Dong Feng Chen

Dong Feng Chen

Associate Professor of Opthalmology
Dong Feng Chen
Dr. Chen is a neurobiologist focused on the studying of underlying causes of neurodegeneration and the development of neural enhancement and regenerative therapies for treating degenerative diseases of the eye and brain and reversing blindness. Using mouse genetic tools, Dr. Chen's laboratory was the first to show the full-length regeneration of the optic nerve from the eye into the brain in early postnatal mice. Their continued endeavors to the development of a neuroregenerative approach led to another discovery showing that neural stem cells with the capacity to give rise to neurons and glia are widely distributed in the adult brain and retina but are kept quiescent by inhibitory niche signals. Absence of the negative regulators of stem cell growth awakens adult neural stem cells from a dormant state and allows their reentry into the cell cycle and generation of new neurons. These findings identify novel pathways that regulate neuroregeneration and repair in the adult brain and retina and suggest the exciting possibility of restoring function and reversing blindness by reactivating endogenous regenerative potential of the CNS. Recent studies in Dr. Chen's laboratory has reported an unexpected link among neuron loss, commensal microflura and innate and adaptive immune responses in glaucoma, a leading cause of irreversible blindness worldwide. They have pioneered the basic research and application of immunotherapy for the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases in the eye.

Contact Information

The Schepens Eye Research Institute
20 Staniford Street

Boston, MA 2114
p: 617-912-7490