Chengpeng Chen

Contact Information
Office: MEYR 462B
Phone: 410-455-3053

Assistant Professor

2015-2018 Research/Teaching postdoctoral fellow, Saint Louis University,  Advisor: Dr. R. Scott Martin

2011-2015 Ph.D., Michigan State University,  Advisor: Dr. Dana M. Spence

2007-2011 B.S., Ocean University of China

Professional Interests

Primary Overview:

Welcome to the CHEN research lab, where our motto is “we create to discover.” Our lab is a vibrant hub of bioanalytical chemistry and bioengineering, where interdisciplinary research thrives, and innovation knows no bounds!

At the heart of our mission is the creation of robust analytical methods that enable us to delve deeper into the biomedical phenomena that intrigue us. We specialize in developing cutting-edge LC-MS-based metabolomics and proteomics protocols for in-depth intracellular analyses. We explore techniques such as Western blotting, mRNA analysis, and immunoassays to assess specific proteins. Additionally, we pioneer the development of advanced spectroscopy and electrochemical technologies for cell analysis and sensor development.

But we don’t stop there. Our lab is a hotbed of innovation, where we engineer new biomaterials and construct intricate microfluidic infrastructures. These serve as physiologically relevant models that allow us to explore and unravel complex biomedical questions. Our unique materials mimic native extracellular matrices, while microfluidics recreate the dynamic biofluidic environments found in various tissues and organs. In essence, we’re pioneering the development of Organs-on-a-Chip, which serve as powerful platforms for drug discovery and disease research. What sets our technology apart is its focus on enhancing physiological relevance while simplifying the technical aspects. We’ve developed a click-and-play technology that facilitates the widespread adoption of these models, benefitting biomedical research as a whole.

So, what exactly are the biomedical phenomena and questions that captivate our interest? We are driven to understand how the physical properties of extracellular matrices influence cell metabolomes. Extracellular matrices, such as collagen, create intricate microfibrous scaffolds in which cells reside. It is only recently that we have come to appreciate the critical role these matrices play in maintaining normal cell and tissue functions, a field known as biophysics or mechanobiology. Many aspects of this relationship remain shrouded in mystery. While it’s widely recognized that extracellular matrices undergo restructuring in various diseases, especially in fibrotic/sclerotic conditions, where excessive extracellular matrix components are deposited, and the overexpression of metallic matrix proteinases disrupts the extracellular matrix structure. The effects of these structural changes on intracellular biochemical activities remain largely unexplored. Here in our lab, we have embarked on a pioneering research journey that connects extracellular matrix microstructures with cell metabolomes, with the aim of providing molecular insights into fibrosis/sclerosis diseases and identifying new metabolomic targets for therapeutic development.

In response to the challenges posed by the pandemic lockdown, our lab has ventured into a new territory: the development of point-of-care and wearable sensors for health monitoring. We’ve engineered a highly sensitive bacteria sensor capable of detecting as few as 80 bacterial cells in 1 mL of biofluids. This sensor is evolving to specifically identify bacterial species, and we’ve embarked on a collaborative endeavor with Biokmir, Inc., supported by an NSF grant, to develop a tuberculosis sensor to combat this infectious disease. Additionally, we’ve introduced a groundbreaking technology known as “smart clothes,” where microfluidic devices are seamlessly integrated into garments to wirelessly detect chemicals in sweat, offering near real-time monitoring of health conditions.

Our lab is an inclusive community that welcomes students from all backgrounds. If you are an undergraduate student with a passion for research, we encourage you to reach out directly to Dr. Chen to explore exciting opportunities to join our team. If you are a graduate student, we welcome you to do a rotation in the lab. In the CHEN research lab, we are not just creating; we are discovering, innovating, and making a profound impact on the world of bioanalytical research. Join us in this exhilarating journey of exploration and advancement.


Selected Publications:

  1. Tao Zhang, Adam Michael Ratajczak (undergraduate author), Hui Chen, John A. Terrell1, and Chengpeng Chen*, A step forward for smart clothes—fabric-based microfluidic sensors for wearable health monitoring. ACS Sensors. 2022, 7, 12, 3857–3866.
  2. Giraso Keza Monia Kabandana, Tao Zhang, and Chengpeng Chen*, Emerging 3D printing technologies and methodologies for microfluidic development. Analytical Methods, 2022, 14, 2885-2906. INVITED CONTRIBUTION.
  3. Yueli Liu, Laura E. Hesse, Morgan K. Geiger, Kurt R. Zinn, Timothy J. McMahon*, Chengpeng Chen*, and Dana M. Spence*, A 3D-printed transfusion platform reveals beneficial effects of normoglycemic erythrocyte storage solutions and a novel rejuvenating solution. Lab on a Chip, 2022, 22, 1310-1320.
  4. Tao Zhang, Giraso Keza Monia Kabandana, Adam Ratajczak (undergraduate author), and Chengpeng Chen*, A quantitative sensing system based on a 3D-printed ion-selective electrode for rapid and sensitive detection of bacteria in biological fluid. Talanta, 2022, 238, 123040.
  5. Tianjiao Huang, John A. Terrell, Jay H. Chung, and Chengpeng Chen*, Electrospun microfibers modulate intracellular amino acids in liver cells via integrin β1, Bioengineering, 2021, 8 (7), 88. (FRONT COVER).
  6. Giraso Keza Monia Kabandana, Adam M. Ratajczak (undergraduate author), and Chengpeng Chen*, Making quantitative biomicrofluidics from microbore tubing and 3D-printed adapters, Biomicrofluidics, 2021, 15 (3), 034107.
  7. Curtis G. Jones, Tianjiao Huang, Jay H. Chung, and Chengpeng Chen*, 3D-printed, modular, and parallelized microfluidic system with customizable scaffold integration to investigate the roles of basement membrane topography on endothelial cells, ACS Biomaterials Science & Engineering, 2021, 7, 4, 1600-1607 (FRONT COVER).
  8. Curtis G. Jones and Chengpeng Chen*, An arduino-based sensor to measure transendothelial electrical resistance, Sensors and Actuators A, 2020, 314, 112216.
  9. Tianjiao Huang, Curtis G. Jones, Jay H. Chung, and Chengpeng Chen*, Microfibrous extracellular matrix changes the liver hepatocyte energy metabolism via integrins, ACS Biomaterials Science & Engineering, 2020, 6, 10, 5849-5856.
  10. Giraso Keza Monia Kabandana, Curtis G. Jones, Sarah K. Sharifi (undergraduate author), and Chengpeng Chen*, 3D-printed microfluidic devices for enhanced online sampling and direct optical measurements, ACS sensors, 2020, 5, 7, 2044-2051. (FRONT COVER).
  11. John A. Terrell, Curtis G. Jones, Giraso Keza Monia Kabandana, and Chengpeng Chen*, From cells-on-a-chip to organs-on-a-chip: scaffolding materials for 3D cell culture in microfluidics, Journal of Materials Chemistry B, 2020, 8 (31), 6667-6685. INVITED CONTRIBUTION