Shao-yu Chen, Ph.D.


Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology



Ph.D., Biochemistry, Fujian Agriculture and Forestry University (1991)

Research Areas and Special Projects

Dr. Chen’s research focuses on elucidating the cellular and molecular mechanisms of alcohol-induced birth defects. The Chen laboratory uses a combination of state-of-the-art approaches, including CRISPR/Cas9 and RNA-seq, which are integrated with human embryonic stem cells, brain organoids, and in vivo mouse and zebrafish models to elucidate the epigenetic mechanisms underlying Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD). Dr. Chen’s laboratory has successfully conducted innovative and pioneering research in various areas. These studies have provided important information regarding the mechanisms underlying alcohol-induced birth defects.  His research has also clearly shown the effectiveness of a number of agents, including antioxidants, epigenetic modulators, microRNA mimics, sulforaphane, and broccoli-derived exosome-like nanoparticles in the prevention of alcohol-induced apoptosis and structural abnormalities in embryos. These findings are expected to yield innovative strategies for the prevention of FASD and give hope that antioxidants, epigenetic modulators, microRNA mimics, sulforaphane, or edible plant-derived exosome-like nanoparticles could lessen the effects of prenatal alcohol exposure in the children of women who are unable to curtail their alcohol use while pregnant.