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Two Boston Children’s Hospital Researchers Elected to The American Academy of Arts & Sciences

BOSTON, MA (April 26, 2024) — Two researchers at Boston Children’s Hospital have been elected to The American Academy of Arts & Sciences, a society founded in 1780 that “honors excellence and convenes leaders from every field of human endeavor to examine new ideas, address issues of importance to the nation and the world, and work together to cultivate every art and science which may tend to advance the interest, honor, dignity, and happiness of a free, independent, and virtuous people.”

Chinfei Chen, MD, PhD, and Sun Hur, PhD, are two of only 250 individuals elected to the Academy in 2024.

Chinfei Chen, MD, PhD

Dr. Chen’s research is in the F.M. Kirby Neurobiology Center, Department of Neurology, on understanding plasticity, or how neural circuitry can change over time, in mammalian brains during development. Her lab is particularly interested in how plasticity influences the function of the thalamus, a part of the brain that processes sensory information. Dr. Chen’s team has found that changes to the thalamus's connectivity shape the transmitted data's nature.

Dr. Chen’s research provides insight into how disruptions of developing connections in the brain can lead to neurodevelopmental disorders such as autism spectrum disorders, intellectual disabilities, neuropsychiatric disorders, and epilepsy. Work from her lab has demonstrated that defects in experience-dependent plasticity underlie a subset of neurodevelopmental disorders.

Sun Hur, PhD

Hur’s research seeks to reveal the underlying principles of immunity by investigating two distinct immunological processes — antiviral immune response and T-cell development. Her Howard Hughes Medical Institute lab, within the Program in Cellular and Molecular Medicine, uses a combination of structural biology, biochemistry, and cell biology to study how the immune receptors detect viral infection and initiate protective immune responses. Additionally, her team investigates the regulatory mechanisms governing T-cell development to prevent autoimmunity.
Hur’s research has uncovered protein polymerization processes underlying these immunological functions. Her work has implications for enhancing our understanding of and developing treatments for viral infections, autoimmunity, auto-inflammatory diseases, and cancer.


Boston Children’s Hospital, a pediatric teaching affiliate of Harvard Medical School, is ranked among the best children’s hospitals in the nation, as well as top-ranked in every specialty by U.S. News & World Report. Home to the world’s largest research enterprise based at a pediatric medical center, its discoveries have benefited children and adults since 1869. Today, 3,000 researchers and scientific staff, including 11 members of the National Academy of Sciences, 28 members of the National Academy of Medicine, and nine Howard Hughes Medical Investigators, comprise Boston Children’s research community. Boston Children’s is a 485-bed comprehensive center for pediatric and adolescent health care. For more, visit our Answers blog and follow us on social media on Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, and YouTube.