Yingjia Chen

Graduate Student Excellence-in-Research Award 2020

Yingjia Chen, who graduated with a Ph.D. in toxicology in August 2019, is a postdoctoral associate in the Department of Medicine at Weill Cornell Medical College. She studies health impacts of the Western diet, which is characterized by high levels of glycation products from red meats, high-fat dairy and refined grains. Chen’s research shows that introducing food-derived proteins known as early glycation products (EGPs) into a mouse diet decreased the incidence of type 1 diabetes in mice and increased the survival rate of aged male mice with autoimmune prostatitis, strongly suggesting a potential application as “medical food.” She and her collaborators also showed that consumption of cellulose nanofibrils, which are used in food packaging and have potential use as non-caloric ingredients in foods, reduced the intestinal absorption of nutrients and resulted in negative health consequences.