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News Archive

The happenings in & around the lab

Image by Juliana Malta

Two Star High School Seniors receive offer from UPenn


Congratulations to our two high school seniors - Amal Oubarri (Central High) and Ashley Park (Wissahickon High) - for receiving college offers from University of Pennsylvania.


Amal Oubarri, our talented high school senior from Central High School, just won the 1st prize in the 45th George Washington Carver Science Fair, with her research entitled "Role of Chemical Modifications in DNA:RNA Duplex". Amal runs beautiful kinetic enzymatic and binding assays/gels using her reconstituted R-loop. Couldn't be more proud, congratulations!


Our paper with Israel Canadas Lab, entitled "Targeting DHX9 triggers tumor-intrinsic interferon response and replication stress in Small Cell Lung Cancer", has been accepted by Cancer Discovery, on 12/15/2023


Congratulations to our 1st year Temple-BMSC graduate student Alexander Morris and our high school student Emily Gerstein for authorships.

read more here:

Lu visited the Department of Hematology/Center for Genome Integrity at Washtington University in St. Louis

2023-08-30 ~ 08-31


We have been fortunate to work with two rockstar summer interns - Abby and Emily - looking forward to cross paths again!


The LuChenLab team "prisonbreak" from two consecutive escape room with single try 


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We welcome new graduate student Grigory "Grisha" Matveev

2023-07-17 ~

Today our lab celebrates the long-awaited arrival of Grigory "Grisha" Matveev - our 3rd graduate student majoring in Biophysics@mipt_eng. Grisha will engineer optogenetic tools to better understand the live-cell dynamics of RNP biogenesis and catalysis. Here is Grisha and the sweet treats he shares with the lab.

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NIGMS Maximizing Investigator's Research Award (MIRA/R35)

2023-07-01 ~ 2028-05-31

    The Lu Chen Lab has received a new NIGMS MIRA/R35 grant, entitled "Telomerase RNP prisonbreaks from phase-separated nuclear body". Research supported by this grant (1R35GM150538) will investigate the mechanism by which phase-separation/cellular compartmentalization controls noncoding RNA structure, trafficking, and genomic functions. The completion of the proposed studies is likely to reveal new therapeutic means to treat aging-related degenerative diseases. 

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Patterson Postdoctoral Fellowship Awarded to Musinu! 

2023-06-26 ~ 2026-06

Congrats to Dr. Musinu Zakari for receiving the Patterson Postdoctoral Fellowship in structural biology & biochemistry. Musinu will trace the giant steps of Lindo/Betty Patterson - pioneering legends in X-ray crystallography - in structure-function study of telomerase RNP.

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Congratulations to Julia Hoopman (our 1st-year PhD student) for her selection as a T32 training fellow by NIGMS..

The T32 award grants Julia access to clinical boards, bioinformatic workshop, meeting/stipend supports, and leadership/teaching opportunities.


At the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory meeting #cshl-telo-2023, a scene shortly after Lu presented the telomerase prisonbreak story.

Revisiting telomerase assembly—A cradle-to-prison model
Musinu Zakari, Cameron Lian, Ashley Park, Alexander Morris, Julia Hoopman, Yan Wang, Steven Artandi, Lu Chen.
Presenter affiliation: Fox Chase Cancer Center, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.


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We hosted Gateway high-school students for a hands-on visit as a part of the Gateway_Fox Chase Discovery Tour.
Thanks Musinu and Julia for this great outreach and mentoring activity.


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Julia Hoopman (Temple-LKSOM 1st year PhD student) joins the lab for her 3rd rotation - Welcome, Julia!  



Our proposal "Telomerase RNP prisonbreaks from phase-separated nuclear body" has received fundable score from NIGMS-MIRA (Maximizing Investigator's Research Award) - a five-year grant that would bring the lab the needed support to grow and reach new grounds.



A perfect feast of chromatin and epigenetic science - great time hanging out with friends, colleagues, making professional connections. Congrats to CEI and JW for another win in the book.

Lu chaired a "meteoric" session featuring two stars/leaders (Cigall Kadoche and Chris Mason) at the 2023-CEI-symposium 



Our joint paper with Dr. Ylli Doksani @ IFOM, Milan, Italy has been accepted by SCIENCE ADVANCES. 


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We showed that telomeres are hotspots for replication fork reversal and the 3' of such reversed fork becomes a perfect substrate for telomerase RNP to add de novo DNA repeats on. This work illustrates how replicative stress is managed to safeguard mammalian genome. 

Lu had a great visit with Drexel University Dept of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, establishing collaborations, co-mentorship, and a path to host Drexel PhD and Master student for thesis research at FCCC.


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Lu Chen Lab hosted Dr. Roger Kornberg for a Distinguished Lecture at Fox Chase Cancer Center


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Roger's presentation is breath-takingly beautiful and touching. He used very simple slide style but emphasized on the core message (sometimes even blackened out slides to gather audience attention); he distilled down complicated biochemical reconstitution and structural biology into chewable bitesize but the big picture is always loud and clear. He spent an entire one hour of his evening time listening and answering every single trainee's question to the fullest and beyond - all he really wished is for everyone in the audience to enjoy basic research and discoveries. Many trainees told me they burst into tears by the sheer contagious purity of his pursuit of knowledge.


Persistency, determination, focus, hard work... what a force and inspiration. Dr. Kornberg is truly a pure seeker of his own kind.  

Our recent paper made it to the cover art of the current NAR (Volume 50, Issue 21, 28 November 2022)


These cutesy snakes revealed a crosstalk between 5′ cap hypermethylation and 3′ end processing underlying the biogenesis of spliceosomal RNAs (snRNA) – a step essential for motor neuron survival that is conserved among three organisms. Congrats to my amazing collaborator Grazia Raffa (univ of Rome), Steven Artandi (Stanford), and a great team of contributing scientists across multiple institutions and continents. The art was a collaborative work with the talented artist - Emma Videl.

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LuChenLab hosts Dr. Thomas Cech for a Distinguished Seminar on 09/22 - what a journey of discoveries and inspirations! 


Within 12 years of independence at CU-Boulder, Tom's Nobel work discovered the catalytic properties of RNAs and re-wrote the central dogma. 

Tom went ahead to produce more Nobel-worth discoveries, including the discovery of TERT and Pot1. 

Tom trained numerous leading scientists, including many with deep influence on our lab: Dan Herschlag, Julie Cooper, Peter Baumann, and Jennifer Doudna with her Nobel Prize on CRISPR-Cas9.

Tom speaks for himself as "a full-time teacher" and "a teacher for life". He shared his thoughts on career and answered questions from ten Fox Chase trainees, from undergrad, graduate students, postdoc, to faculty.

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Alex joins the lab as a 1st year rotation student, welcome!

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Our first Fox Chase paper has been published in Nucleic Acids Research, Congrats Masha!


    We revealed a crosstalk between 5’ cap hypermethylation and 3’ end processing underlying the biogenesis of spliceosomal RNAs (snRNA) – a step essential for motor neuron survival that is conserved among three organismal models. We found that immature snRNA (RNA snake in red) carries a mono-methylated 5’-cap and retains a 3’-extended tail containing poly-uridine; whereas, mature snRNAs (RNA snake in blue) acquire a tri-methylated cap that is catalyzed by TGS1 – the cap hypermethyltransferase – in a step that is needed for effective processing of its 3’ tail.

Media coverage: RNA Findings Could Assist in Development of New Treatments for Neurodegenerative Disorders, Cancer | Fox Chase Cancer Center - Philadelphia, PA

Lu was among the panelists of the "Together Facing Cancer and Aging" program, sharing information on the latest cancer research, treatment, and care. 


Marie "Masha" Kobin will join the LuChenLab as a Summer Research Fellow - a competitive position funded by the Jeanne E. and Robert F. Ozois Undergraduate Summer Research Fellowship. Congratulations and welcome, Masha!


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Lu presented a seminar in the 3rd Chromatin Club - Miami, titled
"The somatic non-coding driver mutation is repurposed from species evolution"


There were ~300 or so participants, with Dr. Joana Wysocka as the keynote speaker. Lu had interactions with old and new colleagues alike - feeling good to be back into the chromatin community! Thanks for the wonderful invitation by Dr. Luis Morey, Dr. Whestine, and Active Motif.


We hosted "Steppingstone Scholars" and provided hands-on experience for these talented, underserved Philly high schoolers

Jan 12, 2022

Students told us it is very cool to see real labs, and how the labs looked different than they expected - they also helped with various lab activities, such as miniprep and pouring agarose gels.


for more about these students, please visit: 

Lu Chen gave a seminar to the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Rochester Institute of Technology. 

Nov 11, 2021


Lu Chen Lab is awarded with $200,062 from an R21 grant by NIH-NIAID, beginning 04/01/2022

April, 2022

    This grant will support the lab effort to establish RNA-centric approaches to understand noncoding RNA's roles during immune cell development and differentiation.

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LuChenLab Outing @ Academy of Music_Philly_Hamilton

November 3rd, 2021


Lu taught the 2021_Responsible Conduct of Research to Fox trainees, on data irreproducibility and fraud.

Oct 26, 2021

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Lu Chen Lab is hiring a Sci Tech

August, 2021

Job Qualifications

  • A Bachelor’s degree in a basic science discipline is required.

  • Experience working in a research laboratory is strongly preferred.

  • Excellent organizational skills and multitasking capacities

  • Excellent communication skills (verbal and written), interpersonal skills and a team-spirit

Job Responsibilities

  • Conduct experiments, under the supervision of the PI, in areas including but not limited to molecular cloning, cell culture, and general biochemistry techniques.

  • Order and organize laboratory supplies, maintain equipment, manage lab protocols.

  • Support research grants, and present own research.

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The fund-raising champion of the 2021 Paws for the Cause


Since its first year, Paws for the Cause has raised more than $600,000 for cancer research at Fox Chase. This is the 2nd year in a row that the Whetstine team clings on to top spot. 

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Lu Chen Lab has an opening for postdoc

August, 2021

A postdoctoral position is immediately available in the Lu Chen lab of the Cancer Signaling and Epigenetic Program. The lab aims to understand in molecular details how misregulated RNA biology can contribute to human conditions, including cancer, aging, and degenerative diseases, with a long-term goal to design RNA-centric therapeutics to improve public health. We currently study RNP structure-function, RNA modifications and subcellular trafficking using multidisciplinary approaches, including RNP biochemistry, high-throughput RNA structural mapping, cell imaging, and genetic modeling in cellular and animal models.

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Lu to meet and talk with the new class of Temple graduate students

August 30, 2021

Hope the students will fall in love with the science in FCCC, and join for many lab rotations, and eventually embarking on a graduate career. 

Here is the 1-page lab intro for the student's booklet compiled by Glenn's office. 

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Soon-keat Ooi is joining from Sept, as a postdoctoral fellow and a founding member, welcome!


Soon-keat received his PhD in biochemistry from the graduate school of Stowers Institute, Kansas City, with Joan and Ron Conaways.

Lu Chen Lab opens its door!

September, 2021

We are home-based in Room 246 and 247 of the West building, with our own TC room at W252, shared equipment, and cold room space. Great resources to start the journey!

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