Yen Chia Hsien, born in 1906 in Wuxian, Jiangsu province, graduated from University of Nanking with a bachelor of science in 1931. In 1933, Yen received a master of science from Yenching University. Yen then was enrolled in the University of Minnesota and received a doctorate degree in entomology in 1938.
After returning to China, Yen first served as a professor at Wuhan University and then Guangxi University. He also served as a supervisor at Guangxi provincial government. In 1940, Yen was in charge of establishing Fujian Provincial Agricultural College. In 1944, Yen served as dean of College of Agriculture at Fudan University. After 1949, Yen played an important role in establishing the Academy of Military Medical Sciences, and he served as dean of the department of entomology.