Quen Cheng

TITLE: Assistant Clinical Professor
EMAIL: quencheng@nullucla.edu
LAB WEBSITE: https://chenglab.dgsom.ucla.edu/pages/
Ph.D., UC Los Angeles (2020)
M.D., UC San Diego (2012)
B.A., UC Berkeley (2005)


As an infectious diseases physician-scientist, my research is motivated by the mysteries I encounter in my medical practice. One such conundrum is how the same infection can cause highly variable outcomes in different patients. One of the factors that determines infection severity is the “context” in which the immune system is operating. This context can include age, sex, chronic diseases, and importantly, also the recent exposure history of an immune cell. When innate immune cells such as macrophages are exposed to cytokines and pathogen-associated molecules their signaling networks and epigenetic states get re-wired. This reprogramming affects their response to a subsequent infection and may also lead to post-infectious immune dysfunction. My research examines the molecular mechanisms of macrophage reprogramming and how this relates to the variable outcomes of human infections.

Awards & Fellowships:

2022 – NIH-NIAID K08 career development award
2020 – UCLA CTSI KL2 career development award
Nov 2019 Invited speaker, NIH/NIAID Symposium on Innate Immune Memory
Oct 2018 UCLA Department of Medicine Research Symposium Poster Competition, 3rd place
Sep 2018 Research Innovator Award, Department of Medicine, UCLA
2015-current Fellowship for Specialized Training in Advanced Research (STAR), UCLA
May 2015 Outstanding Fellow Teaching Award, UCLA
July 2013 Commendation of Excellence in Medical Student Teaching, UCLA
Dec 2012 Commendation of Excellence in Medical Student Teaching, UCLA
Dec 2012 Commendation of Excellence in Patient Communication, UCLA
June 2012 Thomas E. Carew Prize for Cardiovascular Research
June 2012 Samuel B. Hamburger Memorial Thesis Award for Outstanding Research Project
Jan 2010 Award for Best Use of Literature, NIH Trainees’ Poster Session
April 2009 Awardee, NIH Short-Term Research Training Grant


1. NF-κB dynamics determine the stimulus specificity of epigenomic reprogramming in macrophages. Q.J. Cheng, Ohta, S., Sheu, K.M., Spreafico, R., Adelaja, A., Talor, B., Hoffmann, A. Science, 2018 June 18.

2. Type I and type II interferon modulate NFκB signaling via distinct mechanisms. EL Mercado, S Mitchell, J Ho, K Fortmann, A Adelaja, QJ Cheng, G Ghosh, A Hoffmann. Frontiers in Immunology, 2019 June 25.

3. Sequential conditioning-stimulation reveals distinct gene- and stimulus-specific effects of Type I and II IFN on human macrophage functions. Q Cheng, F Behzadi, S Sen, S Ohta, R Spreafico, R Teles, R Modlin, A Hoffmann. Scientific Reports, 2019 Mar 27.

4. Duodenoscope-related outbreak of a carbapenem-resistant Klebsiella pneumoniae identified using advanced molecular diagnostics. RM Humphries, S Yang, S Kim, VR Muthusamy, D Russell, A Trout, T Zaroda, QJ Cheng, G Aldrovandi, DZ Uslan, P Hemarajata, Z Rubin. Clin Infect Dis. 2017 Aug 8.

5. Probing chromatin landscape reveals roles of endocardial TBX20 in septation. CJ Boogerd, I Aneas, N Sakabe, RJ Dirschinger, QJ Cheng, B Zhou, J Chen, MA Nobrega, SM Evans. J Clin Invest. 2016 Jun 27.

6. Who provides primary care? An assessment of HIV patient and provider practices and preferences. QJ Cheng, EM Engelage, TR Grogan, JS Currier, RM Hoffman. J AIDS Clin Res. 2014 Nov; 5(11).

7. Characterization of a Y-Family DNA Polymerase eta from the Eukaryotic Thermophile Alvinella pompejana. S Kashiwagi, I Kuraoka, Y Fujiwara, K Hitomi, QJ Cheng, JO Fuss, DS Shin, C Masutani, JA Tainer, F Hanaoka, S Iwai. J. Nucleic Acids 2010, 701472.

8. XPD helicase structures and activities: insights into the cancer and aging phenotypes from XPD mutations. L Fan, JO Fuss, QJ Cheng, AS Arvai, M Hammel, VA Roberts, PK Cooper, JA Tainer. Cell 2008, 133:789.