Emily Chen received her BS from National Tsing Hua University (Taiwan) in 2013 and then joined Brendan Harley’s research group in the Department of Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Her research project mainly focuses on building and utilizing in vitro hydrogel platform to study glioblastoma cancer stem cell invasion. Glioblastoma, the most malignant brain cancer among the world and with a high fatality rate as well as patient-to-patient heterogeneity, it’s crucial to provide a platform to personalized treatment.
Research Project: Glioblastoma (GBM) is the most common and lethal brain cancer among the world associated with short median (~15 months) and long term (5+ yr < 5%) survival rate. The heterogenous tumor microenvironment (TME) complicates the GBM study both in vitro and in vivo. Current treatment including surgical debulking tumor followed by radio- and chemo- therapy but with limited effects.
My project focuses on utilizing a TME-inspired in vitro hydrogel (GelMA and HAMA) platform to understand how the matrix composition, nutrient transition and the heterogeneous cellular population influence on GBM invasion and how GBM stem cells affects GBM malignancy as well as therapeutic outcomes. This project aims to better understand GBM invasive mechanism and provide personalized diagnostic tool.
- Selected graduate student award finalists of Biomaterials session, AIChE Annual Meeting 2017 (October 2017)
- 2017 Phi Tau Phi Scholarship Award (September 2017)
- Spring 2017 Graduate College Conference Travel Award (Spring 2017)
- 3rd place in 15th Annual ChBE Graduate Research Symposium of oral presentation, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (October 2016)
- Outreaching volunteer, Genome Day: Biobistro station (2017/11)
- Outreaching volunteer, World of Genomics at Field Museum: Personalized health station (2017/5)
- Mentor, undergraduate research (Sarah Leary, Chemistry Department), University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (2017/9-
- Mentor, Illinois scholars undergraduate research (ISUR) program (Denzel Cruz, Bioengineering Department), University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (2017/9-)
- Session instructor of Graduate Academy for College Teaching small group session (2017/8)
- Mentor, 2017 Emperor Science Award program, PBS & WGBH Educational Foundation (2017/6 -2017/9)
- Mentor, undergraduate research (Jordan Meyer, Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering Department), University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (2017/5-2017/8)