Wen G. Chen, Ph.D., serves as Acting Branch Chief of NCCIH’s Basic and Mechanistic Research in Complementary and Integrative Health in the Division of Extramural Research. She joined NCCIH as a program director in March 2015. She oversees NCCIH’s portfolio on neurobiology and integrative physiology of mind and body programs and natural products; basic and clinical mechanistic studies of acupuncture, meditation, mindfulness, placebo effects, other types of mind and body interventions, natural products, including traditional Chinese herbal medicines, as well as other naturally occurring compounds; and mechanistic studies of complementary approaches in the context of pain management, and integration of genetic and epigenetic approaches into the neurobiological and physiological studies of complementary approaches.
Dr. Chen currently participates in a number of NIH-wide activities, including the NIH Pain Consortium, the NIH Common Fund initiative on Stimulating Peripheral Activity to Relieve Conditions (SPARC), and the NIH BRAIN Initiative.
Dr. Chen earned a doctor of philosophy in biological chemistry and molecular pharmacology from Harvard University. Under the tutelage of Dr. Michael E. Greenberg at Harvard Medical School, she studied the epigenetic regulation of activity-dependent expression of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). She also earned a master’s degree in medical sciences as part of the Harvard-Markey Medical Scientist training program at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Chen did her postdoctoral training in proteomics at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Prior to joining NCCIH, Dr. Chen worked as a scientific editor at NEURON, a program coordinator at the National Institute of Mental Health, and a program director at the National Institute on Aging, overseeing the research portfolio on sensory and motor disorders of aging.
She has published on transcriptional and epigenetic regulation of BDNF, aging and central neural control of mobility in older adults, pharmacological management of chronic pain, harnessing neuroplasticity for clinical applications, chemical senses and aging, and proteomics. Her articles have appeared in Science, NEURON, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), The Journal of Neuroscience, The Journal of Pain, Pain Medicine, Brain, The Journal of Gerontology, and Expert Review of Proteomics.