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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

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. DOI: 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. DOI: 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. DOI: 10.4049/jimmunol.1701310

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. DOI: 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. DOI: 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. DOI: 10.1210/en.2016-1947

Ablation of Transcription Factor IRF4 Promotes Transplant Acceptance by Driving Allogenic CD4+ T Cell Dysfunction
Wu, J, Zhang, H, Shi, X, Xiao, X, Fan, Y, Minze, LJ, Wang, J, Ghobrial, RM, Xia, J, Sciammas, R, Li, XC & Chen, W 2017, Immunity. DOI: 10.1016/j.immuni.2017.11.003

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: 10.1007/s00441-016-2491-x

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: 10.1016/j.healun.2016.08.011

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: 10.1096/fj.15-271452

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: 10.1007/s00125-015-3564-1

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: 10.2337/db13-1737

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: 10.1016/j.molimm.2014.09.013

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: 10.1097/TP.0000000000000802

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: 10.1016/B978-0-12-800563-7.00007-5

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: 10.1097/TP.0000000000000120

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: 10.1371/journal.pone.0085882

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: 10.1586/1744666X.2014.962515

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: 10.1016/j.yjmcc.2014.03.006

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