Join us for the PMI Expressions series, where we will get to know the 2021 cohort of GSA Presidential Members.
Department of Neuroscience
The Scripps Research Institute
What is your current research?
My longstanding interest is to understand how brain development is shaped by genes and environment, and how these factors affect specific cell types to alter brain networks and function. My recent work focused on building technologies for scalable genetic screening to study the functions of risk genes in psychiatric disorders. This approach, termed in vivo Perturb-seq, helped identify diverse disease-associated mutations affecting convergent cell types and molecular pathways in autism and developmental delay.
In my own lab (starting Fall 2021), I will continue to invent genomic technologies for biological discoveries in brain development. Specifically, I will focus on studying the confluence of genes and sex-differential hormones during “critical periods” in early life. The combination of genes and hormonal physiology can mediate irreversible changes in brain development, which is not only an important basic scientific goal but also has broad translational potential for sex-biased psychiatric disorders such as autism. I am very excited about these new directions and want to shout out that if they sound interesting to you, please reach out as we will be hiring soon for all levels of scientists to join us!
What is your past research experience (if any)?
I was trained as a chemist, building chemical biology tools to allow live-cell fluorescent imaging and in vivo metabolic profiling. Aspiring to solve biological problems, I studied neuroscience in my PhD and established a behavioral paradigm to ask how early-life learning gives rise to life-long memory. I am grateful that these training experiences in both tool development and mechanistic neuroscience give me new angles and perspectives and inspire me to design and develop quantitative tools and approaches to study the brain.
How did you become interested in science?
I spent much of my childhood playing in a botany garden at the research institute where my grandpa worked. Encouraged by my grandpa, who is a taxonomist, I drew pictures of tropical plants and learned how to distinguish two species with slight differences. I could never forget the moment when I told grandpa with pride that I wanted to be just like Carl Linnaeus—to understand lives through taxonomy. Twenty years later I have clearly failed my dream to become a plant biologist. But many of these concepts remain central in my current research, to catalog and classify brain cells based on their transcriptomic similarities and hopefully to use these approaches to understand brain function as well as dysfunction.
What do you think is one major change that is needed to improve diversity, equity, and inclusion in the scientific enterprise? How do you plan to use your career to help make this change?
Presence is not inclusion; I think it is crucial to promote not only the presence of diversity in the communities but also make sure the underprivileged minorities have the same quality of experience to learn and to grow. As a soon-to-be lab head, I will be committed to mentoring qualified students and scholars from underprivileged and underrepresented backgrounds. I will reach out to them and offer to discuss their experiences for both academic and personal growth. By managing a friendly classroom and work environment, I will welcome students from diverse backgrounds, encourage them to speak in the discussions, and make proper changes to adapt the curriculum to serve the needs of all students to ensure everyone’s scientific and career success.
1. Jin X^, Simmons S, Guo A, Shetty AS, Ko M, Nguyen L, Robinson E, Oyler P, Curry N, Deangeli G, Lodato S, Levin JZ, Regev A^, Zhang F^, Arlotta P^. In vivo Perturb-Seq reveals neuronal and glial abnormalities associated with Autism risk genes. bioRxiv:791525 (2019) Science 2020.
2. Choi S, Zhang B, Ma S, Gonzalez-Celeiro M, Stein D, Jin X, Kim S, Kang Y-L, Besnard A, Rezza A, Grisanti L, Buenrostro J, Rendl M, Nahrendorf M, Sahay A, Hsu Y-C. Stress hormone corticosterone governs hair follicle stem cell quiescence by suppressing a dermal niche activator Gas6. Nature, in press.
3. Allen WE*, Altae-Tran H*, Briggs J*, Jin X*, McGee G*, Tedijanto C*, Raghavan R, Shi A, Kamariza M, Nova N, How We Feel Project, Zhang F, Lin X. Real-time, population-scale mapping of health, behavior, and sentiment during the COVID-19 pandemic. Nat Hum Behav 2020 4, 972-982.
4. Petchsung M, Jantarug K, Pattama A, Aphicho K, Suraritdechachai S, … Jin X, Gootenberg J, Abudayyeh O, Zhang F, Horthongkham N, Uttamapinant C. Sensitive and specific detection of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus in clinical COVID-19 samples with CRISPR diagnostics. Nat Biomed Eng 2020.
5. Qiu M*, Glass Z*, Chen J, Haas M, Jin X, Zhao X, Rui X, Ye Z, Li Y, Zhang F, Xu Q. Lipid nanoparticle-mediated delivery of Cas9 mRNA achieves organ-specific in vivo genome editing of Angptl3. PNAS, in press.
6. Liu H, Yang W, Wu T, Duan F, Soucy E, Jin X, Zhang Y. Cholinergic sensorimotor integration regulates olfactory steering. Neuron 2018, 97(2), 390-405. PMCID: PMC5773357.
7. Dennis EJ, Dobosiewicz M, Jin X, Duvall LB, Hartman PS, Bargmann CI, Vosshall LB. A natural variant and engineered mutation in a GPCR promote DEET resistance in C. elegans. Nature 2018; 562:119-23. PMID: 30258230.
8. Jin X, Pokala N, Bargmann CI. Distinct Circuits for the Formation and Retrieval of an Imprinted Olfactory Memory. Cell 2016; 164(4):632-43. PMID: 26871629.
9. Abrahamsson S, Ilic R, Wisniewski J, Mehl B, Yu L, Chen L, Davanco M, Oudjedi L, Fiche J.B., Hajj B, Jin X, Pulupa J, Cho C, Mir M, El Beheiry M, Darzacq X, Nollmann M, Dahan M, Wu C, Lionnet T, Liddle JA, Bargmann CI. Multifocus microscopy with precise color multi-phase diffractive optics applied in functional neuronal imaging. Biomedical optics express 2016; 7(3):855-69. PMCID: PMC4866461.
10. Jin X*, Uttamapinant C*, Ting AY. Synthesis of 7-aminocoumarin by Buchwald-Hartwig cross coupling for specific protein labeling in living cells. Chembiochem 2011; 12(1):65-70. PMCID: PMC4857190.
11. Long JZ, LaCava M, Jin X, Cravatt BF. An anatomical and temporal portrait of physiological substrates for fatty acid amide hydrolase. Journal of Lipid Research 2011; 52(2):337-44. PMCID: PMC3023554.
12. Long JZ, Jin X, Adibekian A, Li W, Cravatt BF. Characterization of tunable piperidine and piperazine carbamates as inhibitors of endocannabinoid hydrolases. Journal of Medicinal Chemistry 2010; 53(4):1830-42. PMCID: PMC2828288.
13. Long JZ, Nomura DK, Vann RE, Walentiny DM, Booker L, Jin X, Burston JJ, Sim-Selley LJ, Lichtman AH, Wiley JL, Cravatt BF. Dual blockade of FAAH and MAGL identifies behavioral processes regulated by endocannabinoid crosstalk in vivo. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA 2009; 106(48):20270-5. PMCID: PMC2787168.