New Faculty Profile: Guojun Chen

Towards Precision Medicine with Intelligent Biomaterials

Prof. Guojun Chen joined Biomedical Engineering as an Assistant Professor in December 2020. In partnership with the Rosalind & Morris Goodman Cancer Research Centre, his new research lab will focus Biomaterials & Devices for Cancer Immunotherapy and Genome-Editing.

We sat down with Prof. Chen to learn more about his research and what attracted him to McGill BME:

Q: Why did you choose to join McGill University?

It is my greatest honour to join McGill University, one of the world’s most prestigious research-intensive educational institutions. It has a diverse student body and a world-class renowned faculty. Particularly, the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences at McGill is Canada's oldest and best known medical school, and I believe many collaboration opportunities with clinicians, surgeons, and biologists are here for me to do exciting translational research together.

Q: Why Biomedical Engineering?

My training background is very multidisciplinary, covering Chemistry (B.S.), Materials Science (M.S. and Ph.D.), and Bioengineering (postdoc). Biomedical Engineering Department is a dream home for me to continue working on multi/interdisciplinary research and have opportunities to interact with researchers and students with different expertise.

Q: What is your research focus? (If you had to explain it your non-scientist uncle)

My research focuses on developing devices and materials to tackle diseases more efficiently and precisely, such as cancer, diabetes, and genetic disorders. For example, I am interested in engineering smart delivery systems that can transport drugs to disease sites and release drugs as needed.

Q: What are the practical implications of your research?

My laboratory centers on leveraging biomedical strategies to address critical medical needs, with an ultimate goal of precision and personalized medicine. I am hoping the technologies developed in my lab could potentially bring benefits to patients and enhance people’s quality of life.

Q: What is your ‘holy grail’?

As a researcher in the field of drug delivery and also like many researchers in this field, we believe we could make significant contributions to the cure of diseases.

Q: What is the most challenging part of your research?

I guess the most challenging part comes from the multidisciplinary nature of my research. It covers aspects ranging from chemistry, physics, materials science, and biology. In particular, my research is disease-driven. It means the first and foremost point would be to deeply understand the nature of the disease, which requires a bioengineer and chemist to have a strong background in biology and life sciences as well.

Q: How is the McGill experience helping you to pursue your goals?

I am lucky to be a member of both Biomedical Engineering and the Rosalind & Morris Goodman Cancer Research Centre. Although it is not “perfect” to start my academic career during this crazy pandemic time, I am sincerely grateful to have full support from both sides and my mentors. It is also a very collaborative environment, and I am extremely excited to do wonderful things together.

Q: What is the most rewarding part of your job?

It comes from both research and students. From the research side, I am proud to be actively engaged in research that can potentially benefit people. In terms of student training, the success of each student is of paramount importance to me. it is always delightful to help students develop their particular talents and potential, and to witness their progress along the way.

Q: Why would you recommend students or other faculty to join BME?

Biomedical engineering literally is applying engineering knowledge and skills to address biological and medical problems. It is a relatively newly developing field, but it also means plenty of opportunities to delve into the unknown to develop cutting-edge technologies. The opportunities available within the field of biomedical engineering are endless.

Q: If you could tell the world one thing about McGill BME, what would it be?

McGill BME in the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences is the first biomedical engineering department in Canada. It is leading excellence in research and training the next generation of biomedical engineers, for better health outcomes.

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