Five Things to Know About:
Dechen Lin

Dechen Lin portrait

John Hobbs MA '14


01 Feb 22

A FEW WEEKS AGO, Assistant Professor Dechen Lin joined the Trojan Dental Family as a researcher for Ostrow’s Center for Craniofacial Molecular Biology, coming to us from Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. Here are five more things to know about our newest scientific investigator: 


1. Lin completed his bachelor’s degree in biology before beginning his PhD studies in cell biology. It was during graduate school that he discovered his fascination with cancer research. 


“I felt the urgent need in the real world,” he says. “I was also fascinated by the basic biology of cancer cells. Plus, I enjoyed working with the best minds around the world.”


2. Lin was lured to USC by its stellar reputation for research.


“I was attracted by the scientific environment of the Center for Craniofacial Molecular Biology (CCMB) and Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center,” he says. “They are outstanding and highly conducive for the advancement of my cancer research.”


3. Lin’s lab will be busy developing models for esophageal and oral cancers. 


“We focus on developing faithful in vivo and in vitro models to better understand their biologies as well as their vulnerabilities,” Lin says. “My group also integrates advanced computational methodologies and cutting-edge genomic tools to strengthen these models.”



4. This is how Lin defines success as a cancer researcher.  


“Ultimately, I hope that my work can have a real impact on any aspect of cancer care, whether it is prevention, risk reduction, early diagnosis or cancer therapy,” he says. “If any of these elements comes to fruition because of my contribution, I would call my career successful.”


5. Lin is a family man who likes to spend time with his wife, Yuan Liu, and his two sons, 5-year-old Ethan and 3-year-old Jordan.


“During a typical weekend, we hike in the morning and have a picnic in the grass. Afterwards, usually kids will be in charge, and they dominate the rest of the time.”



Bonus: Though his work requires him to be innovative, open-minded and creative, he considers himself stubborn, conventional and old-school outside of the lab. 



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