Head of Laboratory

Chen Chen


MacGregor Building (Building 64), Level 4, Rooms 409, 410, 411, St Lucia Campus


  • Dr Frederik Steyn: Postdoctoral Fellow (NHMRC SRO)
  • Dr Jiezhong Chen: Postdoctoral fellow
  • Dr Shyuan Ngo: Postdoctoral fellow (Bill Gole Fellow)
  • Dr Lili Huang: Postdoctoral Fellow


  • Ms Rasha Mosa: PhD student
  • Ms Rui Li: PhD student (CSC)
  • Mr Kevin Lee: PhD student
  • Ms Chao (Grace) Lin: PhD student
  • Ms Ying Wan: PhD student
  • Mr Michael Sinclair: PhD student
  • Ms Angelina Hwee Tan: PhD student (IPRS)
  • Ms Hayley McDonald: PhD student (APS)
  • Ms Fengxia Zhang: PhD student (CSC)
  • Ms Teresa Xie: PhD student (IPRS)
  • Mr Anan Abu Harbid: PhD student
  • Mr Andy (Xinli) Zhang: PhD student
  • Ms Julie Webster: PhD student (NHMRC)

International visiting academics

  • Dr Jingui Li: CSC visiting scientist from Yangzhou University, China
  • Dr Xiaolin Chen: University visiting scientist from Wuhan University, China


The laboratory focuses on the link of cell biological properties and functions, including the secretion of hormones, contraction and dilation of cardiomyocytes, or proliferation and apoptosis of cancer cells. We concentrate on hormones, which are important in controlling growth, development, metabolic balance, body mass composition, ageing process, and the plasma glucose levels, such as growth hormone, leptin, insulin, glucagon, and other adipocyte-derived hormones and factors.
Several endogenous and synthetic regulatory peptides have been tested in neuroendocrine pituitary and peripheral pancreatic islet endocrine cells on the membrane ion channel kinetics, exocytosis / endocytosis, key molecule expression and synthesis, and receptor expression. The long-term goal of these researches is to find effective way to therapeutically correct growth hormone and insulin deficiency in treating obesity and diabetes. In addition, possible paracrine or autocrine effect of a newly discovered hormone, Ghrelin, in the regulation of uterine endometrial cancer development, is under the investigation in this laboratory. We also investigate the function of cardiomyocytes in chronic heart failure, ischemic and diabetic cardiomyopathy.
The laboratory is using cutting edge techniques including patch clamping, cell image analysis, single cell shortening, and super-sensitive hormone assay method and real-time micro-blood sampling for pulsatile hormone profiles in mouse. Modern molecular biology techniques are also employed in the laboratory for different projects, including GFP-transgenic mouse, shRNA-gene knock down, and real-time PCR.

Publications 2010 to 2014

1. Qiang Sun, Wei-Jin Zang, Chen Chen: (2010) Growth hormone secretagogues reduce transient outward K+ current via GHS-R1a and PLC/PKC in rat ventricular myocytes. Endocrinology, 151:1228-1235.

2. Kwan Yi Chu, Qianni Cheng, Chen Chen, Lai Shan Au, Sai Wang Seto, Ya Tuo, Leonid Motin, Yiu Wa Kwan, Po Sing Leung: (2010) Angiotensin II exerts glucose-dependent effects on Kv currents in mouse pancreatic betacells via angiotensin II type 2 receptors. American Journal of Physiology (Cell Physiology), 298:C313-C323

3. Yufeng Zhao, Li Wang, Soohyun Lee, Qiang Sun, Ya Tuo, Yueming Wang, Jianmin Pei, Chen Chen: (2010) Cholesterol induces mitochondrial dysfunction and apoptosis in mouse pancreatic beta-cell line MIN6 cells. Endocrine, 37:76-82.

4. Dengfeng WANG, Jenny Nga Ting FUNG, Ya TUO, Lina HU, Chen Chen: (2010) TWEAK/Fn14 promotes apoptosis of human endometrial cancer cells via caspase pathway. Cancer Letters, 294:91-100

5. Jing-Jiang PANG, Qihua XU, Xiang-Bin XU, Hong-Chao YIN, Rong-Kun XU, Shu GUO, Wei HAO, Lu-Ya WANG,  Chen Chen, Ji-Min CAO: (2010) Hexarelin suppresses high lipid diet and vitamin D3-induced atherosclerosis in rat. Peptides, 31:630-638

6. Qiang Sun, Yi Ma, Lin Zhang, Yufeng Zhao, Wei-Jin Zang, Chen Chen: (2010) Effects of growth hormone secretagogues on contractility and Ca2+ homeostasis of isolated adult rat ventricular myocytes. Endocrinology, 151:4446-4453

7. Dengfeng Wang, Lina Wang, Chen Chen: (2010) G-protein coupled receptor 30 in tumor development. Endocrine, 38:29-37

8. Li Wang, Rong-Guo Fu, Xiao-Dan Liu, Bao-Song Gui, Qiang Sun, Chen Chen, Yufeng Zhao, Lei Dong: (2010) Effect of Linoleic acid on intracellular calcium concentration in primarily cultured rat pancreatic beta-cells and underlying mechanism. Acta Physiol Sinica (Shengli Xuebao), 62:529-534

9. Jenny N. T. Fung, Inge Seim, Dengfeng Wang, Andreas Obermair, Lisa  K. Chopin and Chen Chen: (2010) Expression and in vitro functions of the ghrelin axis in human endometrial cancer. Hormone & Cancer, 1:245-255 (with commentary in the Endocrine News, January 2011)

10. Qiang Sun, Hao Hu, Jun Zhou, Xiao-Jiang Yu, Wei-Jin Zang, Chen Chen: (2010) Effect of obestatin on contraction of rat ventricular myocytes and L-type Ca2+ current. J Xi’an Jiaotong University (Medical Scineces), 31:447-449. (Chinese with English abstract).

11. Yufeng Zhao, Chen Chen: (2011) Adipsin as an adipokine. In Adipokines, Edit Victor R. Preedy. by Science Publishers, New Hampshire, USA; Chapter 3, page 20-28.

12. Ya Tuo, Dengfeng Wang, Shenbin Li, Chen Chen: (2011) Long-term exporure of INS-1 rat insulinoma cells to linoleic acid and glucose in vitro affects cell viability and function through mitochondrial-mediatedpathways. Endocrine, 39:128-138.

13. F. J. Steyn, L. Huang, S.T. Ngo, J.W. Leong, H.Y. Tan, T.Y. Xie, A.F. Parlow, J.D. Veldhuis, M.J. Waters, and Chen Chen: (2011) Development of a method for the determination of pulsatile growth hormone secretion in mice. Endocrinology, 152:3165-3171.

14. Xuefeng Han, Yunlong Zhu, Yufeng Zhao, Chen Chen: (2011) Ghrelin reduces voltage-gated calcium currents in GH3 cells via cyclic GMP pathways. Endocrine, 40:228-236.

15. Heng Zou, Dengfeng Wang, Xiaoling Gan, Long Jiang, Chen Chen, Lina Hu, Yi Zhang: (2011) Low TWEAK expression is correlated to the progression of squamous cervical carcinoma. Gynecologic Oncology, 123:123-128.

16. Dandan Feng, Seung-Kwon Yang, Loudes Catherine, Simon Axelle, Culler Michael, Alvear-Perez Rodrigo, Llorens-Cortes Catherine, Chen Chen, Epelbaum Jacques, Gardette Robert: (2011) Ghrelin and Obestatin modulate Growth Hormone-Releasing Hormone release and synaptic inputs onto growth hormone-releasing hormone neurons. European Journal of Neuroscience, 34:732-744.

17. Li Wang, Yufeng Zhao, Baosong Gui, Rongguo Fu, Feng Ma, Jun Yu, Ping Qu, Lei Dong, Chen Chen: (2011) Acute stimulation of glucagonsecretion by linoleic acid results from GPR40 activation and [Ca2+]i increase in pancreatic islet alpha-cells. Journal of Endocrinology, 210:173-179.

18. F.J. Steyn, J.W. Leong, L. HUANG, H.Y. Tan, T.Y. Xie, C. Nelson, M.J. Waters, J.D. Veldhuis, J. Epelbaum, Chen Chen: (2012) Growth hormone does not modulate the early fasting induced release of free fatty acids in mice. Endocrinology, 153:273-282.

19. Sean-Kwon Yang, Frederik Steyn, Chen Chen: (2012) Influence of Membrane Ion Channel in Pituitary Somatotrophs by Hypothalamic Regulators. Cell Calcium, 51:231-239.

20. F.J. Steyn, S.T. Ngo, J.D. Lee, J.W. Leong, J.D. Veldhuis, P.A. McCombe, Chen Chen, M.C. Bellingham: (2012) Impairments to the GH-IGF1 axis in hSOD1G93A mice give insight into possible mechanisms of GH dysregulation in patients with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis. Endocrinology, 153:3735-3746.

21. Jenny N.T. Fung, Chen Chen: (2012) Endometrial Cancer: Diagnosis, treatment and prevention. In Horisons in Cancer Research. Editor: Hiroto S. Watanabe. Vol 49 (Chapter I), 1-32.

22. Xinli Zhang, Chen Chen: (2012) A new insight of mechanisms, diagnosis and treatment of diabetic cardiomyopathy. Endocrine, 41:398-409.

23. Ya Tuo, Dandan Feng, Dengfeng Wang, Jian Sun, Shenbin Li, Chen Chen: (2012) Long-term in vitro treatment of INS-1 rat pancreatic β-cells by unsaturated free fatty acids protects cells from gluco- and lipo-toxicities through activation of GPR40 receptors. Clin Exp Physiol Pharmacol, 39:423-428.

24. Jyothsna R Rao, Damien J Keating, Chen Chen, Helena C Parkington: (2012) Adiponectin increases insulin content and cell proliferation in MIN6 cells via PPARγ-dependent and PPARγ -independent mechanisms. Diabetes, Obesity and Metabolism, 14:983-989.

25. Yi Ma, Lin Zhang, Joshua N. Edwards, Bradley S. Launikonis, Chen Chen: (2012) Growth Hormone Secretagogues protect mouse cardiomyocytes from in vitro ischemia/reperfusion injury through regulation of intracellular calcium. PLoS One, 7(4): e35265.

26 Chen JH, Xue S, Li S, Wang ZL, Yang H, Wang W, Song D, Zhou X, Chen Chen: (2012) Oxidant damage in Kashin-Beck disease and a rat Kashin-Beck disease model by employing T-2 toxin treatment under selenium deficient conditions. J Orthop Res. 30:1229-1237.

27. Yi Ma, Lin Zhang, Bradley S. Launikonis, Chen Chen: (2012) Growth hormone secretagogues preserve action potential of mouse cardiomyocytes isolated from in vitro ischemic/reperfusion heart. Endocrinology, 153: 5480-5490.

28. Xiangbin Xu, Fan Ding, Jinjiang Pang, Xue Gao, Rong-Kun Xu, Wei Hao, Ji-Min Cao, Chen Chen: (2012) Chronic administration of hexarelin attenuates cardiac fibrosis in the spontaneously hypertensive rat. Am J Physiol (HC), 303, H703-H711.

29. L. Huang, F.J. Steyn, H.Y. Tan, T.Y. Xie, J.D. Veldhuis, C. Chen: (2012) The decline in pulsatile GH secretion through early adulthood in mice is exacerbated by dietary-induced weight gain. Endocrinology, 153, 4380-4388.

30. Liang-han Ling, Ouda Khammy, Melissa Byrne, Fatemah Amirahmadi, Anna Foster, Gefeng Li, Linda Zhang, Cris dos Remedios, Chen Chen, David M. Kaye: (2012) Irregular Rhythm Adversely Influences Calcium Handling in Ventricular Myocardium: Implications for the Interaction Between Heart Failure and Atrial Fibrillation. Circulation Heart Failure, 5, 786-793.

31. F.J. Steyn, C. Chen: (2013) Adiponectin. In Handbook of Biologically Active Peptides, 2nd Edition, Edited by A.J. Kastin, MD, published by Academic Press/Elsevier, Chapter 130, 983-989.

32. Wenyi Gu, Chen Chen, Kong-Nan Zhao: (2013) Obesity-associated endometrial and cervical cancers. Frontiers in Bioscience, E5, 109-118.

33. Jianghong Wu, Chen Chen. Kong-Nan Zhao: (2013) Phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase signaling as a therapeutic target for cervical cancer. Current Cancer Drug Targets, 13(2), 143-156.

34. Yufeng Zhao, Li Wang, Jianhua Qiu, Dingjun Zha, Qiang Sun, Chen Chen: (2013) Linoleic acid stimulates [Ca2+]i increase in rat pancreatic beta-cells through both membrane receptor- and intracellular metabolite-mediated pathways. PloS One, 8, e60255.

35. Jiezhong Chen, Mengna Chi, Chen Chen, Xu-Dong Zhang: (2013) Obesity and melanoma: Exploring molecular links. Journal of Cellular Biochemistry, 114, 1955-1961.

36. F.J. Steyn, Y. Wan, J. Clarkson, J.D. Veldhuis, A. E. Herbison & Chen Chen: (2013) Development of methodology for, and assessment of pulsatile luteinizing hormone secretion in juvenile and adult male mice. Endocrinology, 154, 4939-4945

37. Zhao Xu, Zhou Wang, Jian-jun Li, Chen Chen, Ping-chuan Zhang, Lu Dong, Jing-hong Chen, Qun Chen, Xiao-tian Zhang, Zhi-lun Wang: (2013) Protective effects of selenium on oxidative damage and oxidative stress related gene expression in rat liver under chronic poisoning of arsenic. Food and Chemical Toxicology, 58, 1-7

38. Jiezhong Chen, Renfu Shao, Xu-Dong Zhang and Chen Chen: (2013) Applications of nanotechnology in the diagnosis and treatment of melanoma. International Journal of Nanomedicine, 8, 2677-2688

39. Jiezhong Chen, Ross Crawford, Chen Chen and Yin Xiao: (2013) The key regulatory roles of the PI3K/Akt signalling pathway in the functionalities of mesenchymal stem cells and applications in tissueregeneration. Tissue Engineering, 19(6), 526-528

40. Yufeng Zhao, Li Wang, Dingjun Zha, Li Qiao, Lianjun Lu, Jun Yu, Ping Qu, Qiang Xun, Jianha Qiu, Chen Chen: (2013) GW9508 inhibits insulin secretion by activating KATP channels in rat pancreatic beta-cells. Journal of Molecular Endocrinology, 51, 69–77

41. F.J. Steyn, T.Y. Xie, L. Huang, S.T. Ngo, J.D. Veldhuis, M. Waters, C. Chen (2013) Increased adiposity and insulin correlates with the suppression of pulsatile GH secretion during weight gain. Journal of Endocrinology, 218, 233-244

42. Jenny N. T. Fung, Penny Jeffery, John Lee, Inge Seim, Andreas Obermair, Lisa  K. Chopin and Chen Chen: (2013) Silencing of Ghrelin Receptor Expression Inhibits Endometrial Cancer Cell Growth in vitro and in vivo. American Journal of Physiology, 305, E305-E313

43. H.Y. Tan, L. Huang, D. Simmons, J.D. Veldhuis, F.J. Steyn and Chen Chen: (2013) Hypothalamic distribution of Somatostatin (Sst) mRNA expressing neurons relative to pubertal and adult changes in pulsatile GH secretion in mice. Journal of Neuroendocrinology, 25, 910-919

44. Yufeng Zhao, Dingjun Zha, Li Wang, Li Qiao, Lianjun Lu, Lin Mei, Chen Chen, Jianha Qiu,: (2013) Phenotypic characterization of GPR120-expressing cells in the interstitial tissue of pancreas. Tissue and Cell, 45, 421-427

45. F.J. Steyn, K. Lee, M.J. Fogarty, J.D. Veldhuis, P.A. McCombe, M.C. Bellingham, S.T. Ngo, and Chen Chen: (2013) Growth hormone secretion is correlated with neuromuscular innervation rather than motor neuron number in early-symptomatic male Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis mice. Endocrinology, 154, 4695-4706

46. H. Zou, X.L. Gan, L.J. Linghu, Chen Chen, L.N. Hu, Y. Zhang: (2013) Intense nanosecond pulsed electric fields promote cancer cell apoptosis through centrosome-dependent pathway involving reduced level of PLK1. European Review for Medical and Pharmacological Sciences, 17, 152-160

47. Jiezhong Chen, Kong-Nan Zhao, Chen Chen: (2014) The role of CYP3A4 in the biotransformation of bile acids and therapeutic implication for cholestasis. Annals of Translational Medicine, in press (accepted 11/03/2013)

48. Xiaorong Zhou, Zhilun Wang, Jinghong Chen, Wei Wang, Daiqing Song, Siyuan Li, Haojie Yang, Senhai Xue, Chen Chen: (2014) Increased levels of IL-6, IL-1β, and TNF-α in Kashin-Beck disease and rats induced by T-2 toxin and selenium deficiency. Rheumatology International, in press (2/9/2013).

49. Lai-Ling Du, Jia-Zhao Xie, Xiang-Shu Cheng, Xiao-Hong Li, Fan-Li Kong, Xia Jiang, Zhi-Wei Ma, Jian-ZhiWang, Chen Chen, Xin-Wen Zhou: (2014) Activation of sirtuin1 attenuates cerebral ventricular administration of streptozotocin-induced tau hyperphosphorylation in rat Hippocampi and cognitive injuries. AGE, in press (7/10/2013)

50. Jiezhong Chen, Aymen Elfiky, Mei Han, Chen Chen, M. Wasif Saif: (2014) The role of Src in colon cancer and its therapeutic implications. Clinical Colorectal Cancer, in press (3/10/2013)

51. Silvia Manzanero, Joanna R. Erion, Tomislav Santro, Frederik J. Steyn, Chen Chen, Thiruma V. Arumugam, and Alexis M. Stranahan: (2014) Intermittent fasting attenuates increases in neurogenesis following ischemia and reperfusion and improves recovery. Journal of Cerebral Blood Flow and Metabolism, in press (24/1/2014).

Student projects


  1. Metabolic regulation by GH pulsatile profiles in mouse under positive or negative energy balance
  2. Cell function analysis of insulin cells with insulin resistance
  3. Regulation of Pim-1 expression in diabetic cardiomyopathy in rat


  1. Development of iPSC techniques in the treatment of motor neuron disease
  2. Islet cell dysfunction in type 2 diabetes
  3. Metabolic regulation of GH profiles through peripheral and neuroendocrine system

Research Support

  • MEI Equipment Grant: 2012-2013, Establishment of small animal genotyping and metabolic analysis centre and the Centre for Integrative Physiology
  • NHMRC Research Project Grant: 2012-2014, Metabolic regulation of GH profile and neuroendocrine mechanism
  • NHMRC Research Fellowship Grant: 2008-2013
  • Commonwealth Australia DIISR Research project grant: 2010-2012, Effect of GHS on diabetic cardiomyopathy and underlying mechanism
  • Queensland International Fellow Grant: 2010-2012, Cellular and molecular mechanism underlying obese-related diabetes
  • Queensland-CAS Joint Biotechnology Project Grant: 2012-2015, an induced pluripotent stem cells model for amyotropic lateral sclerosis