Chen Jit Ern

Head of Center

Head of Center
Jeffrey Sachs Center on Sustainable Development

 Associate Professor
School of Biological Sciences

Algal Biotechnology and Diversity, Coral-Zooxanthellae Climate Change Mitigation and Experimental Evolution


PhD in Plant Sciences, University of Cambridge; BA in Natural Sciences (Biological), University of Cambridge

Dr. Chen Jit Ern is  the Head of the Jeffrey Sachs Center on Sustainable Development and an Associate Professor in the School of Biological Sciences at Sunway University at Sunway University. His primary research interest is in the development and utilization of genetic engineering techniques and molecular tools on various microalgae, to study the underlying mechanisms for physiological traits such as lipid accumulation and heat tolerance. His previous Post-Doctoral position was in KAUST, Saudi Arabia, studying the potential for increased heat-tolerance in Zooxanthellae (Symbiodinium microadriaticum), the photosynthetic coral endosymbiont, native to the Red Sea. In the Master in Sustainability Development Management program (MSDM), Dr Chen teaches courses on Earth’s Climate System and on Biodiversity.

His current project in Sunway University is a continuation of this work, with a particular emphasis on the study of heat-activated Zooxanthellae retrotransposons retrotransposons and on experimental evolution of heat-tolerance in microalgae. His other projects include genetic engineering of the model green algae Chlamydomonas reinhardtii for protein production, the effects of algae auxins on the growth profile of the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana, and monitoring the biodiversity of plants and algae in Bandar Sunway.

He is also in charge of environmental monitoring of the lakes in Bandar Sunway, and advises Sunway Group on their sustainability initiatives



Current Projects: 
  1. Experimental evolution and retrotransposon-mediated genetic engineering of the coral endosymbiont alga Symbiodinium to develop increased tolerance to higher water temperatures.
  2. Chloroplast transformation of the model green algae, Chlamydomonas reinhardtii.
  3. ASEAN Green Future
Selected Publications: 




Sunway University, Malaysia

  • No. 5, Jalan Universiti,
    Bandar Sunway,
    47500 Selangor Darul Ehsan,
  • Phone: +6 (03) 7491 8622
  •  Fax: +6 (03) 5635 8630
  • Email: