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Research: Systems cancer biology and immunology, cancer therapeutic response, protein-protein interaction networks (interactomes), post-translational modifications, epigenetic regulation, signal transduction, disease marker discovery.

Professor of Biochemistry and Biophysics
Faculty Director, Quantitative Proteomics Center for Disease Marker Discovery
(PhD – Penn State University)

Trained Faculty Mentor endorsed by Office of Graduate Ed UNC Chapel HillHONORS & AWARDS

  • The 2001 Patent & Licensing Awards, Los Alamos National Lab, 2002
  • Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE), 1999
  • Department of Energy Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers, 1999


Our research focuses on both developments and applications of unconventional and transformative technology of systems biology, novel mass spectrometry-based proteomics and proteogenomics approaches in particular, to elucidate the molecular mechanisms underlying pathogenesis of various human diseases such as cancer, asthma, and immune disorders. We are interested in a broad range of signaling and epigenetic regulatory pathways/mechanisms underlying exactly how tumor cells escape from immune surveillance, but not limited to the Toll-like receptor (TLR)-mediated pathways and DNA damage response pathways. Our ultimate goal is to mechanistically derive novel, precise disease markers for early diagnosis and therapeutic intervention.

As the Director of Technology Development in UNC Proteomics Center, Dr. Chen has an innovative track record in developing an array of new proteomic and proteogenomic technologies for both discovery and clinical application in cancer biology and immunology. He is also the UNC PI of the NCI Clinical Proteomic Tumor Analysis Consortium (CPTAC). He has developed many novel MS-based quantitative proteomic methods; he invented amino acid-coded mass tagging (AACT) (a.k.a SILAC) that has unique strengths for comparative analysis of protein-protein interactions and post-translational protein modification. The Chen lab has demonstrated the unique strength of quantitative proteomics in dissecting and discovering new pathways involved in immune/inflammatory signaling and cancer epigenetic regulation.


complete publication list for Xian Chen


Xian Chen PhD featured on The Proteomics Show podcast “Road to Chicago” series (Dec. 2022)

Lab Contact

Lab Rooms: 3072 Genetic Medicine
Lab Phone: 919-966-7489
Fax: 919-966-2852
Xian Chen, PhD