Chen Zhao

Macrophages are a class of innate immune cells that play essential roles in the progression of a variety of major human diseases. My research project is to build multiscale computational models to mechanistically simulate and investigate the role of macrophages, especially their phenotypic polarization, in the regulation of blood vessel formation, inflammation and immune response in disease settings such as cancer and peripheral arterial disease. These data-driven computational platforms that I built were used to identify and evaluate novel therapeutic strategies, with the potential to improve disease outcomes in patients. My research adviser is Aleksander S. Popel, Ph.D., in the Department of Biomedical Engineering.

Questions & Answers

Why did you choose Johns Hopkins for your work?

Johns Hopkins has the best biomedical engineering program in the country and is particularly well known for its top-notch interdisciplinary research in biomedicine, which I believe is crucial for the training of future innovative biomedical engineers.

What does receiving this award mean to you personally and professionally? Do you have any connection with the particular award you received?

I am truly honored to receive this award, and I consider it an exciting acknowledgement that will motivate me to continue my future research in the field of translational systems biology with a focus on disease modeling and simulation.

What contributed to your project’s success?

The inspiring advice, encouragement and mentorship from my adviser, Dr. Popel, are definitely crucial to the success of my research projects. I am also very fortunate to be working with a group of amazing lab colleagues with diverse backgrounds and training, as well as several exceptional collaborators at other institutions. Last but not the least, I want to thank my family for their support, especially my wife, who always had my back throughout my entire Ph.D. journey.

What are your plans over the next year or so?

I will finish up my current projects and graduate, and I look forward to starting the next chapter of my career in the field of translational modeling and simulation soon.