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. 

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

N(6)-methyladenosine in mRNA disrupts tRNA selection and translation-elongation dynamics.
Choi J, Ieong KW, Demirci H, Chen J, Petrov A, Prabhakar A, O'Leary SE, Dominissini D, Rechavi G, Soltis SM, Ehrenberg M, Puglisi JD, Nature structural & molecular biology 2016 Feb 23 2 110-5
The molecular choreography of protein synthesis: translational control, regulation, and pathways.
Chen J, Choi J, O'Leary SE, Prabhakar A, Petrov A, Grosely R, Puglisi EV, Puglisi JD, Quarterly reviews of biophysics 2016 Jan 49 e11
Kinetic pathway of 40S ribosomal subunit recruitment to hepatitis C virus internal ribosome entry site.
Fuchs G, Petrov AN, Marceau CD, Popov LM, Chen J, O'Leary SE, Wang R, Carette JE, Sarnow P, Puglisi JD, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 2015 Jan 112 2 319-25
Real-time observation of signal recognition particle binding to actively translating ribosomes.
Noriega TR, Chen J, Walter P, Puglisi JD, eLife 2014 Oct 3
Signal recognition particle-ribosome binding is sensitive to nascent chain length.
Noriega TR, Tsai A, Elvekrog MM, Petrov A, Neher SB, Chen J, Bradshaw N, Puglisi JD, Walter P, The Journal of biological chemistry 2014 Jul 289 28 19294-305
The dynamics of SecM-induced translational stalling.
Tsai A, Kornberg G, Johansson M, Chen J, Puglisi JD, Cell reports 2014 Jun 7 5 1521-1533
Sequence-dependent elongation dynamics on macrolide-bound ribosomes.
Johansson M, Chen J, Tsai A, Kornberg G, Puglisi JD, Cell reports 2014 Jun 7 5 1534-1546
Dynamic recognition of the mRNA cap by Saccharomyces cerevisiae eIF4E.
O'Leary SE, Petrov A, Chen J, Puglisi JD, Structure (London, England : 1993) 2013 Dec 21 12 2197-207
Unraveling the dynamics of ribosome translocation.
Chen J, Tsai A, O'Leary SE, Petrov A, Puglisi JD, Current opinion in structural biology 2012 Dec 22 6 804-14
Single-molecule analysis of translational dynamics.
Petrov A, Chen J, O'Leary S, Tsai A, Puglisi JD, Cold Spring Harbor perspectives in biology 2012 Sep 4 9 a011551

Honors & Awards

  • 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