Prof. Qin received his B.S. in Physics from Peking University (Beijing, China) and Ph.D. in Biophysics from Columbia University (New York, NY). After postdoctoral training at UCLA, he started his independent career at USC Department of Chemistry in 2002, rising through the rank to Full Professor. At USC, Prof. Qin’s research focuses on understanding mechanisms of specific nucleic acid recognition that informs genome engineering as well as diagnostic and therapeutic developments. Prof. Qin has spearheaded the development and application of a biophysical technique, site-directed spin labeling, for investigating structure and dynamics of nucleic acids and protein-nucleic acid complexes. He has developed new spin-labeling methods for studying nucleic acids in bulk solutions and at the single-molecule level, and applied these tools to acquire unique information difficult to obtain with other techniques. Current projects in the Qin lab use a combination of spin labeling, fluorescence, enzymology, and bioinformatics to understand mechanisms of DNA discrimination by CRISPR nucleases that have revolutionized genome engineering. Prof. Qin was a recipient of the NSF Career Award, and has been funded by federal agencies including NSF and NIH. As part of his services to the broader scientific community, Prof. Qin has co-edited Elsevier’s Methods in Enzymology Vol. 563 & 564, entitled “Investigations of Biological Systems by Using Spin Labels, Spin Probes, and Intrinsic Metal Ions”. He is currently serving as the Treasurer and an Executive Board member of the International EPR(ESR) Society.
- Ph.D. Biophysics, Columbia University, 1/1999
- B.S. Physics, Peking University, China, 7/1991
- Postdoctoral Research Fellow, UCLA, 02/1999-07/2002
Tenure Track Appointments
- Professor, Department of Chemistry, University of Southern California, 10/2018 –
- Associate Professor, Department of Chemistry, University of Southern California, 04/2009 – 10/2018
- Assistant Professor, Department of Chemistry, University of Southern California, 08/2002 – 04/2009
Summary Statement of Research Interests
Research in the Qin Laboratory centers on understanding mechanisms of specific nucleic acid recognition that inform genome engineering as well as diagnostic and therapeutic developments. A specialty of our group is the development and application of a biophysical method, called Site-Directed Spin Labeling, to monitor structure and dynamics of nucleic acids and protein-nuclei acid complexes under physiological conditions. Current projects focus on
(1) Investing mechanisms of DNA recognition by the programmable CRISPR nucleases used for genome engineering; and (2) Developing spin-labeling based approaches for molecular characterization and diagnostics.
CRISPR, site-directed spin labeling (SDSL), EPR, DNA Shape, nucleic acids