Associate Professor

Dr. Weiqin Chen

Phone: (706) 721-8706
Fax: (706) 721-7299
Office: CA-3094
Lab: CA-3093



  Learn more about Dr. Chen's Research

Education and Training

Nanjing Agricultural University, Nanjing CHINA: BS in Microbiology, 1995
China Agricultural University, Beijing CHINA: MS in Microbiology, 1999
Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI USA: PhD in Molecular Genetics, 2005

Professional Experience

2005-2010      Postdoctoral Associate, Endocrinology and Metabolism with Dr. Lawrence Chan, Department of Medicine, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston TX.

2010-2012       Instructor, Endocrinology and Metabolism, Diabetes and Endocrinology Research Center (DERC), Baylor College of Medicine, Houston TX.

2012-2018        Assistant Professor, Department of Physiology, Augusta University, Augusta GA.

2018-present   Associate Professor, Department of Physiology, Augusta University, Augusta GA.

Research Interests

Obesity and its associated health comorbidities are a worldwide epidemic with serious economic and health burden on society. Adipose tissue is an important endocrine organ that plays a key role in the development of obesity and various metabolic disorders. White adipocytes store excess energy in the form of triglycerides for future need. By contrast, brown and beige (browning-in-white) adipocytes metabolize lipid and glucose to produce heat in a process known as nonshivering thermogenesis, which is crucial in systemic energy homeostasis and thermoregulation. Functional brown and beige adipose tissues are highly correlated with body mass index in adult humans and is either reduced or absent in obese and aged individuals and rodents. The long-term research interest in the lab is to understand the regulation of white, beige and brown adipose tissue development and energy homeostasis, and use it to develop potential therapeutic approaches for obesity and related metabolic diseases. 

Current Projects

Current projects focus on identifying the function of a gene called BSCL2 in regulating the development and metabolic action of white, beige and brown adipose tissues. Mutations in human BSCL2 gene have been associated with type 2 Berardinelli-Seip Congenital Lipodystrophy (BSCL2), an autosomal recessive disease characterized by a near total absence of body fat from birth or early infancy. We have created animal models with which BSCl2 is deleted embryonically, or in a fat or brown fat specific manner, or only in mature white or brown adipocytes to study the crucial role of BSCL2 in controlling differentiation, metabolism and turnover of adipocytes. We also utilize a wide array of molecular, cellular, biochemical and metabolic approaches to identify the direct targets of BSCL2 and the mechanisms underlying the development of metabolic disorders in mice with adipose tissue dysfunction.

Technical Illustration of Metabolic Syndrome

honors and awards

2017 Outstanding Young Basic Science Faculty Award from MCG Faculty Senate

2013 RNA-Seq Grant, Augusta University Cancer Center

2013 Eugenia Rosenberg Travel Award, Endocrine Society

2008 Postdoctoral Fellowship, American Heart Associatio

2006 Mentor Based Postdoctoral Fellowship, American Diabetes Association

2004 DuVall Award (Excellent graduate student scholarship), Michigan State University

Representative Publications

(Go to Pub Med)

Tang J, Zhou H, Sahay K, Xu W, Yang J, Zhang W*, Chen W*. Obesity-associated Family with Sequence Similarity 13, Member A (FAM13A) is dispensable for adipose development and insulin sensitivity. Int. J Obesity (Lond). 2018 Oct 9. doi: 10.1038/s41366-018-0222-y. 

Xu W, Zhou H, Xuan H, Wang G*, Chen W*. Novel Metabolic Disorders and the Pathogenesis of Insulin Resistance in Skeletal Muscle of Lipodystrophic Bscl2/Seipin Deficient Mice. Mol. Cell. End. 2018; Aug 15. 411:207-13. PMID: 25958046.

Zhou H, Black SM, Benson TW, Weintraub NL, Chen W*. Berardinelli-Seip Congenital Lipodystrophy 2 (BSCL2)/SEIPIN is not required for Brown Adipogenesis but Regulates Brown Adipose Tissue Activation, Development and Function. Mol Cell Biol. 2016 Jul 14;36(15):2027-38. PMID: 27185876.
•    Spotlight article selected by the editor

Zhou H, Lei X, Benson T, Mintz J, Xu X, Harris RB, Weintraub NL, Wang X, Chen W*. Berardinelli-Seip congenital lipodystrophy 2 regulates adipocyte lipolysis, browning, and energy balance in adult animals. J Lipid Res. 2015 Oct;56(10):1912-25. PMID: 26269358. Highlighted in ASBMB Today, 2015; 14(10):11.

Lei X, Callaway M, Zhou H and Chen W*. Obesity associated Lyplal1 gene is regulated in diet induced obesity but not required for adipocyte differentiation. ‎Mol. Cell. End. 2015; Aug 15. 411:207-13. PMID: 25958046.

Chen W*, Zhou H, Saha, P, Li L and Chan L. Molecular mechanisms underlying fasting modulated liver insulin sensitivity and metabolism in male lipodystrophic Bscl2/Seipin-deficient mice. Endocrinology. 2014 Nov;155(11):4215-25. PMID: 25093462. 

Chen W*, Zhou H, Liu S, Fhaner CJ, Gross BC, et al. Altered Lipid Metabolism in Residual White Adipose Tissues of Bscl2 Deficient Mice. PloS ONE 2013 8(12): e82526. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0082526. PMID: 24358199.

Chen W, Chang B, Wu X, Li L, Sleeman M and Chan L. Inactivation of Plin4 downregulates Plin5 and reduces cardiac lipid accumulation in mice. Am. J. Physiol. Endocrinol. Metab. 2013 Apr;304(7):E770-9. 

Chen W, Chang B, Saha P, Hartig SM, Li L, Reddy VT, Yang Y, Yechoor V Mancini M, Chan L. Berardinelli-Seip Congenital Lipodystrophy-2 (BSCL2)/Seipin is a Cell Autonomous Regulator of Lipolysis Essential for Adipocyte Differentiation. Mol Cell Biol. 2012 Mar;32(6):1099-111.

Chen W, Chang B, Li L and Chan L. Pnpla3/adiponutrin deficiency in mice is not associated with fatty liver disease. Hepatology 2010 Sep; 52(3): 1134-42.

Comment by Farrell GC, Hepatology. 2010 Sep;52(3):818-21

Chen W, Yechoor VK, Chang BH, Li MV, March KL, Chan L. The Human Lipodystrophy Gene Product BSCL2/Seipin Plays a Key Role in Adipocyte Differentiation. Endocrinology 2009 Oct; 150(10): 4552-61.

 Dr. Chen's Faculty Profile

Link to Dr. Chen on PubMed


Xueping Wan
Postdoctoral Fellow

Cheng Xu
Postdoctoral Fellow

Hongyi Zhou, PhD
Assistant Research Scientist

Dr. Chen's Lab Personnel (2016)Pictured from left to right:  Dr. Hongyi Zhou, Wen-Qiong Xu, Dr. Weiqin Chen, Yun Yan, Jiazhen Tang (2016)

Recent Lab Personnel Achievements

Dr. Hongyi Zhou received an American Heart Assocation Career Development Award.