New investigator: Po-Jung Chen, DDS

Po-Jung Chen, DDS

This profile is part of a series to highlight the researchers who will be honored at a ceremony on Nov. 9 for UNMC’s Scientist Laureate, Research Leadership, Distinguished Scientist, New Investigator and Community Service to Research Award recipients.

New Investigator

The New Investigator Award is given to outstanding UNMC scientists who in the past two years have secured their first funding from the National Institutes of Health, the Department of Defense or other national sources. New investigators also had to demonstrate scholarly activity, such as publishing their research and/or presenting their findings at national conventions.

  • Name: Po-Jung Chen, DDS
  • Title: Assistant professor, growth and development department, UNMC College of Dentistry
  • Joined UNMC: May 2022
  • Hometown: Changhua, Taiwan

Please describe your research focus in three words or less: Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) biology, geroscience

Why is research important in the world today? Research improves human health, longevity and quality of life.

My research will make a difference because: Aging affects all organs and tissues of the body and leads to many diseases, including TMJ degeneration. TMJ degeneration significantly impairs quality of life by causing acute and chronic pain. Our research has been focusing on an effective approach to treat TMJ degeneration associated with old age. In the future, our study will likely establish proof of principle that senolytics slow down or even alleviate the degeneration of the osteochondral tissues of the TMJ with aging.

The best advice I’ve ever received is: Don’t be afraid to fail.

Three things you may not know about me are:

  • I love Hayao Miyazaki’s animation and music.
  • I like to cook, and I make pretty good Taiwanese dishes.
  • I love to travel.