Wanjun Chen, MD

Senior Investigator

Mucosal Immunology Section


Building 30, Room 304
30 Convent Dr. MSC 4352
Bethesda MD 20892-4352



Research Topics

Dr. Wanjun Chen’s interest is elucidating mechanisms of immune tolerance, focusing on TGF-beta regulation of T-cell immunity and tolerance. Dr. Chen also studies the development and function of regulatory T cells. Dr. Chen and his colleagues investigate the differences between T-cell immunity and tolerance in animal models to understand the pathogenesis of autoimmunity and inflammation, cancer, and infectious disease. Their studies aim to lead to the development of potential immunotherapies for relevant human diseases.


Dr. Chen received his M.D. and M.S. in microbiology and immunology in China. His postdoctoral work was done in immunology at Harvard Medical School, Boston, Mass. In 2004, Dr. Chen became investigator and chief of the Mucosal Immunology Unit, Oral Infection and Immunity Branch, at NIDCR. In 2011, he become senior investigator and chief of the Mucosal Immunology Section at NIDCR. Dr. Chen has received numerous awards and honors, including Invited Speaker at the NIH Director’s Seminar Series, the Wang Ying-Lai Memorial Lecture, and the Scientific Achievement Award of the NIH Asian and Pacific Islander American Organization.

Selected Publications

  1. Chen W, Jin W, Hardegen N, Lei KJ, Li L, Marinos N, McGrady G, Wahl SM. Conversion of peripheral CD4+CD25- naive T cells to CD4+CD25+ regulatory T cells by TGF-beta induction of transcription factor Foxp3. J Exp Med. 2003;198(12):1875-86.
  2. Liu Y, Zhang P, Li J, Kulkarni AB, Perruche S, Chen W. A critical function for TGF-beta signaling in the development of natural CD4+CD25+Foxp3+ regulatory T cells. Nat Immunol. 2008;9(6):632-40.
  3. Zhang D, Chia C, Jiao X, Jin W, Kasagi S, Wu R, Konkel JE, Nakatsukasa H, Zanvit P, Goldberg N, Chen Q, Sun L, Chen ZJ, Chen W. D-mannose induces regulatory T cells and suppresses immunopathology. Nat Med. 2017;23(9):1036-1045.
  4. Xu J, Zanvit P, Hu L, Tseng PY, Liu N, Wang F, Liu O, Zhang D, Jin W, Guo N, Han Y, Yin J, Cain A, Hoon MA, Wang S, Chen W. The Cytokine TGF-β Induces Interleukin-31 Expression from Dermal Dendritic Cells to Activate Sensory Neurons and Stimulate Wound Itching. Immunity. 2020;53(2):371-383.e5.

Related Scientific Focus Areas

This page was last updated on Thursday, November 9, 2023