Irene A. Chen is an associate professor in the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at the University of California, Los Angeles. Previously, she was an assistant and then associate professor at the University of California, Santa Barbara. She received a B.A. in chemistry and an M.D.-Ph.D. in biophysics from Harvard, advised by Jack Szostak, and was a Bauer Fellow in systems biology at Harvard. She has received the Searle Scholar award, NIH New Innovator award, the Camille Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar award, and the David White award for outstanding contribution in astrobiology. She has been a Simons Investigator for the Collaboration on the Origin of Life since 2013.


We are part of the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering and affiliates of the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry and the Molecular Biology Institute at UCLA.

Interested in joining? Prospective graduate students should apply through Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering (CBE), Chemistry and Biochemistry, or the Graduate Program in Biosciences at UCLA. Graduate student applicants to CBE are strongly encouraged to contact Irene Chen directly. Both PhD and MS tracks are available. Postdoctoral candidates should send a cover letter and CV and arrange for three letters of reference to be sent to Dr. Chen. Undergraduates interested in a long-term research commitment may send a cover letter, transcript, and CV by email to Dr. Chen.