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Jun Chen, PhD

Jun Chen, PhD 
Associate Professor in Orthopaedic Surgery

Dr. Chen’s research is focused on intervertebral disc (IVD) cell biology and the biological basis for IVD degeneration and herniation. She has studied physical effects on IVD cells, cell-matrix interactions in the immature IVD, and rodent models of disc degeneration/herniation. Her team’s work has revealed the existence of distinct cellular phenotypes in the IVD and local matrix environmental factors that differentially contribute to aging- and degeneration-related pathology.

Dr. Chen is particularly interested in the study of the notochordal cell remnants present in the immature nucleus pulposus (NP), toward the goal of identifying factors that can promote IVD regeneration. A component of this work has been applying new knowledge gained to the study of stem cell-mediated regeneration, through the use of adipose-derived, umbilical cord-derived, and induced pluripotent stem cells. 

Current Projects

  • The morphological, cellular, and molecular phenotypes of the notochordal cell remnants present in immature nucleus pulposus (NP) cells
  • NP cell regeneration by stem cells with NP-favorable microenvironment
  • Inflammatory mediators and infiltrated immune cells in regulating unique IVD cell responses in immunophenotype of IVD pathologies

Selected Publications & Grants




  • Jun Chen, PhD, Principal Investigator
  • TBD, Research Technician II/ Research Analyst I
  • TBD, PhD, Postdoctoral Research Associate


The Chen Lab has an immediate position opening for an Research Tech II/Research Analyst I or Postdoctoral Research Associate to work with a multidisciplinary orthopaedic research group investigating the mechanisms for cartilage (intervertebral disc) matrix damage with aging, degeneration, and repair with the stem cell regeneration. Interested individuals should e-mail letter of interest along with a resume to Dr. Chen.


Medical Sciences Research Building I, 203 Research Drive, Room 355B
DUMC Box 3093, Durham, NC 27710