Feng Chen, PhD

Feng Chen, PhD

Professor of Medicine, Division of Nephrology

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Mailing Address

Division of Nephrology

  • Mailing Address: 660 S. Euclid Ave., CB 8126
    St. Louis, MO 63110


  • BS, Biology: Fudan University, Shanghai (1991)
  • PhD, Human Genetics: University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT (1998)
  • Postdoctorate, Molecular Genetics: Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Stanford University, Palo Alto, CA (2002)


People’s Scholarship and Fudan Scholarship Award, Fudan University

Outstanding Graduate Award, Fudan University

Molecular Biology Program Fellowship , University of Utah

University Research Fellowship Award, University of Utah

Postdoctoral Fellowship , Howard Hughes Medical Institute

Career Development Award , Leukemia & Lymphoma Society of American

Basil O’Conner Award, March of Dimes

Young Investigator Award, CASN

Research Interests

Urogenital diseases, urogenital development, Calcineurin-NFAT, molecular genetics, diabetes insipidus, collecting duct, prostate cancer

Molecular genetic study of urogenital diseases

The Chen Laboratory studies the genetic determinants and pathogenic mechanisms of urogenital diseases with the goal of improving diagnostic and therapeutic strategies targeting these diseases. We have been creating and utilizing an array of experimental and disease models in cultured cells and mice to study the involvement of a number of pathways, including the calcineurin/NFAT, Hedgehog, TGF, and Wnt signaling pathways, in urogenital diseases, such as congenital anomalies of the kidney and the urinary tract (CAKUT), glomerular diseases, collecting duct dysfunction, and prostate cancer. We use a multi-disciplinary approach, including cutting edge genome technologies, to study the mechanisms leading from defined genetic changes to the initiation and progression of urogenital diseases. While we take advantage of the in vivo systems for studying the genetic, physiological, and pathological aspects of these diseases, we also performed experiments in ex vivo and in vitro systems to study molecular interactions and cellular behaviors, using molecular biology, cell biology and biochemistry techniques. In addition to answering specific questions with clinical relevance, we are also keen on developing new genetic tools for the research community, such as new tissue-specific Cre transgenes and conditionally controllable transgenic mouse lines.


Selected Publications

Qiusha Guo*, Yinqiu Wang*, Piyush Tripathi, Kalyan R. Manda, Malini Mukherjee, Malay Chaklader, Paul F. Austin, Kameswaran Surendran, Feng Chen (2014) Adam10 mediates the choice of principal cells and intercalated cells in the kidney Journal of American Society of Nephrology 26(1):149-59. (*co-first authors).

Piyush Tripathi, Yinqiu Wang, Matthew Coussens, Kalyan R. Manda, Adam M. Casey, Congxing Lin, Edward Poyo, John D. Pfeifer, Nisha Basappa, Carlton M. Bates, Liang Ma, Hong Zhang, Minggui Pan, Li Ding, Feng Chen (2014) Activation of NFAT signaling establishes a tumorigenic microenvironment through cell autonomous and non-cell autonomous mechanisms Oncogene 2014; 33, 1840–1849.

Piyush Tripathi, Yinqiu Wang, Adam M. Casey, Feng Chen (2012) Absence of canonical Smad signaling in the bladder and ureter mesenchyme causes UPJ obstruction Journal of American Society of Nephrology 23: 618-628.

Qiusha Guo, Piyush Tripathi, Edward Poyo, Yinqiu Wang, Paul F. Austin, Carlton M. Bates, Feng Chen (2011) Cell death serves as a single etiological cause for a wide spectrum of congenital urinary tract defects Journal of Urology 185, p2320-2328.

Yinqiu Wang, George Jarad, Piyush Tripathi, Minggui Pan, Jeanette Cunningham, Daniel R. Martin, Helen Liapis, Jeffrey H. Miner, and Feng Chen (2010) Activation of NFAT signaling in podocytes causes glomerulosclerosisJournal of American Society of Nephrology 21 (10): 1657. Epub July 2010.

Piyush Tripathi, Qiusha Guo, Yinqiu Wang, Matthew Coussens, Helen Liapis, Sanjay Jain, Michael R Kuehn, Mario R Capecchi, Feng Chen (2010) Midline Signaling Regulates Kidney Positioning but not Nephrogenesis through Shh  Developmental Biology 40(2):518-27. Epub 2010 Feb 10.

Feng Chen (2009) Genetic and developmental basis for urinary tract obstruction  Pediatric Nephrology 24 (9) 1621-32.

Song-Zhe Li, Bradley W. McDill, Paul A. Kovach, Li Ding, William Y. Go, Steffan N. Ho, Feng Chen. (2007) Coordinate regulation of AQP2 expression by the calcineurin-NFATc pathway and the TonEBP/NFAT5 osmotic stress response American Journal of Physiology Cell Physiology 292: C1606-C1616.

Bradley W. McDill, Song-Zhe Li, Paul A. Kovach, Li Ding, Feng Chen. (2006) Cph (congenital obstructive hydronephrosis) is caused by an S256L mutation in AQP2 that affects its phosphorylation and apical membrane incorporation Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 103:18, 6952-6957.

Chingpin Chang, Bradley W. McDill, Joel R. Neilson, Heidi E. Joist, Jonathan A. Epstein, Gerald R. Crabtree, Feng Chen. (2004) Calcineurin is Required in Urinary Tract Mesenchyme for the Development of the Pyeloureteral Peristaltic Machinery Journal of Clinical Investigation 113:7, 1051-1058. (Commentary on Journal of Clinical Investigation 2004 113: 957-959. Functional obstruction: the renal pelvis rules by Cathy Mendelsohn).