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University of Colorado Denver College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

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Facutly & Staff Directory

Xiaojun Ren, Ph.D

Assistant Professor

Email: Xiaojun Ren
Office Location: SI 4135
Phone: (303) 556-5659
Fax: (303) 556-4776
Office hours:
T 12:00-1:00PM
R 12:00-1:00PM
Or by appt.

Area of Expertise:

Chromatin/Cell biology/Epigenetics/Polycomb group proteins/Single-cell and molecule imaging

Research Specialist/Research Fellow, HHMI/University of Michigan Medical School BBSRC Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Cambridge, UK

Ph.D., Macromolecular Chemistry and Physics, Jilin University
BSc Eng., Jilin University

In the human body, different cell types perform distinct cellular functions and exhibit a diversity of phenotypes, although they have the same genetic information. Chromatins and chromatin-associated proteins play fundamental roles in specifying cellular functions and phenotypes via selectively turning on or off genes during development at strategic times and locations. The broad goals in the Dr. Xiaojun Ren laboratory aim to understand control mechanisms of cellular functions and phenotypes by chromatin and chromatin-associated proteins.


The current research projects in the laboratory are:  

  • Molecular mechanisms of assembly of cellular proteins on chromatins in vitro and in vivo
  • Roles of high-order chromatin structure on gene regulation.


The topics are inherently multidisciplinary and will be investigated using a diversity of intellectual and experimental approaches that include: biochemistry, biophysics, molecular and cellular biology, stem cell, and epigenetics.

Select Publications

Chao Yu Zhen, Huy Nguyen Duc, Marko Kokotovic, Christopher Phiel,  Xiaojun Ren# (2014) Cbx2 stably associates with mitotic chromosomes via a PRC2 or PRC1-independent mechanism and is needed for recruiting PRC1 complex to mitotic chromosomes  Molecular Biology of the Cell  In Press

Colleen M. Bartmana, Jennifer Egelstona, Xiaojun Ren, Raibatak Dasa, Christopher J. Phiel (2014) A simple and efficient method for transfecting mouse embryonic stem Cells using polyethylenimine  Experimental Cell Research  2014 Aug 4. pii: S0014-4827(14)00300-0. doi: 10.1016/j.yexcr.2014.07.020. [Epub ahead of print].

Bo Cheng*, Xiaojun Ren*, Tom K Kerppola (2014) KAP1 represses differentiation-inducible genes in embryonic stem cells through cooperative binding with PRC1 and derepresses pluripotency-associated genes
Molecular and Cellular Biology  34(11):2075-91.
(*Contributed equally to this work;
Most-Read Articles in May, 2014)

Before 2013

Xiaojun Ren, Tom K Kerppola (2011) REST interacts with Cbx proteins and has opposite effects on polycomb repressive complex 1 at proximal versus distal RE1 elements Molecular and Cellular Biology 31 (10): 2100-2110
(Spotlight in this issue)

Xiaojun Ren
, Claudius Vincenz, Tom K Kerppola (2008) Changes in the distributions and dynamics of polycomb repressive complexes during embryonic stem cell differentiation Molecular and Cellular Biology 28 (9): 2884-2895

(Most-Read Articles in May, 2008)

David Alves, Haitao Li, Rosalind Codrington, Angel Orte, Xiaojun Ren, David Klenerman, Shankar Balasubramanian
(2008) Single-molecule analysis of human telomerase monomer Nature Chemical Biology 4 (5): 287-289

Xiaojun Ren
, Haitao Li, Richard W. Clarke, David A. Alves, Liming Ying, David Klenerman, Shankar Balasubramanian (2006) Analysis of human telomerase activity and function by two-colour single molecule coincidence fluorescence spectroscopy  Journal of the American Chemical Society 128 (15): 4992-5000

Haitao Li *, Xiaojun Ren *, Liming Ying, Shankar Balasubramanian, David Klenerman (2004) Measuring single-molecule nucleic acid dynamics in solution by two-color filtered ratiometric fluorescence correlation spectroscopy

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 101(40): 14425-14430
(*Contributed equally to this work)

Xiaojun Ren*, Gérald Gavory*, Haitao Li*, Liming Ying, David Klenerman, Shankar Balasubramanian (2003) Identification of a new RNA: RNA interaction site for human telomerase RNA (hTR): structural implications for hTR accumulation and a dyskeratosis congenita point mutation Nucleic Acids Research 31 (22): 6509-6515
(Selected as Cover Story in the Issue; *Contributed equally to this work)

Xiaojun Ren, Per Jemth, Philip G. Board, Guimin Luo, Bengt Mannervik, Junqiu Liu, Kun Zhang, Jiacong Shen (2002) A semisynthetic glutathione peroxidase with high catalytic efficiency: Selenoglutathione transferase Chemistry & Biology 9 (7): 789-794

Xiaojun Ren, Yan Xue, Junqiu Liu, Kun Zhang, Jian Zheng, Guimin Luo, Canhui Guo, Ying Mu, Jiacong Shen (2002) A novel cyclodextrin-derived tellurium compound with glutathione peroxidase activity ChemBioChem 3 (4): 356-363

Xiaojun Ren, Yan Xue, Kun Zhang, Junqiu Liu, Guimin Luo, Jian Zheng, Ying Mu, Jiacong Shen (2001) A novel dicyclodextrinyl ditelluride compound with antioxidant activity FEBS Letters 507 (3): 377-380

Xiaojun Ren, Shujuan Gao, Delin You, Hualiang Huang, Zi Liu, Ying Mu, Junqiu Liu, Yan Zhang, Ganglin Yan, Guimin Luo, Tongshu Yang, Jiacong Shen (2001) Cloning and expression of a single-chain catalytic antibody that acts as a glutathione peroxidase mimic with high catalytic efficiency Biochemical Journal 359: 369-374

Xiaojun Ren, Liquan Yang, Junqiu Liu, Dan Su, Delin You, Chuanpen Liu, Kun Zhang, Guimin Luo, Ying Mu, Ganglin Yan, Jiacong Shen (2001) A novel glutathione peroxidase mimic with antioxidant activity
Archives of Biochemistry and Biophysics
387 (2): 250-256

Xiaojun Ren, Junqiu Liu, Guimin Luo, Yan Zhang, Yuanming Luo, Ganglin Yan, Jiacong Shen (2000) A novel selenocystine-beta-cyclodextrin conjugate that acts as a glutathione peroxidase mimic Bioconjugate Chemistry 11 (5): 682-687

CHEM 5810-General Biochemistry

CHEM 5820-General Biochemistry

CHEM 4828-Biochemistry Laboratory

CHEM 3498-Honors Organic Chemistry Lab II