Chen, professor of Medicine and director of the Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine at Cedars-Sinai, is widely recognized as a leading authority in the field of lung injury and repair. Prior to joining Cedars-Sinai in 2013, Chen served as associate professor in the Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine at the University of Washington School of Medicine.
“I was happily surprised, humbled and excited to receive the honor of being named the Medallion Chair in Molecular Medicine," said Chen, who sees a connection between molecular medicine and his research. "A lot of my research involves basic science, such as trying to understand the fundamental pathways driving disease and disease physiology, which can lead to the development of novel therapies."
Paul W. Noble, MD, professor and chair of the Department of Medicine, director of the Women's Guild Lung Institute, and the Vera and Paul Guerin Family Distinguished Chair in Pulmonary Medicine, is an enthusiastic supporter of Chen's clinical skills and research prowess.
"Peter has been a tremendous addition to the Cedars-Sinai Department of Medicine since becoming the first division director I recruited eight years ago. He is a physician-scientist whose NIH-funded laboratory investigates mechanisms of acute lung injury and he has led the Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care to national prominence, including the division currently being ranked number three countrywide by U.S. News & World Report," Noble noted.
Chen's expertise has been especially evident during the pandemic.
"Peter's leadership during this incredibly challenging time has been nothing short of extraordinary. He has led from the front by not only directly caring for patients, but also by recruiting new faculty and conducting pioneering research published in The New England Journal of Medicine that resulted in therapies for patients suffering from COVID-19 pneumonia," said Noble. "We are enormously pleased to see Peter awarded the Medallion Chair."
Chen and colleagues also published a study in the journal Cell Reports that revealed immune system malfunctions in COVID-19 patients who develop respiratory failure.
Chen's COVID-19-focused research is ongoing, including a study exploring why some individuals don't develop the expected immune response from COVID-19 vaccines. He's also working to establish a biobank to house samples from COVID-19 patients and patients with other lung diseases, along with investigating various aspects of Crohn's disease fibrosis, lung injury and pulmonary fibrosis.
While the Medallion Chair will support Chen's research, he envisions additional benefits.
"The Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine Fellowship falls under my division, so I want to support fellows' academic endeavors and other activities that enrich their educational pursuits," he explained.