Kevin Chen, MD

Kevin Chen, MD

Frances and Kenneth Eisenberg Emerging Scholar
Clinical Assistant Professor of Neurosurgery
Clinical Assistant Professor of Neurology
Neurosurgery & Stem Cell Therapy

Applying stem cell therapies to treat neurological diseases

Dr. Chen is a clinically practicing neurosurgeon with sub-specialty training in stereotactic/functional neurosurgery, which utilizes techniques to precisely target specific areas in the brain. His overarching goal is to use his clinical experience to inform his research, and in turn, bring discoveries from the laboratory to patients in the form of new and innovative therapies.

Stem cells are a particular focus of Dr. Chen's research, specifically induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS). These cells are created from tissue that is easily obtainable from patients, for example, skin cells, and quickly grown in a culture dish. By genetically reprogramming these cells, they revert back to a “stem cell” state and can then be formed into nerve cells to form new brain connections. Dr. Chen is studying how these connections may impact ALS, Alzheimer's, and other dementias. The ability to regulate nerve activity with new nerve connections could eventually also be applied to other neurodegenerative disorders, such as Parkinson’s disease, as well as other conditions, such as epilepsy, stroke, chronic pain, and psychiatric diseases.


  • BA, Neuroscience and Anthropology, Johns Hopkins University, 2007
  • MD, Duke University, 2011
  • Residency, Neurological Surgery, University of Michigan, 2011-18
  • Stereotactic/Functional Neurosurgery Fellowship, Stanford University, 2018-19

Honors & Awards

  • Alzheimer’s Association Clinician Scientist Fellowship, 2022
  • Julian T. Hoff Teaching Award, 2018
  • John C. McGillicuddy Leadership Award, 2018
  • Learning Environment Task Force Award, University of Michigan, 2017
  • NINDS R25 University of Michigan Clinical Neuroscientist Training Program, 2014-16
  • Resident Academic Achievement Award, University of Michigan, 2015
  • Dean's Scholarship, Duke University School of Medicine, 2007-10

Top Publications

Chen KS, McGinley LM, Mason SN, Rigan DM, Kwentus JF, Hayes JM, Reynolds EL, Murphy GG, Feldman EL: Monoclonal antibody-mediated immunosuppression enables long-term survival of transplanted human neural stem cells in mouse brain. Clin Transl Med. 2022 Sep;12(9):e1046. PMID: 36101963

McGinley LM, Willsey MS, Kashlan ON, Chen KS, Hayes JM, Bergin IL, Mason SN, Stebbins AW, Kwentus JF, Pacut C, Kollmer J, Sakowski SA, Bell CB, Chestek CA, Murphy GG, Patil PG, Feldman EL: Magnetic resonance imaging of human neural stem cells in rodent and primate brain. Stem Cells Transl Med. 2021 Jan;10(1):83-97. PMID: 32841522

Chen KS, McGinley LM, Bruno ES, Kashlan ON, Chang JS, Mendelson FE, Tabbey MA, Kashlan SR, Feldman EL: Targeted intraspinal injections to assess therapies in rodent models of neurological disorders. Nature Protocols Feb;14(2):331-349, 2019. PMID: 30610242

McGinley LM, Kashlan ON, Bruno ES, Chen KS, Hayes J, Kashlan SR, Raykin J, Johe K, Murphy GG, Feldman EL: Human neural stem cell transplantation improves cognition in a murine model of Alzheimer’s disease. Sci Rep Oct 3;8(1):14776, 2018. PMID: 30283042
Bentley JN, Khalsa A, Kobylarek M, Schroeder K, Chen KS, Bergin I, Tat D, Chestek C, Patil PG: A Simple, Inexpensive Method for Subcortical Stereotactic Targeting in Nonhuman Primates. J Neurosci Methods Jul 15;305:89-97, 2018. PMID: 29768185

McGinley LM, Kashlan ON, Chen KS, Bruno ES, Hayes JM, Backus C, Feldman S, Kashlan BN, Johe KT, Feldman EL: Human neural stem cell transplantation into the corpus callosum of Alzheimer's mice. Ann Clin Transl Neurol. Aug 18;4(10):749-755, 2017. PMID: 29046883