Dr. Che-Hong Chen, a molecular biologist and geneticist, has been working in Dr. Daria Mochly-Rosen's laboratory at Stanford University for the past 20 years. Dr. Chen's early research includes the characterization of the first intra-cellular receptor for protein kinase C and its protein-protein interaction with other signaling molecules. Dr. Chen's research interest also focuses on the role of ethanol in the mechanism of cardioprotection against ischemia-reperfusion injuries. Dr. Chen's research demonstrated that acute ethanol protects the heart from ischemic events by mimicking preconditioning.
Several protein kinase C substrates involved in this ethanol-induced protective mechanism have been identified in his research including an important detoxifying enzyme aldehyde dehydrogenase (ALDH).
More recently, Dr. Chen has been studying the ALDH gene family and its association with human diseases. By high throughput screening of small molecule libraries, Dr. Chen has pioneered the discovery of a class of novel enzyme activators and inhibitors of aldehyde dehydrogenase (Aldas & Aldis). Many of the 19 human ALDH isoyzmes and their mutations have been implicated in diseases caused by the accumulation of toxic aldehdyes and oxidative stress. Aldas have been shown to be effective in enhancing the cell's detoxifying capacity both in vitro and in vivo. The discovery of Aldas & Aldis as a class of unique enzyme modulators therefore carries an enormous potential for treating a wide range of human diseases. Dr. Chen's current research focuses on the isolation and characterization of ALDH isozyme-specific modulators and the understanding of the basic molecular interaction between ALDH and these small molecules.
Dr. Chen's goals are to further refine the ALDH modulator compounds and to develop Aldas and Aldis into useful therapeutics for human diseases that are associated with reactive and toxic aldehydes.