Alan Chen

Brings RNA molecules to life through 3D computer simulation models.

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Alan Chen

Assistant Professor
College of Arts and Sciences
Department: RNA Institute

Molecular biophysics and computational chemistry; biomolecular computer simulations, RNA folding & structural biology; RNA-drug interactions

Campus phone: (518) 437-4420
Campus email:

Alan Chen, an assistant professor of chemistry, develops physics-based computer models to simulate the structure and function of RNA molecules. These technologies are crucial for deciphering RNA’s complex roles in biological systems as well as the design of RNA-based biosensors and potential therapeutic applications.

With RNA therapeutics playing a major role in fighting some of the most difficult human diseases, Chen’s research is imperative for industry scientists to be able to view accurate structural models.

Since joining in spring of 2014, Chen has published seven papers pertaining to simulating RNA for bio-sensing, synthetic biology, and mechanistic biochemistry applications– working closely with experimental collaborators at the RNA Institute. This work has been supported by grants from the PhRMA Foundation and by a Faculty Early Career Development Award from the National Science Foundation.

Chen received his Ph.D. in molecular biophysics in 2009 from Washington University in St. Louis. Chen subsequently completed postdoctoral studies in computational physics with Angel Garcia at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, supported by fellowship from the National Institutes of Health.