Assistant Professor Department of Biology

Dr. Xi Chen did his BSc in Experimental Medicine in Peking University Health Science Centre in Beijing, where he became interested in all the techniques used in biochemistry and molecular biology. After graduation, he joined Prof. Andrew Sharrocks’ lab at the University of Manchester as a PhD student, studying the DNA binding specificity of different Forkhead transcription factors. During that period, he discovered an evolutionarily conserved transcription factor complex that regulates G2/M cell cycle transition.


After completing his PhD, he joined Dr. Sarah Teichmann’s group at the EBI as a postdoc to investigate T helper cell 2 (Th2) differentiation from an epigenetic point of view. In 2016, the Teichmann lab moved to the Sanger Institute, and he became a Senior Staff Scientist in the lab. During that period, he was mainly working on techniques to interrogate the gene expression and epigenetic profiles at the single cell level. He developed a simple and robust way of performing scATAC-seq so that everybody can easily investigate chromatin accessibility at the single cell level.


In 2019, Dr. Xi Chen joined the Department of Biology in SUSTech, Shenzhen, China as an Assistant Professor. His lab study transcriptional regulation in cell fate decision and memory, with a particular focus on transcription factors and chromatin complex.

Personal Profile


(1) Gene regulations in cell fate decision and memory

(2) Single cell epigenomics

(3) Bioinformatics analysis on (epi)genomics data


We study the molecular mechanisms of transcription factors and chromatin complex during embryogenesis and cellular differentiation.

Publications Read More

Huang M, Wang Y, Yang M, Yan J, Yang H, Zhuang W, Xu Y, Koeffler HP, Lin DC, Chen X#. (2019) dbInDel: a database of enhancer-associated insertion and deletion variants by analysis of H3K27ac ChIP-Seq. Bioinformatics. pii: btz770.

Gao X*, Nowak-Imialek M*, Chen X*, Chen D, Herrmann D, Ruan D, Chen ACH, Eckersley-Maslin MA, Ahmad S, Lee YL, Kobayashi T, Ryan D, Zhong J, Zhu J, Wu J, Lan G, Petkov S, Yang J, Antunes L, Campos LS, Fu B, Wang S, Yong Y, Wang X, Xue SG, Ge L, Liu Z, Huang Y, Nie T, Li P, Wu D, Pei D, Zhang Y, Lu L, Yang F, Kimber SJ, Reik W, Zou X, Shang Z, Lai L, Surani A, Tam PPL, Ahmed A, Yeung WSB, Teichmann SA, Niemann H, Liu P. (2019) Establishment of porcine and human expanded potential stem cells. Nat Cell Biol. 21, 687-699.

Henriksson, J.*, Chen, X.*, Gomes, T., Ullah, U., and Meyer, K.B. (2019). Genome-wide CRISPR screens in T helper cells reveal pervasive cross-talk between activation and differentiation. Cell 176, 1–15.

Zhang, W.*, Chronis, C.*, Chen, X.*, Zhang, H., Spalinskas, R., Pardo, M., Chen, L., Wu, G., Zhu, Z., Yu, Y., et al. (2019). The BAF and PRC2 Complex Subunits Dpf2 and Eed Antagonistically Converge on Tbx3 to Control ESC Differentiation. Cell Stem Cell 24, 138–152.e8.

Chen, X., Miragaia, R.J., Natarajan, K.N., and Teichmann, S.A. (2018). A rapid and robust method for single cell chromatin accessibility profiling. Nat. Commun. 9, 5345.

Jia, G.*, Preussner, J.*, Chen, X.*, Guenther, S., Yuan, X., Yekelchyk, M., Kuenne, C., Looso, M., Zhou, Y., Teichmann, S., et al. (2018). Single cell RNA-seq and ATAC-seq analysis of cardiac progenitor cell transition states and lineage settlement. Nat. Commun. 9, 4877.

Hagai, T., Chen, X., Miragaia, R.J., Rostom, R., Gomes, T., Kunowska, N., Henriksson, J., Park, J.-E., Proserpio, V., Donati, G., et al. (2018). Gene expression variability across cells and species shapes innate immunity. Nature 563, 197–202.

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Welcome to the Department of Biology!

Since its establishment in 2012, the Department of Biology has attracted internationally renowned professors to join as leaders and dozens of young scientists to start their independent academic career here pursuit of excellence in research and teaching. The research interests of our faculty members include diverse topics such as systems biology, plant biology, neurobiology, structural biology and molecular cell biology. The primary goals of our faculty are to address the most significant fundamental biological questions and to develop new strategies to treat various complex diseases. Such efforts will benefit from the shared inter-disciplinary collaborative spirit deeply rooted in the minds of all the faculty members working in different departments at SUSTech.


Mentoring the next generation biologists with the highest standards is another primary task of the Department of Biology. Our professors choose internationally acclaimed textbooks to teach core courses biological sciences, biotechnology and bioinformatics. Undergraduates are encouraged to join the laboratory early to get firsthand working experience in basic and/or applied biological research, which helps them to consolidate the mastering of basic techniques, to broaden their knowledge horizons and to acquire the capabilities of problem identifying, hypothesis formulating and problem solving.


Life science, one of the fastest developing natural scientific disciplines, has been the driving force behind the growth of the world economy and provides the know for the development of new technologies serving to improve the human health and welfare at large. Wit generous financial support from the Shenzhen municipal government, we are confident that the Department of Biology in SUSTech will surely grow into a top tier globally-renowned research and teaching center!


Undergraduate Major:
Biological Sciences


Master & PhD degree program:

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