The Chen 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.

The long-term goal is to find an 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.

Group Head




  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.


  1. Islet cell dysfunction in type 2 diabetes.
  2. Metabolic regulation of GH profiles through peripheral and neuroendocrine system

The endocrinology and metabolism (Chen) laboratory is fully equipped for molecular and cellular biology studies of endocrine cells. In addition to our capability to carry out routine PCR, Western, cell culture, ELISA, histology and indirect calorimetric assessment in mice, we have four single cell patch clamp recording systems for ion channel studies, which allow us to simultaneously record intracellular calcium, single cardiomyocyte contraction/relaxation and single cell hormone exocytosis (membrane capacitance and amperometry).


The Chen laboratory has well established non-obese T2D, obese pre-diabetes and obese diabetes mouse models. We also have transgenic mouse lines with specific growth hormone axes marked by GFP (GFP-GHRH, GFP-GH) for single cell studies. We have established a full range of pituitary hormone and pancreatic islet hormone supersensitive assays that allow us to record detailed hormone profiles in mice.


With our established supersensitive assays and unique tail-blood sampling from conscious free moving mice, the Chen lab is currently the only laboratory able to measure and analyse the pulsatile component of mouse hormonal secretion patterns. Our lab is also interested in key metabolic regulatory hormones, such as leptin, insulin, GH, adiponectin, orexin, GLP-1, glucagon, etc. in mouse models of human disease. Our single cell recording suites provide a unique platform for cell functional analyses.

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