111/ajt.15196

Screening RhoA/ROCK inhibitors for the ability to prevent chronic rejection of mouse cardiac allografts
Chen, W, Chen, S, Chen, W, Li, XC, Ghobrial, RM & Kloc, M 2018, , Transplant Immunology, vol. 50, pp. 15-25. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.trim.2018.06.002

Macrophage subpopulations and their impact on chronic allograft rejection versus graft acceptance in a mouse heart transplant model
Zhao, Y, Chen, S, Lan, P, Wu, C, Dou, Y, Xiao, X, Zhang, Z, Minze, L, He, X, Chen, W & Li, XC 2017, , American Journal of Transplantation. https://doi.org/10.1111/ajt.14543

Anti-Tcrbmabin combination with neurogenin3gene therapy reverses established overt type 1 diabetes in female nod mice
Xie, A, Li, R, Jiang, T, Yan, H, Zhang, H, Yang, Y, Yang, L, Yechoor, V, Chan, L & Chen, W 2017, , Endocrinology, vol. 158, no. 10, pp. 3140-3151. https://doi.org/10.1210/en.2016-1947