Department of Chemistry
A headshot of Xin Yan

Xin Yan
Assistant Professor

Department of Chemistry
Texas A&M University
College Station, TX 77843-3255

P: (979) 862-2142
F: (979) 845-4719

Researcher ID

Research Activities

At the Yan lab, we combine expertise in mass spectrometry, microdroplet chemistry, electrochemistry, and biology to develop novel approaches for disease diagnosis, structural lipidomics, and accelerated electrochemical reactions. In particular, we are motivated by the possibility of enabling new technology for next-generation approaches to precision medicine, and sustainable synthesis.

Our research interests span a range of topics, including (i) structural lipidomics: Altered lipid metabolism is currently considered a hallmark characteristic of many diseases. This has led to a demand for new technologies with a capability of revealing lipid composition with all levels of structural information. We aim to address the method deficiencies in structural analysis of lipid isomers using the unique electrochemical strategies; (ii) metabolomics in brain research: we couple dual imaging modality (mass spectrometry imaging and fluorescence imaging) with liquid chromatography mass spectrometry to discover biomarkers and elucidate their biological mechanism in brain aging and brain cancer research; (iii) interfacial electrochemical reactions: we developed the first interfacial microreactor to accelerate electrochemical reactions that are slow in bulk phase. The acceleration effect is associated with reactions occurring across the electrochemical solid/solution interface in combination with the accelerating solution/air interface. This feature is not found in conventional electrochemical cells. This allows us to cascade voltage-dependent electrochemical reactions in a single system to achieve versatile multi-functionalization; (iv) novel electrogenerated cationic transition-metal electrocatalysis: Cationic transition metals are powerful catalysts to possess a wide breadth of reactivities. We discovered that picomole-scale anodic corrosion of transition metal electrodes (such as Pd) in the electrospray could generate highly efficient cationic electrocatalysts without acid and metal additive. We incorporate the in situ generated cationic transition metal into an integrated mass spectrometric platform to enable the rapid discovery of transition metal catalysis.

This lab is a highly interdisciplinary research group. It provides students the opportunity to obtain hands-on experience in analytical, biological and synthetic chemistry.

Educational Background

Postdoctoral researcher, Stanford University (2018)

Ph.D. in Chemistry, Purdue University (2015)

M.S. in Health Sciences, Purdue University (2011)

Awards & Recognition

  • 2024 Sloan Research Fellowship
  • 2024 ACS Arthur F. Findeis Award for Achievements by a Young Analytical Scientist
  • 2023 IUPAC Emerging Innovator Award in Analytical Chemistry
  • 2023 Association of Former Students (AFS) College-Level Distinguished Achievement Teaching Award
  • 2023 ASCEND: Research Leadership Fellow
  • 2023 Okeanos-CAPA Young Investigator Award at the Chemistry & Biology Interface
  • 2022 NSF Faculty Early Career Development Program (CAREER) Award
  • 2022 Montague-Center for Teaching Excellence Scholar Award
  • 2022 Chinese American Society for Mass Spectrometry (CASMS) Young Investigator Award
  • 2021 NIH Maximizing Investigators' Research (MIRA) Award
  • 2021 American Society for Mass Spectrometry (ASMS) Research Award

Selected Publications

  • T. Yang, S. Tang, S. Kuo, D. Freitas, M. Edwards, H. Wang, Y. Sun, X. Yan. Lipid Mass Tags via Aziridination for Probing Isomeric Structures and Accurate Quantification. Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2022, 61, e202207098.
  • H. Cheng, T. Yang, M. Edwards, S. Tang, S. Xu, X. Yan, Picomole-Scale Transition Metal Electrocatalysis Screening Platform for Discovery of Mild C–C Coupling and C–H Arylation through in Situ Anodically Generated Cationic Pd, J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2022, 144, 1306–1312
  • H. Cheng, S. Tang, T. Yang, S. Xu, X. Yan, Accelerating Electrochemical Reactions in a Voltage-Controlled Interfacial Microreactor. Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2020, 59, 19862-19867
  • S. Tang, H. Cheng, X. Yan. On-Demand Electrochemical Epoxidation in Nano-Electrospray Ionization Mass Spectrometry to Locate Carbon-Carbon Double Bonds. Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2020, 59, 209-214.
  • D. Kuai, H. Cheng, K. Kuan, X. Yan, Accelerated Five-Component Spiro-Pyrrolidine Construction at The Air-Liquid Interface, Chem. Commun, 2021, 57, 3757-3760.