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Qiang "Shawn" Chen, PhD

Associate Professor

The Biodesign Institute, Infectious Diseases and Vaccinology

Associate Professor

College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, School of Life Sciences


West Nile Therapeutics project

Dr. Qiang "Shawn" Chen is a faculty member at the Center for Infectious Diseases and Vaccinology in the Biodesign Institute of ASU and at ASU's School of Life Sciences.

His research focuses on two areas of basic plant biology: gene expression and protein trafficking. The Chen Laboratory is interested in how gene expression is controlled in plants at the transcriptional and post-transcriptional levels as well as to identify and characterize new genetic elements that control gene expression. Another area of interest is to understand the regulation and mechanism of protein post-translational modification and assembly. 

The Chen Laboratory also wants to apply the knowledge learned in the above basic research area to plant biotechnology, specifically, to develop novel human biologics. His laboratory is interested primarily in optimizing the expression and assembly of monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) and in designing novel mAb fusion proteins to enhance their targeting and efficacy (e. g., West Nile Therapeutics project). Another area of his research is protein chemistry. His laboratory is intent on developing innovative protein separation technologies for processing human therapeutics from plants. In his capacity as the Director of ASU’s Laboratory for Plant Biotechnology and Pharmaceutical Research, he is interested in mentoring scientists and students to perform protein chemistry under FDA’s current Good Manufacture Practice regulations. 

He was a PMGI and NIH postdoctoral fellow at University of Minnesota. Dr. Chen spent more than 10 years in the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industry directing molecular biology and biochemistry research in both plant and mammalian cell culture systems.  Prior to joining ASU, he was the director of Division of Protein Chemistry at Cardinal Health.

Selected Publications


  • A Fulton, H. Lai; Q. Chen, C. Zhang. Purification of Monoclonal Antibody against Ebola GP1 Protein Expressed in Nicotiana benthamiana. Journal of Chromatography A (2015) Refereed Articles.
  • Qiang Chen. Plant-made vaccines against West Nile virus are potent, safe, and economically feasible. Biotechnology Journal (2015) Refereed Articles.


  • Chen Q*, Santi L and Zhang C. Plant-Made Biologics. BioMed Research International (2014) Refereed Articles.
  • He J, Lai H, M Engle, S gorlatov, C Gruber, H Steinkellner, M Diamond, Chen Q. Generation and analysis of novel plant-derived antibody-based therapeutic molecules against West Nile virus. PLOS ONE (2014) Refereed Articles.
  • He J, Peng L, Lai H, Hurtado J, Stahnke J, Chen Q. A plant-produced antigen elicits potent immune responses against West Nile virus in mice. Biomed Res Int (2014) Refereed Articles.
  • Lai H, He J, Hurtado J, Stahnke J, Fuchs A, Mehlhop E, Gorlatov S, Loos A, Diamond M, Chen Q. Structural and functional characterization of an anti-West Nile virus monoclonal antibody and its single-chain variant produced in glycoengineered plants. Plant Biotech J. (2014) Refereed Articles.
  • Qiang Chen and Huafang Lai. Gene Delivery into Plant Cells for Recombinant Protein Production. BioMed Research International (2014) Refereed Articles.
  • Qiang Chen and Huafang Lai, Qiang Chen and Huafang Lai. Plant-derived Pharmaceuticals: Principles and Applications for Developing Countries. Plant-derived Monoclonal Antibodies as Human Biologics for Infectious Disease and Cancer (2014) Book Chapters.


  • K Leuzinger, M Dent, J Hurtado, J Stahnke, H Lai, X Zhou, Q Chen. Efficient Agroinfiltration of Plants for High-level Transient Expression of Recombinant Proteins. Journal of visualized experiments: JoVE (2013) Refereed Articles.
  • Q Chen, H Lai, J Hurtado, J Stahnke, K Leuzinger, M Dent. Agroinfiltration as an Effective and Scalable Strategy of Gene Delivery for Production of Pharmaceutical Proteins. ATBM (2013) Refereed Articles.
  • Qiang Chen, Qiang Chen. Molecular Vaccines: From Prophylaxis to Therapy. Virus-like Particle Vaccines for Norovirus Gastroenteritis (2013) Book Chapters.


  • Chen Q. and Lai H. Plant-derived Virus-like Particles as Vaccines. Human Vaccines (2012) Refereed Articles.
  • He J, Lai H (co-first authors), Brock C, Chen Q*. A novel system for rapid and cost-effective production of detection and diagnostic reagents of West Nile virus in plants. J Biomed Biotechnol (2012) Refereed Articles.
  • Lai H, Chen Q. Bioprocessing of plant-derived virus-like particles of Norwalk virus capsid protein under current Good Manufacture Practice regulations. Plant Cell Reports (2012) Refereed Articles.


  • Beiquan Mou, Ralph Scorza, Qiang Chen. Transgenic Horticultural Crops: Challenges, and Opportunities --Essays by Experts. Expression and manufacture of pharmaceutical proteins in genetically engineered horticultural plants (2011) Book Chapters.
  • Chen, Qiang. Turning a new leaf. European BioPharmaceutical Review (2011) Refereed Articles.
  • Lai H, He J, Engle M, Diamond M, Chen Q. Robust production of virus-like particles and monoclonal antibodies with geminiviral replicon vectors in lettuce. Plant Biotech J (2011) Refereed Articles.
  • Phoolcharoen W, Bhoo S, Lai H. Ma J, Arntzen C, Chen Q*, Mason H. Expression of an immunogenic Ebola immune complex in Nicotiana benthamiana. Plant Biotech J (2011) Refereed Articles.
  • Phoolcharoen W, Dye J, Kilbourne J, Pratt W, Arntzen C, Chen Q, . Mason H, et al.. A non-replicating subunit vaccine protects mice against lethal Ebola virus challenge. PNAS (2011) Refereed Articles.


  • Chen Q, He J, Phoolcharoen W, Mason H. Geminiviral Vectors Based on Bean Yellow Dwarf Virus for Production of Vaccine Antigens and Monoclonal Antibodies in Plants. Human Vaccines (2010) Refereed Articles.
  • Huang Z, Phoolcharoen W, Lai H, Piensook K, Cardineau G, Zeitlin L, Whaley K, Arntzen C, Mason H, and Qiang Chen. High-level rapid production of full-size monoclonal antibodies in plants by a single-vector DNA replicon system. Biotech. and Bioeng (2010) Refereed Articles.
  • Kralovetz M. Mason H. and Chen Qiang. Norwalk Virus-like Particles as Vaccines. Expert Review of Vaccines (2010) Refereed Articles.
  • Lai H, Engle M, Fuchs A, Keller T, Johnson S, Gorlatov S, Diamond M, Chen Q*. A monoclonal antibody produced in plants efficiently treats West Nile virus infection in mice. PNAS (2010) Refereed Articles.


  • M. Levine, Chen Qiang, Tacket C, Mason H, Mor T, Cardineau G, Arntzen C.. New Generation Vaccines; Fourth Edition. Subunit Vaccines Produced Using Plant Biotechnology (2009) Book Chapters.
  • S. Slater, B. Goonder, .... Q. Chen, .... D. Wood. Genome Sequences of Three Agrobacterium Biovars Help Elucidate the Evolution of Multichromosome Genomes in Bacteria. Agrobacterium tumefaciens C58. J. Bact. (2009) Refereed Articles.
  • S. Slater, B. Goldman, B. Goodner, ....Q. Chen, W. Phoolcharoen, ......H. Zhu, D. Wood. Genome Sequences of Three Agrobacterium Biovars Elucidate the Evolution of Multi-Chromosome Genomes in Bacteria. Journal of Bacteriology (2009) Refereed Articles.
  • Zhong Huang, Qiang Chen, Brooke Hjelm, Charles Arntzen, Hugh Mason. A DNA replicon system for rapid high-level production of virus-like particles in plants. Biotechnology and Bioengineering (2009) Refereed Articles.


  • C Lico, Qiang Chen, L Santi. Viral Vectors for Production of Recombinant Proteins in Plants. Journal of Cellular Physiology (2008) Refereed Articles.
  • L Santi, L Batchelor, C Arntzen, Qiang Chen, H Mason. An efficient plant viral expression system generating orally immunogenic Norwalk virus-like particles. Vaccine (2008) Refereed Articles.
  • Qiang Chen. Expression and Purification of Pharmaceutical Proteins in Plants. Biological Engineering (2008) Refereed Articles.


  • C Arntzen, H Mason, Qiang Chen. Designing and delivering plant-based vaccines for the developing world. Plant Pathology (Petria) (2007) Refereed Articles.


  • S Buswell, Qiang Chen, K Van Cott, C Zhang. Expression of porcine prorelaxin in transgenic tobacco. Ann. N.Y. Acad. Sci (2005) Refereed Articles.


  • Qiang Chen, S Malhotra, N McMaster, BWS Sobral. Proteome Analysis of the Microsymbiont Sinorhizobium meliloti and Host Plant Medicago truncatula Provides a Global Perspective of the Nodulation Process. CSHM Genome Informatics (2003) Refereed Articles.

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