Tan Kah Kee Young Scientist Award

 
Chemistry

Xing Chen was born in Longyan, Fujian Province in October 1980. He is currently a professor in the College of Chemistry and Molecular Engineering at Peking University, and also affiliated with Center for Life Sciences (CLS) and Synthetic and Functional Biomolecule Center (SFBC). Dr. Chen completed his bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Tsinghua University in 2002, and obtained his Ph.D. in chemistry from University of California, Berkeley in 2007. After postdoctoral research at Harvard Medical School, he joined the Peking University faculty as an assistant professor at Peking University. in September 2010. He was promoted directly to Full Professor with tenure in 2016. Dr. Chen was awarded National Science Fund for Distinguished Young Scholars in 2014 and appointed as a Distinguished Professor of Cheung Kong Scholars Program of Ministry of Education of China in 2019. His recent awards include CCS-RSC Young Chemist Award, ACS David Y. Gin New Investigator Award, and IGO Young Glycoscientist Award.

The research in the Chen group focuses on developing chemical tools and integrative technologies to elucidate the biological function of glycosylation, with an emphasis on in vivo labeling, visualization, and profiling of glycosylation dynamics. They are particularly interested in how glycosylation regulates the pathophysiology in the brain and of carbohydrate metabolism. Much of their research takes a highly interdisciplinary approach to tackle important questions related to human health and disease.

 
Chemical Labeling and Functional Elucidation of Glycans
 
Glycans, together with nucleic acids, proteins and lipids, are the four kinds of biomacromolecules in living cells. All cells are decorated with a dense layer of glycocalyx layer on their surface, which consists of various glycoproteins, glycolipids and proteoglycans. Cell-surface glycans mediate molecular recognition, which plays important functional roles in important biological processes including cell-cell communication and pathogen invasion. However, glycans are not directly encoded in the genome. Furthermore, glycosylation is dynamically regulated, resulting in highly complex glycan structures in the cells. It remains challenging to precisely label and regulate glycosylation by using traditional biotechniques. To address this challenge, the Xing Chen group focuses on “in vivo chemical labeling and functional elucidation of glycans” and has developed cell-selective and tissue-specific labeling strategies, which enable imaging and glycoproteomic profiling of glycosylation in living systems. By using these chemical tools, they have revealed important regulatory roles of glycosylation in physiological and pathological processes including cell migration, synaptic connection, tumor growth, and cardiac hypertrophy.
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