MassGeneral Institute for Neurodegenerative Disease

Translating today's discoveries into tomorrow's cures

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Chen, Xiqun, MD, PhD

Assistant Professor of Neurology, Harvard Medical School
Assistant in Neuroscience, Massachusetts General Hospital 

Office Phone: 617-643-7215
FAX: 617-724-1823
Lab Address: 114 16th Street, Room 3003
Email: XCHEN17@mgh.harvard.edu

Affiliations

Trained in clinical and basic neuroscience, Xiqun Chen studies the molecular biology of neurodegeneration in Parkinson’s disease (PD) and related disorders. Working with collaborators at MGH, the Harvard School of Public Health, and overseas, Chen’s group is pursuing the biological basis of the epidemiological link between PD and melanoma.  Studies have shown that Parkinson’s patients have a higher incidence of melanoma, and that melanoma patients have a higher risk of developing PD. Chen is investigating the role of melanoma risk genes in mouse models of PD and in patients, and the possible interactions of melanoma risk genes with PD risk genes. Her belief is that understanding the commonalities of the two diseases will reveal new therapeutic targets for PD as well as melanoma. In addition, Chen has been examining how increased concentrations of uric acid protect people from developing PD, as observed in epidemiological studies. She characterized mouse models with altered uric acid metabolism, and showed that uric acid is neuroprotective for the dopaminergic neurons that are lost in PD. Her work supports the ongoing clinical development of uric acid-elevating strategies to treat PD. 

Biography 

Dr. Chen received her MD at Anhui Medical University and PhD from Shanghai Medical College of Fudan University, both in China. After fellowships in neurology and neurosurgery in China, she did postdoctoral work at Columbia University. Chen came to MGH in 2009 and was promoted to Assistant Professor of Neurology in 2014.