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Shih, Jean Chen 陳景虹

Contact Information
University Professor
Boyd & Elsie Welin Professor
Cell & Neurobiology, Molecular Pharmacology and Toxicology
Keck School of Medicine, School of Pharmacy

Office: PSC 518
Phone: (323) 442-1441

Dr. Shih's research objectives are to understand the functions of monoamine neurotransmitters on transcriptional regulation of gene expression, signally transduction pathways and ultimately to behaviors. These studies will not only provide new knowledge on the molecular mechanisms of brain functions but also help us understand the molecular basis of mental disorders such as bipolar depression, schizophrenia, Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases. This information will be useful for designing novel therapeutic agents and early diagnosis of these diseases. Her research projects are focused on the regulation, structure and functions of monoamine oxidase isoenzymes and serotonin receptors. She is currently using DNA chips, proteomics and bioinformatic approaches to study the role of serotonin in the regulation of transcription factors and other gene expression in a series of MAO gene knock-out and transgenic mice, which exhibit different behaviors including anxiety and aggression. This information will be linked to human databases and help identify polymorphism and SNP in genes related to mental disorders.

Dr. Shih is a member of the NIH study sections (Psycho Clinical Biology, 1984-88; Neurobiology, 1990-94; NICHD Mental Retardation Committee, 1997-2001). She is also a member of the International Brain Research Committee of the National Academy of Sciences (1995-present). She is a current member and past president of the Society of Chinese Bioscientists in America.


  • Ph.D., University of California, Riverside/Los Angeles Joint Program, Biochemistry, 1968 
  • Postdoctoral Research Fellowship, University of California, Los Angeles, 1968-1970 
  • B.S., National Taiwan University, Taiwan, Biochemistry, 1964

Selected Publications:

  • Zhang Z, Chen K, Shih JC, Teng TC. Estrogen-related receptors stimulated MAO-B promoter activity is down regulated by estrogen receptors. Mol Endocrinol [2006] Feb 16. 
  • Chen K, Ou XM, Chen G, Choi SH, Shih JC. R1, a novel repressor of the human monoamine oxidase A. J Biol Chem [2005] Mar25; 280(12): 11552-9. 
  • Yeung Lam P, Chen K, Shih JC. The circadian rhythm of 5-HT biosynthetic and degradative enzymes in immortalized mouse neuroendocrine pineal cell line - a model for studying circadian rhythm. Life Sci [2004] Nov 5; 75(25): 3017-26. 
  • Shih JC, Chen K. Regulation of MAO-A and MAO-B gene expression. Curr Med Chem [2004] Aug; 11(15): 1995-2005. 
  • Chen K, Holschneider DP, Wu W, Rebrin I, Shih JC. A spontaneous point mutation produces monoamine oxidase A/B knock-out mice with greatly elevated monoamines and anxiety-like behavior. J Biol Chem [2004] Sep17; 279(38): 39645-52. 
  • Lee M, Chen K, Shih JC, Hiroi N.MAO-B knockout mice exhibit deficient habituation of locomotor activity but normal nicotine intake. Genes Brain Behav [2004] Aug; 3(4): 216-27.

Honors and Awards:

  • Two Research Scientist Awards and two MERIT awards from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), each providing a 10-year support to investigators whose research competence and productivity are distinctly superior and who are likely to continue to perform in an outstanding manner. The MERIT award is given to the top 1% investigators of the country.
  • Fellow of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology
  • Fellow of Academia Sinica, Taiwan
  • Volwiler Research Achievement Award from the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy (AACP)
  • Distinguish Series Kaiser Lecturer
  • USC Associates Award for Creativity in Research and Scholarship