Dr. Pu Chen is a Postdoctoral Scholar at Canary Center for Cancer Early Detection, Department of Radiology, Stanford University School of Medicine, Palo Alto, CA, USA. Before moving to Stanford, he was a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Medicine at Harvard Medical School (HMS), and Brigham and Women?s Hospital, Boston, MA. He received his Ph.D. from Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Wuhan, China in 2011. His current research interests are in the field of microscale technologies for bottom-up tissue engineering and bioanalysis. He has published more than 20 peer-reviewed publications, and two book chapters.
Dr. Pu Chen specializes in creating microscale technologies to solve real-world problems in biomedicine. He has created new technologies for 3D tissue mimics for tissue engineering and microfluidic technologies for bioanalysis. Through his career, he has obtained training in a number of disciplines that are of direct importance for leading projects with experience in a variety of engineering and biomedical disciplines, including optics, electrical engineering, acoustics, microfabrication, microfluidics, microscale assembly, fluorescence detection systems, analytical chemistry and tissue engineering. Dr. Pu Chen believes scientific research is an endless trek toward truths of the universe that can benefit human beings in both material life and spiritual life. His goal is to promote welfare of every ordinary person by developing novel solutions to address complex global health problems and helping people to fight with diseases.

Honors & Awards

  • Best Poster Award, Material Research Society (12/2014)

Professional Education

  • Doctor of Philosophy, Huazhong University Of Science & Technology (2011)
  • Bachelor of Science, Huazhong University Of Science & Technology (2005)

Stanford Advisors


All Publications

  • Biotunable Acoustic Node Assembly of Organoids. Advanced healthcare materials Chen, P., Güven, S., Usta, O. B., Yarmush, M. L., Demirci, U. 2015; 4 (13): 1937-1943


    Bioengineering of 3D microtissues from cell spheroids is demonstrated by employing the vibration of acoustic standing waves and its hydrodynamic effect at the bottom of a liquid-carrier chamber. A large number of cell spheroids (>10(4) ) are assembled in seconds into a closely packed structure in a scaffold-free fashion under nodal pattern of the standing waves in a fluidic environment.

    View details for DOI 10.1002/adhm.201500279

    View details for PubMedID 26149464

  • Multiscale assembly for tissue engineering and regenerative medicine TRENDS IN BIOTECHNOLOGY Guven, S., Chen, P., Inci, F., Tasoglu, S., Erkmen, B., Demirci, U. 2015; 33 (5): 269-279


    Our understanding of cell biology and its integration with materials science has led to technological innovations in the bioengineering of tissue-mimicking grafts that can be utilized in clinical and pharmaceutical applications. Bioengineering of native-like multiscale building blocks provides refined control over the cellular microenvironment, thus enabling functional tissues. In this review, we focus on assembling building blocks from the biomolecular level to the millimeter scale. We also provide an overview of techniques for assembling molecules, cells, spheroids, and microgels and achieving bottom-up tissue engineering. Additionally, we discuss driving mechanisms for self- and guided assembly to create micro-to-macro scale tissue structures.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.tibtech.2015.02.003

    View details for Web of Science ID 000354157900005

    View details for PubMedID 25796488

  • Highlights from the latest articles in advanced biomanufacturing at micro- and nano-scale. Nanomedicine Assal, R. E., Chen, P., Demirci, U. 2015; 10 (3): 347-350

    View details for DOI 10.2217/nnm.14.210

    View details for PubMedID 25707972

  • Microscale Assembly Directed by Liquid-Based Template ADVANCED MATERIALS Chen, P., Luo, Z., Gueven, S., Tasoglu, S., Ganesan, A. V., Weng, A., Demirci, U. 2014; 26 (34): 5936-?
  • Encapsulation of single cells on a microfluidic device integrating droplet generation with fluorescence-activated droplet sorting BIOMEDICAL MICRODEVICES Wu, L., Chen, P., Dong, Y., Feng, X., Liu, B. 2013; 15 (3): 553-560


    Encapsulation of single cells is a challenging task in droplet microfluidics due to the random compartmentalization of cells dictated by Poisson statistics. In this paper, a microfluidic device was developed to improve the single-cell encapsulation rate by integrating droplet generation with fluorescence-activated droplet sorting. After cells were loaded into aqueous droplets by hydrodynamic focusing, an on-flight fluorescence-activated sorting process was conducted to isolate droplets containing one cell. Encapsulation of fluorescent polystyrene beads was investigated to evaluate the developed method. A single-bead encapsulation rate of more than 98 % was achieved under the optimized conditions. Application to encapsulate single HeLa cells was further demonstrated with a single-cell encapsulation rate of 94.1 %, which is about 200 % higher than those obtained by random compartmentalization. We expect this new method to provide a useful platform for encapsulating single cells, facilitating the development of high-throughput cell-based assays.

    View details for DOI 10.1007/s10544-013-9754-z

    View details for Web of Science ID 000318812900017

    View details for PubMedID 23404263

  • Paramagnetic Levitational Assembly of Hydrogels ADVANCED MATERIALS Tasoglu, S., Kavaz, D., Gurkan, U. A., Guven, S., Chen, P., Zheng, R., Demirci, U. 2013; 25 (8): 1137-1143

    View details for DOI 10.1002/adma.201200285

    View details for Web of Science ID 000315102600007

    View details for PubMedID 23288557

  • Analysis of intercellular communication by flexible hydrodynamic gating on a microfluidic chip ANALYTICAL AND BIOANALYTICAL CHEMISTRY Chen, P., Chen, P., Feng, X., Du, W., Liu, B. 2013; 405 (1): 307-314


    Intercellular Ca(2+) waves are propagation of Ca(2+) transients among cells that could be initiated by chemical stimulation. Current methods for analyzing intercellular Ca(2+) waves are difficult to realize localized chemical stimulations upon the target cell without interfering with adjacent contacting cells. In this paper, a simple and flexible microfluidic method was developed for investigating the intercellular communication of Ca(2+) signals. A cross-patterned microfluidic chip was designed and fabricated with polydimethylsiloxane as the structural material. Localized chemical stimulation was achieved by a new strategy based on hydrodynamic gating technique. Clusters of target cells were seeded at the location within 300 ?m downstream of the intersection of the cross-shaped microchannel. Confined lateral molecular diffusion largely minimized the interference from diffusion-induced stimulation of adjacent cells. Localized stimulation of the target cell with adenosine 5'-triphosphate successfully induced the propagation of intercellular Ca(2+) waves among a population of adjacent contacting cells. Further inhibition studies verified that the propagation of calcium signals among NIH-3 T3 cells was dependent on direct cytosolic transfer via gap junctions. The developed microfluidic method provides a versatile platform for investigating the dynamics of intercellular communications.

    View details for DOI 10.1007/s00216-012-6447-z

    View details for Web of Science ID 000313064000030

    View details for PubMedID 23052886

  • A chemical signal generator for resolving temporal dynamics of single cells ANALYTICAL AND BIOANALYTICAL CHEMISTRY Sun, J., Wang, J., Chen, P., Feng, X., Du, W., Liu, B. 2011; 400 (9): 2973-2981


    To investigate rapid cell signaling, analytical methods are required that can generate repeatable chemical signals for stimulating live cells with high temporal resolution. Here, we present a chemical signal generator based on hydrodynamic gating, permitting flexible stimulation of single adherent cells with a temporal resolution of 20 ms. Studies of adenosine triphosphate (ATP)-induced calcium signaling in HeLa cells were demonstrated using this developed method. Consecutive treatment of the cells with ATP pulses of 20 or 1 s led to an increase of latency, which might be another indicator of receptor desensitization in addition to the decrease in the amplitude of calcium spikes. With increasing duration of ATP pulses from milliseconds to a few seconds, the cellular responses transitioned from single calcium spikes to calcium oscillation gradually. We expected this method to open up a new avenue for potential investigation of rapid cell signaling.

    View details for DOI 10.1007/s00216-011-4987-2

    View details for Web of Science ID 000291037800030

    View details for PubMedID 21499676

  • Development of a microfluidic cell-based biosensor integrating a millisecond chemical pulse generator BIOSENSORS & BIOELECTRONICS Sun, J., Chen, P., Feng, X., Du, W., Liu, B. 2011; 26 (8): 3413-3419


    The use of cell-based biosensors is usually limited by agonist-induced desensitization of cell-surface receptors. In this work, a microfluidic cell-based biosensor (?CBB) was developed for the detection of ATP in liquid environments. It consists of a millisecond chemical pulse generator for sample introduction in a pulsatile manner and a single NIH-3T3 cell expressing endogenous P2Y receptors as the sensing element. ATP solutions were used to simulate input signals for investigating the ?CBB. By controlling negative pressures on two outlets of a cross-shaped microfluidic chip, pulses of ATP solutions were generated based on hydrodynamic gated injection. With ATP pulses of 100 ms every 50s, the amplitude of the resulting calcium spikes maintained at a similar level, suggesting that the receptor desensitization was minimized. Consequently, the developed ?CBB could be used for detecting pulsatile samples with extended use times. The sensitivity of the ?CBB for detecting ATP was further determined and the cellular responses to millisecond ATP pulses were investigated in comparison to long-term stimulations.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.bios.2011.01.013

    View details for Web of Science ID 000289863900004

    View details for PubMedID 21334189

  • Rapid, highly efficient extraction and purification of membrane proteins using a microfluidic continuous-flow based aqueous two-phase system JOURNAL OF CHROMATOGRAPHY A Hu, R., Feng, X., Chen, P., Fu, M., Chen, H., Guo, L., Liu, B. 2011; 1218 (1): 171-177


    Membrane proteins play essential roles in regulating various fundamental cellular functions. To investigate membrane proteins, extraction and purification are usually prerequisite steps. Here, we demonstrated a microfluidic aqueous PEG/detergent two-phase system for the purification of membrane proteins from crude cell extract, which replaced the conventional discontinuous agitation method with continuous extraction in laminar flows, resulting in significantly increased extraction speed and efficiency. To evaluate this system, different separation and detection methods were used to identify the purified proteins, such as capillary electrophoresis, SDS-PAGE and nano-HPLC-MS/MS. Swiss-Prot database with Mascot search engine was used to search for membrane proteins from random selected bands of SDS-PAGE. Results indicated that efficient purification of membrane proteins can be achieved within 5-7s and approximately 90% of the purified proteins were membrane proteins (the highest extraction efficiency reported up to date), including membrane-associated proteins and integral membrane proteins with multiple transmembrane domains. Compared to conventional approaches, this new method had advantages of greater specific surface area, minimal emulsification, reduced sample consumption and analysis time. We expect the developed method to be potentially useful in membrane protein purifications, facilitating the investigation of membrane proteomics.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.chroma.2010.10.090

    View details for Web of Science ID 000286494100021

    View details for PubMedID 21112057

  • Hydrodynamic gating valve for microfluidic fluorescence-activated cell sorting ANALYTICA CHIMICA ACTA Chen, P., Feng, X., Hu, R., Sun, J., Du, W., Liu, B. 2010; 663 (1): 1-6


    Microfluidic cell sorter allows efficient separation of small number of cells, which is beneficial in handling cells, especially primary cells that cannot be expanded to large populations. Here, we demonstrate a microfluidic fluorescence-activated cell sorter (muFACS) with a novel sorting mechanism, in which automatic on-chip sorting is realized by turning on/off the hydrodynamic gating valve when a fluorescent target is detected. Formation of the hydrodynamic gating valve was investigated by both numerical simulation and flow visualization experiment. Separation of fluorescent polystyrene beads was then conducted to evaluate this sorting mechanism and to optimize the separation conditions. Isolation of fluorescent HeLa-DsRed cells was further demonstrated with high purity and recovery rate. Viability of the sorted cells was also examined, suggesting a survival rate of more than 90%. We expect this sorting approach to find widespread applications in bioanalysis.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.aca.2010.01.046

    View details for Web of Science ID 000275580500001

    View details for PubMedID 20172088

  • Hydrodynamic gating for sample introduction on a microfluidic chip LAB ON A CHIP Chen, P., Feng, X., Sun, J., Wang, Y., Du, W., Liu, B. 2010; 10 (11): 1472-1475


    We present a microfluidic sample introduction approach based on a novel flow control mechanism, hydrodynamic gated injection. It has the advantages of easy and flexible flow control, similar to its analog, electrokinetic gated injection, but exhibits the unique properties of strong driving force and good biocompatibility, ideal for applications involving live biological samples. Theories for hydrodynamic gating were proposed and validated by both numerical simulations and flow visualization experiments. An investigation with fluorescein revealed that pico-liter samples can be injected with high repeatability (RSD <1.9%). Selective injections of GFP-transfected nematode eggs were demonstrated with a survival rate of >95%. We expect the developed method to be potentially useful for microfluidic cell and organism analysis, either as a sample introduction module or a stand-alone analyzer.

    View details for DOI 10.1039/b925096d

    View details for Web of Science ID 000277832800016

    View details for PubMedID 20480113

  • Microfluidic chips for cell sorting FRONTIERS IN BIOSCIENCE-LANDMARK Chen, P., Feng, X., Du, W., Liu, B. 2008; 13: 2464-2483


    Micro total analysis systems (microTAS) also referred to as "lab-on-a-chip" is one of the fastest progressing fields in biological and chemical analyses. In recent years, microTAS for single cell analysis has drawn the attention of researchers due to its significant advantages over traditional methods for single cell manipulation, fast cell sorting and integration of multiple functions. As the preliminary step for studying cells on chips, cell sorting using microfluidics have been investigated by researchers intensively. This article reviews the most recent advances on microfluidics-based cell sorting techniques including cell sorting principle, strategy, mechanism and procedure with emphases on the sorting mechanism and procedure. Furthermore, evaluation criteria for successful cell sorter are also discussed and future research directions are given.

    View details for DOI 10.2741/2859

    View details for Web of Science ID 000255775700203

    View details for PubMedID 17981727

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