Yiyin Erin Chen

Yiyin Erin Chen

Assistant Professor of Biology; Core Member, Broad Institute

Erin Chen studies how the microbes in our bodies educate our immune systems, in order to engineer microbial therapeutics for human disease.


  • Graduate: PhD, 2011, MIT; MD, 2013, Harvard Medical School
  • Undergraduate: BA, 2006, Biology, University of Chicago

Research Summary

Diverse commensal microbes colonize every surface of our bodies. We study the constant communication between these microbes and our immune system. We focus on our largest organ: the skin. By employing microbial genetics, immunologic approaches, and mouse models, we can dissect (1) the molecular signals used by microbes to educate our immune system and (2) how different microbial communities alter immune responses. Ultimately, we aim to harness these microbe-host interactions to engineer novel vaccines and therapeutics for human disease. The Chen lab will open in early 2023.


  • Howard Hughes Medical Institute Hanna H. Gray Fellow, 2018-2026
  • A.P. Giannini Postdoctoral Research Fellowship, 2018
  • Dermatology Foundation Research Fellowship, 2017

Key Publications

  1. Eliciting a potent antitumor immune response by expressing tumor antigens in a skin commensal. Chen Y.E., Bousbaine, D., Atabakhsh, K., Dimas, A, Zhao, A., Enright, N.J., Nagashima, K., Yu, V.K., Veinbachs, A., Belkaid, Y., and Fischbach, M.A. BioRxiv.
    doi: https://doi.org/10.1101/2021.02.17.431662
  2. Decoding commensal-host communication through genetic engineering of Staphylococcus epidermidis. Chen, Y.E., Bouladoux, N., Hurabielle, C., Mattke, A.M., Belkaid, Y., and Fischbach, M.A. BioRxiv .
    doi:: https://doi.org/10.1101/664656

Recent Publications

Photo credit: Brianna Williams