MCB Faculty

Lin Chen

Professor of Biological Sciences and Chemistry

Contact Information
Phone: (213) 821-4277
Office: RRI 104

Personal Website
Course Information


  • B.S. Chemistry, Peking University, Beijing, China, 6/1986
  • Ph.D. Chemistry, Harvard University, 6/1994

  • Postdoctoral Training

    • Charles A. King Trust Medical Foundation Fellow, Harvard University, 1997-1999  
    • Damon Runyon-Walter Winchell Fellow, Harvard University, 1994-1997  

    Academic Appointment, Affiliation, and Employment History

    • Professor, University of Southern California, 2008-2009   

    Description of Research

    Summary Statement of Research Interests
    One area of our research centers on the mechanisms of eukaryotic gene regulation, including the molecular basis of signal transduction, transcription regulation and epigenetic control of chromosome structure. Specific projects in this area include structural and functional studies of NFAT, MEF2, FOXP3, and several transcription factors implicated in stem cell pluripotency and lineage control. Another area of research focuses on the structure and function of nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChR) and other ligand-gated ion channels (LGICs) in neuronal signaling. We use X-ray crystallography and other biochemical methods to characterize molecular complexes of interest. Based on the structures, we use mutagenesis to further analyze the functions of these complexes in vitro and in vivo. An important aspect of our research is to combine structural biology and chemical design to study the function of bio-macromolecular complexes. We seek to develop new biochemical techniques and cell permeable small molecules for studying the function of protein complexes in vivo. The broad goal of our studies is to understand how protein-protein interactions control the specificity of biological processes inside cells. Through this knowledge we hope to gain the ability to control specific protein-protein interactions for developing research tools and therapeutic drugs.
    Research Specialties
    Signal Transduction and Gene Regulation, Neurobiology & Computational Neurobiology, Structural Biology

    Funded Research

    Contracts and Grants Awarded
    • Explore FOXP3’s role in the 3D organization of the genome (NIH/NIAID), Lin Chen, $329,000, 08/01/2014-07/31/2015  

  • Department of Biological Sciences
  • University of Southern California
  • Allan Hancock Foundation Building
  • Los Angeles, CA 90089-0371