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Contact Information

Hsiao-Huei Chen, PhD

Hsiao-Huei Chen

Senior Scientist, Neuroscience Program
Ottawa Hospital Research Institute
Associate Professor, Medicine
University of Ottawa
Associate Professor (adj.), Department of Cellular and Molecular Medicine
University of Ottawa
Associate Professor (adj.), Graduate Program of Pathology and Experimental Medicine
University of Ottawa

Research Interests

The brain controls how much we eat, when we feel fed, and how our body uses the calories consumed. Modern fat-rich diet undermines this brain function and contributes to over-eating and obesity.  More than one third of Canadians are obese.  Obesity causes diabetes, elevating the risk of stroke and atherosclerosis. Anxiety affects 12% of Canadian population and anxiety disorders are prevalent in people with obesity-associated type 2 diabetes.  My laboratory is working to identify the common molecular links between metabolic disorders (diabetes and atherosclerosis), stroke and anxiety in order to develop common therapies to restore healthy brain function. 

Metabolic syndromes are tied to neurological disorders like schizophrenia and autism. We identified two new genetic models of these two disorders and are testing novel pharmacological interventions.

Brief Biography

Hsiao-Huei Chen, PhD, Senior Scientist & Associate Professor
 Ph.D.         Committee on Virology, University of Chicago, 1995
 BS.            Zoology, National Taiwan University, Taipei, Taiwan, 1989  

2012-present   Associate professor, Department of Medicine, University of Ottawa
2012-present   Associate professor, Department of Cellular and Molecular Medicine, University of Ottawa
2012-present   Associate professor, Graduate Program of Pathology and Experimental Medicine (PhD), University of Ottawa
2011-present   Senior Scientist/Principal Investigator, Neuroscience Division, Ottawa Hospital Research Institute, University of Ottawa
2009-present   Core committee member for the Neuroscience Graduate Studies Committee, University of Ottawa
2006-present   Member of the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies, University of Ottawa
2006-present   Assistant professor, Department of Cellular and Molecular Medicine, University of Ottawa
2005-present   Assistant professor, Department of Medicine, University of Ottawa
2005-present   Core member, Heart and Stroke Foundation of Ontario Centre for Stroke Recovery
2005-present   Scientist & Principal Investigator, Neuroscience Division, Ottawa Hospital Research Institute
2003-2004       Senior Research Associate, Cardiovascular Institute, University of Pittsburgh
1997-2003       Research Associate, Department of Neurobiology, University of Pittsburgh. 
1995-1996       Postdoctoral fellow, Department of Neurology, University of Pittsburgh.   

2014-2018       Mid-Career Award, Heart and Stroke Foundation of Ontario
2009-2014       New Investigator Award, Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada
2009-2014       New Investigator Award, Canadian Institutes of Health Research (declined to accept the NIA, HSFC)
2009-2014       Early Researcher Award, Ontario Ministry of Research and Innovation
2009                 Henry J. M. Barnett Research Scholarship award, The Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada 

1999-2002  National Research Service Award, National Institutes of Health (USA) (National Institute of Neurological Diseases and Stroke) 1997-2000 National Research Service Award, National Institutes of Health (USA) (National Heart, Lung, & Blood Institute) (terminated in 19999 for relocation)
1997-2000 Postdoctoral fellowship, American Heart Association (declined to accept the NRSA, NIH)

Selected Publications

* Corresponding author.
1. Hari A, Cruz SA, Qin Z, Couture P, Vilmundarson RO, Huang H, Stewart AFR, Chen HH*. IRF2BP2-deficient microglia block the anxiolytic effect of enhanced postnatal care. Scientific Reports. 2017, doi: 10.1038/s41598-017-10349-3
(Impact Factor = 4.8)

2. Cruz SA, Hari A, Qin Z, Couture P, Huang H, Lagace DC, Stewart AFR, Chen HH*. Loss of IRF2BP2 in Microglia Increases Inflammation and Functional Deficits after Focal Ischemic Brain Injury. Frontiers in Cellular Neuroscience. 2017 Jul 19;11:201. doi: 10.3389/fncel.2017.00201 (Impact Factor = 4.6)

3.  Almontashiri NA, Antoine A, Zhou X, Vilmundarson R, Zhang S, Hao K, Chen HH*, Stewart AFR*. 9p21.3 coronary artery disease risk variants disrupt TEAD transcription factor binding and TEAD-dependent TGFβ regulation of p16 expression in human aortic smooth muscle cells. Circulation. 2015 Nov 24;132(21):1969-78.
(Impact Factor = 19)

#  Editorial by MacRae CA, Pollak MR. Effect size does matter: the long road to mechanistic insight from genome wide association. Circulation, 2015 Oct 20. pii: CIRCULATIONAHA.115.019306.
(Impact Factor = 19)

4.  Chen HH*, Keyhanian K, Zhou X, Vilmundarson R, Almontashiri NA, Cruz SA, Pandey NR, Yap NL, Ho T, Stewart CA, Huang H, Hari A, Geoffrion M, McPherson R, Rayner K, Stewart AFR.  IRF2BP2 in macrophages controls inflammation and susceptibility to diet-induced obesity and atherosclerosis. Circulation Research. 2015;117:671-683. DOI: 10.1161/CIRCRESAHA.114.305777.        
(Impact Factor = 14) 

#   Featured as a Cover of the issue. Circulation Research. 2015;117 (September 25).

#   Editorial by Zhang H, Reilly MP. IRF2BP2: A New Player at the Crossroads of Inflammation and Lipid Metabolism. Circulation Research. 2015;117:656-658. DOI: 10.1161/CIRCRESAHA.115.307245.
(Impact Factor = 14) 

5.  Qin Z, Zhou X, Pandey NR, Vecchiarelli HA, Stewart CA, Zhang X, Lagace DC, Brunel JC, Béïque JC, Stewart AFR, Hill MN, Chen HH*.  Chronic Stress Induces Anxiety via an Amygdalar Intracellular Cascade that Impairs Endocannabinoid Signalling. Neuron. 2015  Mar 18;85(6):1319-1331. doi:10.1016/j.neuron.2015.02.015. Epub 2015 Mar 5.        
(Impact Factor = 16.4)

#   Featured & Reviewed in: Krishnan N, Tonks NK. Anxious moments for the protein tyrosine phosphatase PTP1B. Trends Neurosci. 2015 Jul 9. pii: S0166-2236(15)00151-4. doi: 10.1016/j.tins.2015.06.006. Epub ahead of print 
(Impact Factor = 15.6)

#   Editorial pick of  Science Signaling 2015 Mar 20, 8 (369), pp. ec68. http://stke.sciencemag.org/content/8/369/ec68.abstract
(Impact Factor = 6.3)     

6.  Chen HH, Stewart AFR. Making sense of GWAS: Integrating genetic variation with gene expression to derive functional mechanisms underlying disease risk. Circulation. 2015 Feb 10;131(6):519-21. Epub 2014 Dec 22.

(Impact Factor = 19)

7. Almontashiri NAM, Chen HH, Mailloux RJ, Tatsuta T, Teng ACT, Mahmoud AB, Ho T, Stewart NAS, Rippstein P, Harper ME, Roberts R, Christina Willenborg6 and Jeanette Erdmann6 for the CARDIoGRAM, consortium, Pastore A, McBride H, Langer T, Stewart AFR. SPG7 variant escapes phosphorylation-regulated processing by AFG3L2, elevates mitochondrial ROS and associates with multiple clinical phenotypes. Cell Reports. (2014) 7(3):834-47. 
(Impact Factor = 7.2)

8. Zaman T, Zhou X, Pandey NR, Qin Z, Keyhanian K, Wen K, Courtney R, Stewart AFR, Chen HH*. LMO4 is essential for paraventricular hypothalamic neuronal activity and calcium channel expression to prevent hyperphagia. Journal of Neuroscience. 34(1):140-8 (2014). 
(Impact Factor = 7.9)

9. Pandey NR, Zhou X, Qin Z, Zaman T, Gomez-Smith M, Kayhanin K, Anisman H, Brunel JM , Stewart AFR, Chen HH*. LMO4 is a metabolic responsive inhibitor of PTP1B that controls hypothalamic leptin signaling. Journal of Neuroscience. 33(31):12647-55 (2013). 
(Impact Factor = 7.9)

10. Qin Z, Zhou X, Gomez-Smith M, Pandey NR, Lee KF, Lagace DC, Béïque J-C, Chen HH*. LMO4 regulates calcium-induced calcium release and synaptic plasticity in the hippocampus. Journal of Neuroscience. 32(12):4271-83 (2012).
(Impact Factor = 7.9)

Diseases, conditions and populations of interest

Alzheimer's; Alzheimer's; Anxiety; Autism; Depression; Diabetes; Obesity; Schizophrenia; Stroke; Vascular, heart and metabolic disease

Research and clinical approaches

Basic research; Disease models; Gene expression; Molecular and cellular biology; Optogenetics; Transgenic/knockout models; Translational research