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Steven Feng Chen
Ph.D., Chair Professor
Director, Institute for Food & Bioresource Engineering,
College of Engineering, Peking University

Faculty in the News

Steven Chen attends international conference in applied phycology


Ph.D., Food & Biological Engineering, University of Queensland

M.Eng.Sc., Biochemical Engineering, University of Queensland

B.Sc., Microbiological Engineering, South China Institute of Technology

Research Areas

Microalgal Biotechnology, Functional Food, Bioresource Engineering, Biomolecular Engineering

Professional Honors and Awards

1. Academician of International Eurasian Academy of Sciences 2014

2. Fellow of International Academy of Food Science and Technology 2014

3. Fellow of Royal Society of Chemistry 2011

4. Plenary Award of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers 2010

5. "National Thousand Talents Programme" Award 2009

6. Elected Fellow of American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE) 2009

7. HKU Outstanding Young Researcher Award 2002-2003

8. HKU Outstanding Research Student Supervisor Award 2005-2006

Professional Activities

1. Associate Editor: Food & Function (Royal Society of Chemistry)

2. Editorial Board Member: Process Biochemistry (Elsevier)

3. Editorial Board Member: Journal of Applied Phycology (Springer)

4. Editorial Board Member: Biotechnology Letters (Springer)

Research Profile 

The Chen Laboratory has focused on the development of biological processes for the production of functional food and bioenergy by microalgae. In particular, we are interested in understanding the molecular mechanism of heterotrophic biosynthesis of microalgal metabolites(either primary or secondary), which may lead to a controllable process for manufacturing algal products on a large scale. In addition, we are also interested in natural products development as well as novel fermentation technologies and their underlying principles. Specific topics include:

1. Mechanism of heterotrophic growth of microalgae.

2. High cell density processes for microalgal cultivation in photoautotrophic, mixotrophic and heterotrophic growth.

3. Biofuels from microalgae– process design, optimization and genetic manipulation.

4. Mechanism of carbon dioxide capture and removal by microalgae.

5. Production of high-value algal products such as, astaxanthin, lutein, phycocyanin, long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids, bioactive proteins by metabolic engineering.

6. Novel fermentation technologies including bioreactor designs, high cell density techniques, mechanisms of substrate inhibition, downstream processing of fermentation products, and modelling of fermentation processes, etc.

7. Characterization of anti-cancer activities of bioactive compounds from natural products by proteomics.

8. Inhibitory effects and mechanisms of dietary polyphenolic compounds on the formation of toxic substances from Mailard reaction.

9. Natural products as reactive carbonyl scavengers to prevent formation of advanced glycationendproducts.

Selected Recent Publications (out of >200)

1. Zhong, Y.J., Huang, J.C., Liu, J., Li, Y., Jiang, Y., Xu, Z.F., Sandmann, G. &Chen, F.* (2011). Functional characterization of various algal carotenoid ketolases reveals that ketolatingzeaxanthin efficiently is essential for high production of astaxanthin in transgenic Arabidopsis. Journal of Experimental Botany (in press) (IF:4.745)

2. Liu, J., Huang, J.C., Fan, K.W.,Jiang, Y. &Chen, F. * (2011).Differential lipid and fatty acid profiles of photoautotrophic and heterotrophic Chlorella zofingiensis: Assessment of algal oils for biodiesel production. Bioresource Technology, 102, 106-110. (IF: 4.742)

3. Liu, J., Fan, K.W., Huang, J.C., Zhong, Y.J., Sun, Z., Jiang, Y. &Chen, F. * (2010). Production potential of Chlorella zofingiensis as a feedstock for biodiesel.Bioresource Technology, 101, 8658-8663. (IF: 4.742)

4. Peng, X.F.,Ma, J.Y.,Chao, J.F.,Chang, R.,Li, E., Chen, F.; Wang, M.F. (2010). Beneficial effects of cinnamon proanthocyanidins on theformation of specific advanced glycationendproducts andmethylglyoxal-induced impairment on glucose consumption.Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 58, 6692-6696. (IF: 3.051)

5. Liu, J., Zhong, Y.J., Sun, Z., Huang, J.C., Jiang, Y., Sandmann, G. &Chen, F.* (2010). One amino acid substitution in phytoenedesaturase makes Chlorella zofingiensis resist to norflurazon and enhance the biosynthesis of astaxanthin. Planta, 232, 61-67. (IF: 3.432)

6. Zeng, X.H., Cheng, K.W., Du, Y.G., Kong, R., Lo, C., Chu, I.K., Chen, F.& Wang, M.F. (2010). Activities of hydrocolloids as inhibitors of acrylamide formation in model systems and fried potato strips.Food Chemistry, 121, 424-428. (IF: 3.606)

7. Chen, G.Q., Xiang, W.Z., Lau, C.C., Peng, J., Qiu, J.W., Chen, F.& Jiang, Y. (2010). A comparative analysis of lipid and carotenoid composition of the gonads of Anthocidariscrassispina, Diademasetosum and Salmacissphaeroides.Food Chemistry, 120, 973-977. (IF: 3.606)

8. Sun, Z., Peng, X.F., Fan, K.W., Liu, J., Wang, M.F. &Chen, F.* (2010). Inhibitory effects of microalgal extracts on the formation of advanced glycationendproducts (AGEs). Food Chemistry, 120, 261-267. (IF: 3.606)

9. Huang, G.H., Chen, F.*, Wei, D., Zhang, X.W. & Chen, G. (2010). Biodiesel production by microalgal biotechnology.AppliedEnergy, 87, 38-46.(IF: 1.741)

10. Cheng, K.W., Wong, C.C., Wang, M., He, Q.Y., Chen, F.* (2010).Identification and characterization of molecular targets of natural products by mass spectrometer.Mass Spectrometry Reviews, 29, 126-155. (IF: 10.994)

11. Fan, K.W., Jiang, Y., Ho, L.T. &Chen, F.* (2009). Differentiation in fatty acid profiles of pigmented and non-pigmented Aurantiochytrium isolated from Hong Kong mangroves. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 57, 6334-6341. (IF: 3.051)

12. Huang, G.H., Chen, G. &Chen, F. (2009). Application of Nile red in rapid screening of enhanced lipid production in Chlorella.Biomass & Bioenergy, 33, 1386-1392. (IF: 4.098)

13. Xu, Y., Chiu, J.F., He, Q.Y. &Chen, F.* (2009). Tubeimoside-1 exerts cytotoxicity in HeLa cells through mitochondrial dysfunction and endoplasmic reticulum stress pathways. Journal of Proteome Research, 8, 1585-1593. (IF: 5.359)

14. Li, Y.T., Huang, J.C., Sandmann, G. &Chen, F.* (2008). High-light and sodium chloride stress differently regulate the biosynthesis of astaxanthin in Chlorella zofingiensis (Chlorophyceae). Journal of Phycology, 45, 635-641. (IF: 2.801)

15. Sun, N., Wang, Y., Huang, J.C. &Chen, F.* (2008). Sugar-based growth, astaxanthin accumulation and carotenogenic transcription of heterotrophic Chlorella zofingiensis (Chlorophyta).Process Biochemistry, 43, 1288-1292. (IF: 3.344)

16. Li, Y.T., Huang, J.C., Sandmann, G. &Chen, F.* (2008). Glucose sensing and the mitochondrial alternative pathway are involved in the regulation of astaxanthin biosynthesis in the dark-grown Chlorella zofingiensis (Chlorophyceae). Planta, 228, 735-743. (IF: 3.432)

17. Chen, G.Q., Jiang, Y. &Chen, F.* (2008). Salt-induced alterations in lipid composition of diatom Nitzshialaevis (Bacillariophyceae).Journal of Phycology, 44, 1309-1314. (IF: 2.801)

18. Wong, C.C., Wang, Y., Cheng, K.W., Chiu, J.F., He, Q.Y. &Chen, F.* (2008). Comparative proteomic analysis of indioside D-triggered cell death in HeLa cells.Journal of Proteome Research, 7, 2050-2058. (IF: 5.359)

19. Zhang, X.W., Yap, Y., Wei, D., Chen, G. &Chen, F. (2008). Novel omics technologies in nutrition research.Biotechnology Advances, 26, 169-176. (IF: 8.644)

20. Zhang,X.W., :Li, L., Wei, D., Yap, Y. &Chen, F.* (2007). Moving cancer diagnostics from bench to bedside.Trends in Biotechnology, 25, 166-173. (IF: 8.588)

21. Zhang,X.W., Wei, D., Yap, Y., Li, L., Guo, S.Y. &Chen, F.*(2007). Mass spectrometry-based “omics” technologies in cancer diagnostics.Mass Spectrometry Reviews, 26, 403-431. [Most cited article in the journal in 2007-2008]. (IF: 10.994)

22. Huang, J.C., Wang, Y., Sandmann, G., Chen, F.* (2006). Isolation and characterization of a carotenoid oxygenase gene from Chlorella zofingiensis(Chlorophyta).Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology, 71, 473-479. (IF: 3.264)

23. Huang, J.C., Chen, F.* &Sandmann G. (2006). Stress-related differential expression of multiple b-carotene ketolase genes in the unicellular green alga Haematococcuspluvialis.Journal of Biotechnology, 122, 176-185. (IF: 3.146)

24. Wang, S.B., Chen, F.*, Sommerfeld, M. & Hu, Q. (2005). Isolation and characterization of cell wall-deficient Haematococcuspluvialismutants.Proteomics, 5, 4839-4851. [featured in the cover of the journal].(IF: 5.041)

25.Chen, F.*, Li, H.B., Wong,R.N.S., Ji, B. &Jiang, Y.(2005). Isolation and purification of the bioactive carotenoid zeaxanthin from the microalga Microcystisaeruginosa by high-speed counter-current chromatography.Journal of Chromatography A, 1064, 183-186. (IF: 3.908)