Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania

Chen Laboratory

Personnel

H. Isaac Chen

H. Isaac Chen
Principal Investigator
 Isaac.Chen@uphs.upenn.edu

Dr. Chen is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Neurosurgery at the University of Pennsylvania. He is also the Section Chief of Neurosurgery at the Philadelphia Veterans Affairs Medical Center. He obtained his undergraduate degree in Biochemical Sciences from Harvard University. Subsequently, he completed medical school and neurosurgical residency at the University of Pennsylvania. His clinical interests include functional neurosurgery, epilepsy surgery, traumatic brain injury, and brain tumors (especially those in eloquent cortex). As a surgeon and a scientist, Dr. Chen's primary focus is the preservation and restoration of brain function. 


Dennis Jgamadze

Dennis Jgamadze
Post-Doctoral Researcher
 jgamadze@pennmedicine.upenn.edu

Dennis has been a post-doctoral fellow in the lab since the fall of 2014. He received his PhD from the Dresden University of Technology (Germany) in Neuroscience where he worked on establishing and characterizing 3D colloidal bead-based neural cultures and transplanting these cultures into the rat hippocampus. He also received a MSc degree in Molecular Bioengineering from the same institution. He is currently working on developing novel methods for repairing brain circuitry using a combination of stem cell biology, tissue engineering, and neural-optical-electronic interfaces. 


James Lim

James Lim
Research Specialist
 limjames@pennmedicine.upenn.edu

James started working with Dr. Chen in December of 2015. He earned a B.A. in Biology: Neuroscience and a Piano Performance minor at The Pennsylvania State University where he was involved in a cognitive ecology lab that studied the long-term behavioral effects of adolescent stress in rats. James is interested in stem cell biology and the efficient development of viable, active human cortical and dopaminergic neurons from iPSC sources.



Students

Rachel Blue

Rachel Blue
Neurosurgery Resident
 rachel.blue@uphs.upenn.edu

Rachel is a resident in the Department of Neurosurgery at the University of Pennsylvania. She obtained her undergraduate degree in Molecular Genetics at The Ohio State University and her medical degree from the University of Minnesota. She has done research on axon guidance in the central nervous system (Seeger Lab) and the bioengineering of lungs from stem cells using decellularized matrices (Mortari Lab). Her clinical interests include brain tumors, skull base surgery and functional neurosurgery. Her research interests include regenerative medicine and brain-machine interfaces. In Chen Lab, she is researching the transplantation of neural tissue from human stem cells in hopes of aiding in brain repair following injury.


Nadir Bilici

Nadir Bilici
Medical Student
 nadir.bilici@uphs.upenn.edu

Nadir is a medical student at the Perelman School of Medicine. He received a B.A. in Molecular and Cell Biology: Neurobiology from the University of California, Berkeley. Nadir is interested in the intersection between technology and medicine, and his research project in the Chen lab focuses on functionally assessing transplanted neural tissue derived from human stem cells in the context of brain repair.


Aaron Williams

Aaron Williams
Medical Student
  aaron.williams@uphs.upenn.edu

Aaron is an MD-PhD student at the University of Pennsylvania. He received his BA in Human Biology from Stanford University in 2015, concentrating in behavioral neuroscience. For his PhD, he is interested in network neuroscience and how groups of neurons process information. His current project in the Chen lab investigates how optogenetic stimulation affects activity in neural cultures. Clinically he is interested in neurology, and hopes to make a career of both seeing patients and conducting research.


Jiahe (Ben) Gu

Jiahe (Ben) Gu
Medical Student
 jiahe.gu@uphs.upenn.edu

Ben is a medical student at the University of Pennsylvania. He received his BS and MS degrees in Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry from Yale University in 2016. Ben has a long-term interest in innate immunity, and his research in the Chen lab investigates how interactions between host and grafted neural tissue impact the survival and integration of transplants.


Ila Sethi

Ila Sethi
Undergraduate
 ilasethi@sas.upenn.edu

Ila is an undergraduate at the University of Pennsylvania, pursuing a B.A. in Biological Basis of Behavior and Health and Societies. She is interested in the role iPSC-derived neurons in brain injury and repair. She ultimately hopes to pursue a career in medicine. 


Tianyu (Christina) Lin

Tianyu (Christina) Lin
Undergraduate
 tianyul@wharton.upenn.edu

Christina is an undergraduate student at the University of Pennsylvania's Vagelos Life Sciences and Management Program. Through the dual degree program, she is studying Biological Basis of Behavior in the College and planning to study finance in Wharton. Her current role in the Chen Lab includes segmentation and analysis of activity in neural cultures as well as immunocytochemical staining. Going forward, she would love to continue exploring the field of neuroscience and learning new laboratory techniques. 


Alumni
 

  • Kevin Truskowski
  • Gabe Montoya
  • Yueqi Ren
  • Clarissa Liu
  • Ashley Nemes