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  8. Huizhong Chen
  1. Science & Research (NCTR)

Huizhong Chen Ph.D.

Microbiologist — Division of Microbiology

Huizhong Chen
Huizhong Chen, Ph.D.

(870) 543-7121

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 About  |  Publications  |  Lab Member


Dr. Huizhong Chen studied microbiology at Shandong University, China and graduated with a Bachelor of Science. He then attended the graduate school at the same institution and earned an M.S. and Ph.D. in microbiology for work on biodegradation of plant materials by microorganisms. Dr. Chen accepted an assistant professor position at the Institute of Microbiology at Shandong University and then further advanced his career as a visiting scientist in the Institute of Biochemistry at the University of Graz. From 1991 to 2002, he was initially a postdoctoral fellow and then an assistant research professor at the University of Georgia. From 1998 to 2002, he was also a senior scientist at Aureozyme, Inc. Prior to joining NCTR, his research focused on understanding enzymatic hydrolysis of lignocellulose by microbial enzymes. Dr. Chen jointed the Division of Microbiology at NCTR as a research microbiologist in 2002. He received the Association for Science and Technology of Shandong Province (China) “Excellent Achievement Award in Natural Science” for converting cellulosic waste from paper mill to ethanol and the Education Committee of Shandong Province (China) Science and Technology “Achievement Award” for studying xylanase system from fungi. He received the FDA Commissioner’s “Special Citation Award” for furthering the mission of the FDA in protecting public health in 2010. In 2011 Dr. Chen received the NCTR “Director’s Award” for exceptional leadership in developing and conducting a research program to evaluate the impact of the effect of cosmetic products on human skin microbiota and in 2013 the NCTR “Scientific Achievement Award for Excellence in Research” to solve critical challenges related to food contaminants, women’s health, tobacco, and nanotechnology. Additionally, Dr. Chen has seven U.S. and international patents.

Research Interests

Lacking sterility assurance and contamination are the major risks to public health caused by drug compounding. Serious health problems and huge medical costs can be the consequence of inappropriate application of sporicidal agents. Bacterial endospores cause significant challenges for the pharmaceutical facilities because they are prevalent in the environment and intrinsically resistant to heat, desiccation, radiation, and chemical assault. Sporicidal activities are affected by many factors, like spore strain, quality of spore, organic load, carrier material, and contact time. False-positive sporicidal results could be observed due to ineffective neutralization method, inaccurate contact time, sporistatic effect, or bactericidal effect. Dr. Chen and his collaborators from other FDA centers are using a combination of current and traditional microbiological, toxicological, cell biological, and chemical techniques to elucidate and evaluate the effectiveness of sporicidal products and are setting up a database to support FDA regulation on sporicidal disinfectants.

Many different molecules are coproduced from food, drug, cosmetics, and xenobiotics by the host and its commensal microbiota. The changes in co-metabolites might indicate the commensal microbiome functional status in the host and, in turn, this functional status may potentially affect health conditions of the host. Dr. Chen is collaborating with scientists from NCTR and other FDA centers 1) to develop a new project to use metabolomics, next general sequencing, and immunology tools for functional assessment of commensal microbiota; 2) to find patterns of host-commensal microbiota co-metabolites; and 3) to link antibiotic resistance and mechanisms of xenobiotic metabolism to functional commensal microbiome.

Interactions between the microbiota and human host have implications for nutrition, infection, metabolism, toxicity, and cancer. There are potential risks that externally applied cosmetics containing nanoscale materials could impact the microbial ecology of the skin, which may affect human health by breaking the skin-permeability barrier which could encourage pathogen colonization and lead to an increased susceptibility to infection. Dr. Chen is collaborating with scientists from other FDA centers to examine the effects of nanoscale materials used in cosmetics and sunscreens on model microorganisms that are representative of the human skin microbiota to evaluate the potential risk of dermal exposure of nanomaterials to women’s health. He is using a combination of the most current microbiological, nanotechnological, cell biological, and omic techniques to elucidate the skin microbiota and host interactions in the presence of nanoscale materials used in cosmetics.

Professional Societies/National and International Groups

American Society for Microbiology
1992 – Present

European Federation of Biotechnology
1998 – Present

Selected Publications

Bile Acid Profile and Its Changes in Response to Cefoperazone Treatment in MR1 Deficient Mice.
Sun J., Cao Z., Smith A.D., Carlson P.E. Jr., Coryell M., Chen H., and Beger R.D.
Metabolites. 2020. 10(4):127. 

Smokeless Tobacco Impacts Oral Microbiota in a Syrian Golden Hamster Cheek Pouch Carcinogenesis Model.
Jin J., Guo L., VonTungeln L., Vanlandingham M., Cerniglia C., and Chen H.
Anaerobe. 2018, pii: S1075-9964(18)30095-7. [Epub ahead of print]

Mutation Network-Based Understanding of Pleiotropic and Epistatic Mutational Behavior of Enterococcus faecalis FMN-Dependent Azoreductase.
Sun J., Kweon O., Jin J., He G., Li X., Cerniglia C., and Chen H.
Biochem Biophys Rep. 2017, 12:240-244. eCollection 2017 Dec.

Evaluation of Metabolism of Azo Dyes and Their Effects on Staphylococcus aureus Metabolome.
Sun J. Jin J., Beger R., Cerniglia C., and Chen H.
J Ind Microbiol Biotechnol. 2017, 44(10):1471-1481. Epub 2017 Aug 7.

Metabolomics Evaluation of the Impact of Smokeless Tobacco Exposure on the Oral Bacterium Capnocytophaga sputigena.
Sun J., Jin J., Beger R., Cerniglia C., Yang M., and Chen H.
Toxicol In Vitro. 2016, 36:133-41.

Differential Gene Expression in Staphylococcus aureus Exposed to Orange II and Sudan III Azo Dyes.
Pan H., Xu J., Kweon O., Zou W., Feng J., He G., Cerniglia C. and Chen H.
J Ind Microbiol Biotechnol. 2015, 42(5):745-57.

A Comparison of Conventional Methods for the Quantification of Bacterial Cells After Exposure to Metal Oxide Nanoparticles.
Pan H., Zhang Y., He G., Katagori N., and Chen H.
BMC Microbiol. 2014, 14:222.

Detection of Benzalkonium Chloride Resistance in Community Environmental Isolates of Staphylococci.
He G., Landry M., Chen H., Thorpe C., Walsh D., Varela M., and Pan H.
J Med Microbiol. 2014, 63(Pt 5):735-41.

Identification of the Enzyme Responsible for N-Acetylation of Norfloxacin by Microbacterium sp. Strain 4N2-2.
Kim D., Feng J., Chen H., Kweon O., Gao Y., Yu L., Burrowes V., and Sutherland J.
Appl Environ Microbiol. 2013, 79(1):314-21.

Evaluation of Impact of Exposure of Sudan Azo Dyes and their Metabolites on Human Intestinal Bacteria.
Pan H., Feng J., He G., Cerniglia C., and Chen H.
Anaerobe. 2012, 18(4):445-53.

Probing the NADH- and Methyl Red-binding Site of a FMN-Dependent Azoreductase (AzoA) from Enterococcus faecalis.
Feng J., Kweon O., Xu H., Cerniglia C., and Chen H.
Arch Biochem Biophys. 2012, 520(2):99-107.

Toxicological Significance of Azo Dye Metabolism by Human Intestinal Microbiota.
Feng J., Cerniglia C., and Chen H.
Front Biosci (Elite Ed). 2012, 4:568-86.

EmmdR, a New Member of the MATE Family of Multidrug Transporters, Extrudes Quinolones from Enterobacter cloacae.
He G., Thorpe C., Walsh D., Crow R., Chen H., Kumar S., and Varela M.
Arch Microbiol. 2011, 193(10):759-65.

SugE, a New Member of the SMR Family of Transporters, Contributes to Antimicrobial Resistance in Enterobacter cloacae.
He G., Zhang C., Crow R., Thorpe C., Chen H., Kumar S., Tsuchiya T., and Varela M.
Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 2011, 55(8):3954-7.

Effects of Orange II and Sudan III Azo Dyes and Their Metabolites on Staphylococcus aureus.
Pan H., Feng J., Cerniglia C., and Chen H.
J Ind Microbiol Biotechnol. 2011, 38(10):1729-38.

Identification and Molecular Characterization of a Novel Flavin-Free NADPH Preferred Azoreductase Encoded by azoB in Pigmentiphaga Kullae K24.
Chen H., Feng J., Kweon O., Xu H., and Cerniglia C.
BMC Biochem. 2010, 11:13.

Sudan Azo Dyes and Para Red Degradation by Prevalent Bacteria of the Human Gastrointestinal Tract.
Xu H., Heinze T., Paine D., Cerniglia C., and Chen H.
Anaerobe. 2010, 16(2):114-9.

Metabolism of Azo Dyes by Human Skin Microbiota.
Stingley R., Zou W., Heinze T., Chen H., and Cerniglia C.
J Med Microbiol. 2010, 59(Pt 1):108-14.

Decolorization of Water and Oil-Soluble Azo Dyes by Lactobacillus Acidophilus and Lactobacillus Fermentum.
Chen H., Xu H., Heinze T.M., and Cerniglia C.
J Ind Microbiol Biotechnol. 2009, 36(12):1459-66.

Functional Role of Trp-105 of Enterococcus Faecalis Azoreductase (AzoA) as Resolved by Structural and Mutational Analysis.
Chen H., Xu H., Kweon O., Chen S., and Cerniglia C.
Microbiology. 2008, 154(Pt 9):2659-67.


Lab Member

Jinshan Jin, Ph.D.
Staff Fellow/Visiting Scientist
(870) 543-7121

Contact Information
Huizhong Chen
(870) 543-7121
Technology & Discipline
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