Chun-Kan Chen, PhD

Assistant Professor of Cell Biology & Physiology

Research Interests

Dr. Chen’s doctoral training focused on long non-coding RNA (lncRNA) and technology development in the laboratory of Dr. Mitch Guttman at the California Institute of Technology. In his laboratory here at Washington University, he plans to investigate the regulation and function of circRNA and uncover the molecular mechanisms of circRNA-mediated disease.  His first efforts will be directed towards using the circRNA screening technology that he developed to decipher RNA elements, genomic features, and protein components that regulate the functions of circRNAs and determine how they contribute to circRNA-mediated disease.  He will also build a cell type-specific circRNA-mediated gene expression platform which would enable precise control of gene expression.  This technology would be a valuable tool for both basic science research and clinical applications.

Dr. Chen was most recently a K99 postdoctoral fellow in the laboratory of Dr. Howard Chang at Stanford University, where he investigated the biogenesis, regulation, and cellular functions of circular RNAs (circRNAs).

Professional Education

Doctor of Philosophy from California Institute of Technology


Structured elements drive extensive circular RNA translation. Molecular cell. Chen, C. K., Cheng, R., Demeter, J., Chen, J., Weingarten-Gabbay, S., Jiang, L., Snyder, M. P., Weissman, J. S., Segal, E., Jackson, P. K., Chang, H. Y. 2021.