Research Summary

I am a biomedical scientist with special expertise in the development of mouse models, biochemistry and cell biology, and signal transduction of cancer-relevant signaling pathways.  My research interest has been on understanding the mechanisms of tumor initiation and progression by oncogenes, with the goal to identify therapeutic targets for patients with cancer.   My current research interests lie in the following fields: 

  1. To dissect the downstream signaling pathways of oncogenic GNAQ and GNA11 to identify therapeutic targets for human uveal melanoma; 
  2. To develop primary/metastatic uveal melanoma mouse models to validate the role of candidate melanoma genes in tumor formation and progression and to evaluate potential therapies in a preclinical setting; 
  3. To seeks to understand the mechanisms of adaptive and acquired resistance of G alpha q pathway inhibition in uveal melanoma; 
  4. To investigate the underlying mechanism of uveal melanoma liver metastasis;
  5. To develop effective immunotherapy strategies for metastatic uveal melanoma.


Tsinghua University, Beijing, P.R.China B.S. 06/1992 Biology
Tsinghua University, Beijing, P.R.China M.S. 06/1995 Biochemistry
Weill Medical College of Cornell University, Ph.D. 01/2003, Biochemistry
Weill Medical College of Cornell University, Postdoc, 06/2006, Neuroscience
Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer center, Postdoc, 12/2010, Cancer Translational Research

Honors & Awards

  • 1988
    Third class Prize, Tsinghua University Mathematics Contest
  • 1990
    Tsinghua University Excellent Student Scholarship (Third class)
  • 1993
    Tsinghua University Guanghua Scholarship
  • 2007
    Tri-Institute T32 Endocrine Research fellow
  • 2014
    Melanoma Research Alliance Young Investigator award
  • 2022
    R01 award from NIH/NCI
  • 2022
    idea development award from the Department of Defense
  • 2023
    R01 award from NIH/NCI

Selected Publications

  1. Ma J, Weng L, Bastian BC, Chen X. Functional characterization of uveal melanoma oncogenes. Oncogene. 2021 01; 40(4):806-820.  View on PubMed
  2. Lee HJ, Pham T, Chang MT, Barnes D, Cai AG, Noubade R, Totpal K, Chen X, Tran C, Hagenbeek T, Wu X, Eastham-Anderson J, Tao J, Lee W, Bastian BC, Carbone M, Webster JD, Dey A. The Tumor Suppressor BAP1 Regulates the Hippo Pathway in Pancreatic Ductal Adenocarcinoma. Cancer Res. 2020 04 15; 80(8):1656-1668.  View on PubMed
  3. Yeh I, Lang UE, Durieux E, Tee MK, Jorapur A, Shain AH, Haddad V, Pissaloux D, Chen X, Cerroni L, Judson RL, LeBoit PE, McCalmont TH, Bastian BC, de la Fouchardière A. Combined activation of MAP kinase pathway and β-catenin signaling cause deep penetrating nevi. Nat Commun. 2017 09 21; 8(1):644.  View on PubMed
  4. Montero-Conde C, Leandro-Garcia LJ, Chen X, Oler G, Ruiz-Llorente S, Ryder M, Landa I, Sanchez-Vega F, La K, Ghossein RA, Bajorin DF, Knauf JA, Riordan JD, Dupuy AJ, Fagin JA. Transposon mutagenesis identifies chromatin modifiers cooperating with Ras in thyroid tumorigenesis and detects ATXN7 as a cancer gene. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2017 06 20; 114(25):E4951-E4960.  View on PubMed
  5. Chen X, Wu Q, Depeille P, Chen P, Thornton S, Kalirai H, Coupland SE, Roose JP, Bastian BC. RasGRP3 Mediates MAPK Pathway Activation in GNAQ Mutant Uveal Melanoma. Cancer Cell. 2017 05 08; 31(5):685-696.e6.  View on PubMed
  6. Yu FX, Luo J, Mo JS, Liu G, Kim YC, Meng Z, Zhao L, Peyman G, Ouyang H, Jiang W, Zhao J, Chen X, Zhang L, Wang CY, Bastian BC, Zhang K, Guan KL. Mutant Gq/11 promote uveal melanoma tumorigenesis by activating YAP. Cancer Cell. 2014 Jun 16; 25(6):822-30.  View on PubMed
  7. Chen X, Makarewicz JM, Knauf JA, Johnson LK, Fagin JA. Transformation by Hras(G12V) is consistently associated with mutant allele copy gains and is reversed by farnesyl transferase inhibition. Oncogene. 2014 Nov 20; 33(47):5442-9.  View on PubMed
  8. Chen X, Wu Q, Tan L, Porter D, Jager MJ, Emery C, Bastian BC. Combined PKC and MEK inhibition in uveal melanoma with GNAQ and GNA11 mutations. Oncogene. 2014 Sep 25; 33(39):4724-34.  View on PubMed
  9. Chen X, Mitsutake N, LaPerle K, Akeno N, Zanzonico P, Longo VA, Mitsutake S, Kimura ET, Geiger H, Santos E, Wendel HG, Franco A, Knauf JA, Fagin JA. Endogenous expression of Hras(G12V) induces developmental defects and neoplasms with copy number imbalances of the oncogene. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2009 May 12; 106(19):7979-84.  View on PubMed
  10. Croyle M, Akeno N, Knauf JA, Fabbro D, Chen X, Baumgartner JE, Lane HA, Fagin JA. RET/PTC-induced cell growth is mediated in part by epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) activation: evidence for molecular and functional interactions between RET and EGFR. Cancer Res. 2008 Jun 01; 68(11):4183-91.  View on PubMed
  11. Carter M, Chen X, Slowinska B, Minnerath S, Glickstein S, Shi L, Campagne F, Weinstein H, Ross ME. Crooked tail (Cd) model of human folate-responsive neural tube defects is mutated in Wnt coreceptor lipoprotein receptor-related protein 6. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2005 Sep 06; 102(36):12843-8.  View on PubMed
  12. Chen X, Resh MD. Cholesterol depletion from the plasma membrane triggers ligand-independent activation of the epidermal growth factor receptor. J Biol Chem. 2002 Dec 20; 277(51):49631-7.  View on PubMed
  13. Chen X, Resh MD. Activation of mitogen-activated protein kinase by membrane-targeted Raf chimeras is independent of raft localization. J Biol Chem. 2001 Sep 14; 276(37):34617-23.  View on PubMed

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