Yin Chen, a scientist at the Hamner Institutes for Health Sciences, has won a $2.1 million federal grant to research potential means of treating lung disorders.

The grant from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the National Institutes of Health covers five years.

“Dr. Chen is an outstanding investigator making ground-breaking contributions to understanding the causes and potential treatments for debilitating chronic lung diseases such as asthma, COPD, and cystic fibrosis,” said William Greenlee, the Hamner’s chief executive officer.

“This major NIH award during a time of significant governmental budgetary constraints is a tangible recognition of both the strength and potential impact of Dr. Chen’s research program by his peers,” he added.

Chen is an assistant investigator in the Hamner’s Division of Translational Biology. His work led to the awarding of a U.S. patent for “Compositions and Methods for the Analysis of Mucin Gene Expression and Identification of Drugs Having the Ability to Inhibit Mucin Gene Expression.”

The focus of Chen’s work will be on production of mucous. Excessive mucous is a significant factor in chronic lung diseases such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and cystic fibrosis.

Chen received a doctorate in genetics at the University of California at Davis and a biochemistry degree at China’s Nanjing University. He is a former assistant biologist at the Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care at UC-Davis.