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Qing Chen, MD, PhD, Named Merit Award Recipient

Qing Chen, M.D., Ph.D., took a different path to research than most others.

Dr. Chen began her medical career as a clinician. “I knew I was helping people by treating their diseases, but I knew that to make a bigger impact we’d have to find a way to prevent or cure these diseases, especially cancer.”

That mindset brought her to the United States, where she earned her Ph.D. from Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo, N.Y., and continued her training at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in N.Y.C.

Dr. Chen originally promised her mom that she would return home to China but has since found a home here in Philadelphia – The Wistar Institute.

In 2015, Dr. Chen opened her own lab, focusing on the spread of cancer from primary tumors, such as breast cancer, to other areas of the body, specifically the brain.

“We are trying to determine how cancer cells communicate with their surroundings. The environment they’re in and the way they communicate is allowing them to spread,” said Dr. Chen. Her hope is that one day, communications can be cut off to slow or stop the disease.

Dr. Chen is thankful that Legacy of Hope was open to supporting her lab.

“New research and new labs can be considered ‘high risk.’ Without a record as a primary investigator,