Bioconjugate chemistry and the ACS Polymeric Materials: Science and Technology Division are proud to announce that Dr. Chunying Chen is the 2021 winner Bioconjugate chemistry Lectureship Award. This award recognizes the contributions of an individual who has exerted a great influence on the interface between the biological and the man-made world.
Dr. Chunying Chen will join a distinguished class of past recipients including Jason S. Lewis, Heather D. Maynard, Wolfgang J. Parak, Matthew B. Francis, and Xiaoyuan Chen. You can find out more about the previous winners here.
Chunying Chen received her bachelor’s degree in chemistry in 1991 and a PhD in chemistry. 1996 in Biomedical Engineering at Huazhong University of Science and Technology in China. From 1996 to 1998 she worked as a postdoc at the CAS Key Laboratory for Nuclear Analytical Techniques at the Institute for High Energy Physics of the Chinese Academy of Sciences. Since 2006, Professor and Group Leader of the National Center for Nanosciences and Technology in China. In 2018 she was elected Secretary General of the Asian Toxicological Society. She is also a Fellow of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering. from 2021 and the Royal Society of Chemistry in 2016.
Dr. Chen is one of the earliest researchers in the world in the fields of nano-bioanalysis, nano-safety, and biomedical applications. She has made a pioneering contribution and broad collaboration in basic research, focusing on the nano-bio interface to understand the biomedical activities of nanomaterials and a new strategy to improve nanomaterial-mediated theranostic applications such as malignant tumors and vaccine- Developed nanoadjuvants. She was recognized on the Clarivate ™ Highly Cited Researchers list for pharmacology and toxicology in 2014, 2017 and 2018. She has published six books and received over 30 patents.
What does it mean for you to receive this award?
It is an honor and an encouragement to me. I really appreciate the ACS recognition, but I know that I’m nothing without a team. Therefore, this award is not just for me, but for each of our team members, my former students and my co-workers. Thank you for all of your great contributions.
How did you first get interested in research into bioconjugate chemistry, specifically the interaction between nanoparticles and proteins?
In 2011, we discovered for the first time that carbon nanotubes quickly adsorb various proteins in the blood and can affect protein structures in the circulatory system, thereby reducing the biological toxicity of carbon nanotubes. Few people devoted themselves to this area at the time. In recent years, more scientists in the nanotechnology field have recognized the importance of the nano-protein interface. It is a good trend that more studies have focused on developing ultimate solutions to solve this fundamental scientific challenge.
How would you describe your research to someone working outside the field?
The nanoscale materials have unique physiochemical properties compared to the bulk solids and are widely used in thousands of products in our daily life, including health, medicine, food, cosmetics, etc. Our research tries to find out how the nanomaterials interact with the biosystems and whether these the effects caused by interactions are harmless to human health. These studies will provide adequate guidance to government, industry and consumers on how to better utilize nanomaterials in the near future.
What are you working on right now?
We are currently working to uncover the influence of the nanoparticle-protein interaction on the in vivo fate of nanoparticles. We have proposed a strategy that incorporates state-of-the-art multidisciplinary techniques such as: B. In situ characterization of the protein corona, methods of metabolic analysis, proteomics and simulation of molecular dynamics to study the entire in vivo metabolism and chemical transformation of nanomaterials. First, the unique protein corona-bridged transport-transformation bioavailability chain of nanomaterials was reported and the process and mechanism of bioavailability of nanomaterials with essential trace elements was demonstrated.
In your opinion, what is currently the greatest challenge in your research area?
Currently, the greatest challenge with the nano-bio-interface is the lack of advanced, accurate, and in-situ techniques for a deep understanding of the important nano-bio-interfaces that have emerged in intricate biological systems.
What progress do you hope to make in your area over the next ten years?
I hope that the deep understanding of nano-bio-interactions along the entire path of nanomaterials can be implemented in vivo. And safe-by-design approaches to the development and innovation of nanomaterials enable more and more theranostic applications to be transferred to clinical applications such as malignant tumors and vaccine nanoadjuvants in the future.