College of Engineering

Research Seminar

Dr. Kong Chen, Co-Director of Metabolic Clinical Research Unit, NIH Clinical Center, National Institutes of Health

 A TN Tech engineer’s journey to  clinical research at the NIH

Thursday, April 15, 2021




Presented by Dr. Kong Chen, Senior Investigator and Chief of Energy Metabolism Section, Diabetes, Endocrinology, and Obesity Branch, Director of Human Energy & Body Weight Regulation Core, NIDDK Intramural Research Program, Co-Director of Metabolic Clinical Research Unit, NIH Clinical Center, National Institutes of Health.

Abstract: The National Institutes of Health is known to be one of the largest funding agencies for biomedical research programs around the world, it also has the largest research hospital dedicated to first-in-human and early clinical trials and explorative research in fundamental biological and physiological sciences. With a training in mechanical and biomedical engineering, Dr. Kong Chen will share his experiences in applying engineering principles to develop methodologies and studying health and disease from exercise to obesity, in aging populations and rare pediatric patients.  The talk will also highlight some training opportunities for future graduates and research fellows.

Download Seminar Flyer

About Dr. Chen: Kong was born in Nanjing China and moved to the US after graduating high school. He completed his BS training in mechanical engineering (Tennessee Technological University in 1993) and a PhD in biomedical engineering (Vanderbilt University in 1997). While at graduate school, he modernized an aging whole-room respiration chamber (designed to measure 24-hr energy expenditure in humans) and designed several portable wearable sensors to enhance the measurements of human energy expenditure for applications in clinical nutrition, drug interventions, exercise, and obesity research. Upon completing his PhD in 1997, Kong joined Vanderbilt University School of Medicine as one the youngest faculty member. During this time, he obtained several prestigious research grants, including two National Institutes of Health (NIH) R01 and a DOD grant, and served as group leaders in several center and program project grants. Kong also held joint appointments at the department of Surgery and the department of Biomedical Engineering.

In 2006, Kong was recruited by the NIH Intramural Research program to establish a comprehensive Metabolic Clinical Research Unit at the NIH Clinical Center in Bethesda Maryland. Today, as a tenured senior investigator and the Chief of the Energy Metabolism Section, he focuses in clinical and translational research in developing and using the state-of-art measurement systems for investigating the roles of energy metabolism and physical activity in body weight regulation and circadian physiology in health and disease (including COVID-19 “long-haulers”). Kong has collaborated with scientists all around the world, published over 130 peer-reviewed manuscripts, mentored over 40 students and young investigators, and given over 80 invited lectures.