Texas Tech University

Ethan Chen, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor
Biological Sciences

Email: kuachen@ttu.edu

Phone: (806)834-1808


  • Ph.D. in Biomedical Sciences, 2011, University of California Riverside
  • M.S. in Biotechnology, 2004, National Cheng Kung University, Taiwan
  • B.S. in Life Science, 2002, Tzu-Chi University, Taiwan


  • Assistant Professor, Texas Tech University (2022- present)
  • Assistant Professor, Delta State University (2020-2022)
  • Project Scientist, University of California Riverside (2016-2020)
  • Postdoc, University of California Riverside (2011-2016)
  • Research Assistant in Radiation oncology, Tzu-Chi Hospital (2004-2006)

Lab Website:


Chen, Ethan

Research Interests

Despite great strides being achieved recently in improving cancer patient prognosis and survival, hurdles still remain due to the presence of Tumor Stem Cells (TSCs). TSCs are rare immortal tumor cells exhibiting self-renewal properties as the normal stem cells and therefore having the ability to infinitely give rise to the bulk of a tumor as the "seed" of the cancer. TSCs are found in various types of human tumors. They are responsible for tumor metastasis and are equipped with various resistance mechanisms against most conventional tumor treatments. Thus, targeting and eliminating TSCs would hold great promises to tackle down the disease. We specifically study

—the molecular mechanism(s) how TSCs escape immune surveillance. This may include hormonal regulation, cytokine secretion, metabolic alteration and small RNA interference

—identification of novel therapeutic targets via omics data search

—sex differences in immune responses/development and its relevance to tumor immunity



  • Kuan-Hui Ethan Chen and Ameae M.Walker. Splice modulating oligomers as cancer therapeutics.Genes & Cancer, Volume 13, 2022: 46-48 (Editorial article)

  Under review

  • Farid Zia, Jacob Peter, Johnathan Hoover, Kuan-hui E. Chen, and Alex Flynt. Human 5'-tailed Mirtrons are Processed by RNaseP.
  • Yiling Chen, AKaychia T. Lowery, Samuel Lin, Ameaw W Walker, Kuan-Hui Ethan Chen. Tumor Cell-Derived Asymmetric Dimethylarginine Regulates Macrophage Functions and Polarization.


  • Kuan-Hui Ethan Chen*, Mrinal Ghosh, Lorena Rivera, Samuel Lin, Anil Kumar, Srividya Swaminathan, Mary Y. Lorenson, Ameae M. Walker*. Prolactin enhances T regulatory cell promotion of breast cancer through the long form prolactin receptor. Translational Oncology. Volume 14, Issue 11, November 2021, 101195. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tranon.2021.101195  * co-corresponding author
  • Chen KE*, Lainez NM*, Nair MG, Coss D. Visceral adipose tissue imparts peripheral macrophage influx into the hypothalamus. J Neuroinflammation. 2021 Jun 21;18(1):140. doi: 10.1186/s12974-021-02183-2. PubMed PMID: 34154608. * co-first authorship
  • Ghosh MK*, Chen KE*, Dill-Garlow R, Ma LJ, Yonezawa T, Itoh Y, Rivera L, Radecki KC, Wu QP, Arnold AP, Muller HK, Walker AM. Sex Differences in the Immune System Become Evident in the Perinatal Period in the Four Core Genotypes Mouse. Front Endocrinol (Lausanne). 2021;12:582614. doi: 10.3389/fendo.2021.582614. eCollection 2021. PubMed PMID: 34122327; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC8191418. * co-first authorship
  • Chen KE, Lainez NM, Coss D. Sex Differences in Macrophage Responses to Obesity-Mediated Changes Determine Migratory and Inflammatory Traits. J Immunol. 2021 Jan 1;206(1):141-153. doi: 10.4049/jimmunol.2000490. Epub 2020 Dec 2. PubMed PMID: 33268480.


  • Dill-Garlow R, Chen KE, Walker AM. Sex Differences in Mouse Popliteal Lymph Nodes. Sci Rep. 2019 Jan 30;9(1):965. doi: 10.1038/s41598-018-37175-5. PubMed PMID: 30700819; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC6354021.
  • Lorenson MY, Chen KE, Walker AM. Enzyme-linked oligonucleotide hybridization assay for direct oligo measurement in blood. Biol Methods Protoc. 2019;4(1):bpy014. doi: 10.1093/biomethods/bpy014. eCollection 2019. PubMed PMID: 32395619; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC7200967.


  • Lopez T, Chuan C, Ramirez A, Chen KE, Lorenson MY, Benitez C, Mustafa Z, Pham H, Sanchez R, Walker AM, Ge X. Epitope-specific affinity maturation improved stability of potent protease inhibitory antibodies. Biotechnol Bioeng. 2018 Nov;115(11):2673-2682. doi: 10.1002/bit.26814. Epub 2018 Sep 15. PubMed PMID: 30102763; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC6202216.
  • Chen KE, Chen C, Lopez T, Radecki KC, Bustamante K, Lorenson MY, Ge X, Walker AM. Use of a novel camelid-inspired human antibody demonstrates the importance of MMP-14 to cancer stem cell function in the metastatic process. Oncotarget. 2018 Jun 29;9(50):29431-29444. doi: 10.18632/oncotarget.25654. eCollection 2018 Jun 29. PubMed PMID: 30034628; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC6047671.


  • Chen KE, Bustamante K, Nguyen V, Walker AM. Involvement of miR-106b in tumorigenic actions of both prolactin and estradiol. Oncotarget. 2017 May 30;8(22):36368-36382. doi: 10.18632/oncotarget.16755. PubMed PMID: 28422740; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5482661.


  • Chen KE, Walker AM. Prolactin inhibits a major tumor-suppressive function of wild type BRCA1. Cancer Lett. 2016 Jun 1;375(2):293-302. doi: 10.1016/j.canlet.2016.03.007. Epub 2016 Mar 9. PubMed PMID: 26970274.
  • Chen KE, Walker AM. Emerging roles of prolactin-mediated BRCA1 function. Translational Cancer Research. 2016; doi: 10.21037/tcr.2016.08.43.


  • Yonezawa T, Chen KH, Ghosh MK, Rivera L, Dill R, Ma L, Villa PA, Kawaminami M, Walker AM. Anti-metastatic outcome of isoform-specific prolactin receptor targeting in breast cancer. Cancer Lett. 2015 Sep 28;366(1):84-92. doi: 10.1016/j.canlet.2015.06.010. Epub 2015 Jun 18. PubMed PMID: 26095602.
  • Huang KT, Tan D, Chen KE, Walker AM. Blockade of estrogen-stimulated proliferation by a constitutively-active prolactin receptor having lower expression in invasive ductal carcinoma. Cancer Lett. 2015 Mar 28;358(2):152-160. doi: 10.1016/j.canlet.2014.12.031. Epub 2014 Dec 16. PubMed PMID: 25527452.


  • Tan D, Chen KE, Deng C, Tang P, Huang J, Mansour T, Luben RA, Walker AM. An N-terminal splice variant of human Stat5a that interacts with different transcription factors is the dominant form expressed in invasive ductal carcinoma. Cancer Lett. 2014 Apr 28;346(1):148-57. doi: 10.1016/j.canlet.2013.12.030. Epub 2013 Dec 30. PubMed PMID: 24384092; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3959904.


  • Lorenson MY, Ueda EK, Chen KE, Walker AM. A major prolactin-binding complex on human milk fat globule membranes contains cyclophilins A and B: the complex is not the prolactin receptor. Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab. 2012 Mar 1;302(5):E585-94. doi: 10.1152/ajpendo.00480.2011. Epub 2011 Dec 28. PubMed PMID: 22205628.


  • Tan D, Chen KE, Khoo T, Walker AM. Prolactin increases survival and migration of ovarian cancer cells: importance of prolactin receptor type and therapeutic potential of S179D and G129R receptor antagonists. Cancer Lett. 2011 Nov 1;310(1):101-8. doi: 10.1016/j.canlet.2011.06.014. Epub 2011 Jun 25. PubMed PMID: 21775057.


  • Chen Y, Huang K, Chen KE, Walker AM. Prolactin and estradiol utilize distinct mechanisms to increase serine-118 phosphorylation and decrease levels of estrogen receptor alpha in T47D breast cancer cells. Breast Cancer Res Treat. 2010 Apr;120(2):369-77. doi: 10.1007/s10549-009-0400-7. Epub 2009 Apr 18. PubMed PMID: 19377875.


  • Deng C, Ueda E, Chen KE, Bula C, Norman AW, Luben RA, Walker AM. Prolactin blocks nuclear translocation of VDR by regulating its interaction with BRCA1 in osteosarcoma cells. Mol Endocrinol. 2009 Feb;23(2):226-36. doi: 10.1210/me.2008-0075. Epub 2008 Dec 12. PubMed PMID: 19074549; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5419306.

Department of Biological Sciences

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    Department of Biological Sciences, Texas Tech University, Box 43131 Lubbock, TX 79409
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