Dr. Chen received his BS (1993) and MS (1996) in chemistry from Nanjing University. He then came to the United States, where he completed his PhD degree (1999) in 3 years at the University of Idaho, under the supervision of Prof. Chien M. Wai. He was involved in chelation chemistry of alpha-emitting radionuclides. He then moved to upstate New York and spent 16 months as a postdoc at Syracuse University working with Prof. Jon Zubieta, where he learned crystallography and coordination chemistry of technetium and rhenium. Although his second postdoc at the Washington University in St. Louis was short, he was profoundly influenced by his mentor, Prof. Michael J Welch, who is renowned for applying modern chemistry to the preparation of radiopharmaceuticals in medical imaging.
He joined the University of Southern California as an Assistant Professor in 2002. By working with Prof. Peter Conti and Prof. James Bading, he pioneered multimodality imaging of angiogenesis marker integrin αvβ3. In 2004, he moved to the Molecular Imaging Program at Stanford (MIPS) under the directorship of Prof. Sanjiv Sam Gambhir, and was promoted to Associate Professor in 2008. During his tenure at Stanford, he successfully translated 18F-labeled RGD peptide dimer into clinic for first-in-human imaging studies. In the summer of 2009, he joined the intramural research program of the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB) as a tenured senior investigator and lab chief.
Dr. Chen has published over 350 peer-reviewed papers and numerous books and book chapters. He sits on the editorial board of over 10 peer-reviewed journals and is the founding editor of a newly established SCI journal “Theranostics”.