Evan Lien, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor, Department of Metabolism and Nutritional Programming

Areas of Expertise

Metabolism, cancer, tumor microenvironment, nutrition, lipid metabolism


Dr. Evan Lien studies the molecular and biochemical interactions between diet, metabolism and cancer with the goal of developing new prevention and treatment strategies. He earned his Ph.D. in biological and biomedical sciences from Harvard University under the mentorship of Alex Toker, Ph.D, where he studied how oncogenic PI3K signaling regulates cellular metabolism in breast cancer. Dr. Lien then joined the lab of Matthew G. Vander Heiden, M.D., Ph.D., at MIT’s Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research as a postdoctoral fellow. While there, he evaluated how dietary interventions, such as low glycemic diets, impact cancer metabolism, growth and response to therapy. Dr. Lien’s research into the genetic and environmental factors that regulate cancer cell metabolism have earned him numerous accolades, including a Damon Runyon Postdoctoral Fellowship and a National Cancer Institute K99/R00 grant — both highly competitive awards. In 2022, he joined Van Andel Institute’s Department of Metabolism and Nutritional Programming as an assistant professor.