Dr. Shuibing Chen, an associate professor of chemical biology in surgery and in biochemistry at Weill Cornell Medicine, has received the ISSCR Dr. Susan Lim Award for Outstanding Young Investigator from the International Society for Stem Cell Research (ISSCR).
The annual award, which carries a $15,000 personal prize and is supported by the Dr. Susan Lim Endowment for Education and Research Ltd., recognizes the exceptional achievements by an ISSCR member and investigator in the early part of her independent career in stem cell research. Dr. Chen was honored for her innovative chemical approaches in pluripotent stem cell research, with major contributions in drug screening techniques, and in human disease modeling, genetic testing and organoid development.
Dr. Chen accepted her award at the ISSCR’s annual meeting, which took place June 20-23 in Melbourne, Australia, where she also presented her research.
“It is an incredible honor to receive this prestigious award,” Dr. Chen said. “This award recognizes the contribution of our team, in particular the postdoctoral fellows and graduate students. We are also very grateful to the support from our collaborators and colleagues at Weill Cornell Medicine.”
Among her more recent research, Dr. Chen developed a 3D model of colon cancer, grown from human stem cells, that she and her colleague Dr. Todd Evans used to screen drugs that could effectively treat the disease. Using this organoid platform, which they detailed in Nature Medicine, Drs. Chen and Evans identified a targeted drug treatment for a common, inherited form of colorectal disease called familial adenomatous polyposis, a precursor to colon cancer. A major focus of Dr. Chen’s lab has been on generating functional pancreatic beta-cells from human stem cells. The team has used these cells and new gene-editing techniques to test the role of genetic variants associated with diabetes, and then screen for drugs that block disease progression, as published recently in Cell Stem Cell and Nature Communications.
In yet another study, published in Cell Stem Cell, Drs. Chen and Evans found that a compound used in traditional Chinese medicine to lower blood pressure also strongly combats Zika virus infection of the brain, and may protect against Zika-associated birth defects.
Dr. Chen was also a 2012 recipient of the NIH Director’s New Innovator Award from the National Institutes of Health, which supports exceptionally creative early-career investigators who propose innovative, high-impact projects.
“Shuibing is an outstanding talent in the field of stem cell research who, most deservedly, is being recognized with this award as the single top young investigator in stem cell biology in the world,” said Dr. Evans, who is associate dean for research and the Peter I. Pressman, M.D. Professor in Surgery at Weill Cornell Medicine. “It is an incredible honor and a major accolade for Weill Cornell Medicine science.”