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

  • NSF CAREER Award, 2022
  • NIH Maximizing Investigators' Research Award, 2021
  • American Society for Mass Spectrometry (ASMS) Research Award, 2021
  • M.G. Mellon Award in Analytical Chemistry, 2016
  • Thomas W Keough Graduate Scholar Award, 2015
  • Henry B. Hass Fellowship, 2014
  • 1st International Mass Spectrometry School Fellowship, 2013
  • Eastman Fellowship Award in Analytical Chemistry, 2013
  • Midwest Chapter of the Society of Cosmetic Chemists Scholarship, 2012
  • Purdue Ross Fellowship, 2011

Selected Publications

  • 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.
  • S. Tang, L. Fan, H. Cheng, X. Yan, Incorporating Electro-Epoxidation into Electrospray Ionization Mass Spectrometry for Simultaneous Analysis of Negatively and Positively Charged Unsaturated Glycerophospholipids. J. Am. Soc. Mass Spectrom. 2021, 32, 2288–2295