National Academy of Inventors honors Chen for his work to pioneer cures for heart attacks, liver disease, and more

By Andrew Thurston

Imagine a future where we can build replacement organs as easily as tech companies churn out new phones. Or where a heart attack can be cured with a simple patch. Or where liver failure can be reversed with a supercharged tissue implant.

They might sound like ideas pulled straight from a sci-fi movie, but this future is closer than you think—thanks to Professor Christopher Chen (BME). A Boston University biomedical engineer, Chen was recently named a National Academy of Inventors Fellow in recognition of a career filled with patents and inventions—many building toward those potentially life-saving breakthroughs.

In just the past year, Chen has cofounded a regenerative medicine company—securing $110 million in funding to boost its organ-healing technology—and helped build a miniature beating heart that could speed efforts to repair damage from a heart attack.

To be nominated for an NAI fellowship, inventors must have a track record of “outstanding contributions to innovation” and be a named inventor on patents. Chen checks those boxes. His nearly 300 papers have been cited by other researchers more than 65,000 times and he’s filed 31 patents. A medical doctor, Chen also has a PhD in medical engineering and medical physics—dual influences that have been interwoven through his research career.

“This honor means a great deal to me—as an engineer and physician, I have always sought to find new ways to address important unmet needs, and it is validating that the NAI recognizes that work,” says Chen, a BU William F. Warren Distinguished Professor.

For the full story, visit BU’s The Brink.