Jin Chen received his B.S. from Yale University in 2010, and his Ph.D. from Stanford University in 2015 with Jody Puglisi as a Stanford Interdisciplinary Graduate Fellow. He did his postdoctoral work with Jonathan Weissman at UCSF/HHMI as a Jane Coffin Childs postdoctoral fellow, and was awarded the NIH K99/R00 Pathway to Independence Award. In 2020, he joined the faculty at UT Southwestern in 2020 as an Endowed Scholar and CPRIT Scholar in the Cecil H. and Ida Green Center for Reproductive Biology Sciences (a center focused on gene regulation) and the Department of Pharmacology. In 2022, he was awarded the Searle Scholar Award (declined). 

The primary research interest of the Chen lab is to understand the emerging roles of the “unannotated genome,” which encodes a whole new class of uncharacterized microproteins. In particular, the lab focuses on the relevance and function of this “dark proteome” in regulating development and disease. More broadly, the major goal is to study how gene regulation is controlled at the translational level, and how translational control is misregulated in cancer and other disease contexts. The lab is exploring these mechanisms using a repertoire of interdisciplinary approaches, including CRISPR-based functional genomics, next generation deep-sequencing techniques, biophysical characterization, and bioinformatics.

Chen lab website 

Research Interest

  • CRISPR-based and single-cell functional genomics
  • Gene regulation in development and disease
  • Proteomic "dark matter" and novel proteins
  • RNA biology
  • Translational control


Featured Publications LegendFeatured Publications

Combinatorial single-cell CRISPR screens by direct guide RNA capture and targeted sequencing.
Replogle JM, Norman TM, Xu A, Hussmann JA, Chen J, Cogan JZ, Meer EJ, Terry JM, Riordan DP, Srinivas N, Fiddes IT, Arthur JG, Alvarado LJ, Pfeiffer KA, Mikkelsen TS, Weissman JS, Adamson B, Nature biotechnology 2020 Aug 38 8 954-961
Maf and Mafb control mouse pallial interneuron fate and maturation through neuropsychiatric disease gene regulation.
Pai EL, Chen J, Fazel Darbandi S, Cho FS, Chen J, Lindtner S, Chu JS, Paz JT, Vogt D, Paredes MF, Rubenstein JL, eLife 2020 May 9
Amino acid sequence repertoire of the bacterial proteome and the occurrence of untranslatable sequences.
Navon SP, Kornberg G, Chen J, Schwartzman T, Tsai A, Puglisi EV, Puglisi JD, Adir N, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 2016 06 113 26 7166-70
Multiple Parallel Pathways of Translation Initiation on the CrPV IRES.
Petrov A, Grosely R, Chen J, O'Leary SE, Puglisi JD, Molecular cell 2016 Apr 62 1 92-103

Honors & Awards

  • Searle Scholar Award (declined)
  • Cancer Prevention Research Institute of Texas First Time Faculty Recruitment Award
  • UT Southwestern Endowed Scholar
  • NIH Pathway to Independence Award (K99/R00)
  • Jane Coffin Childs Memorial Fund Postdoctoral Fellowship