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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 3:30-5:00PM
                     R 3:30-5:00PM
Or by appt.
Areas of Expertise:

Biochemistry/Molecular Biophysics/Stem Cells/Epigenetics

Research Specialist/Research Fellow, Howard Hughes Medical Institute/University of Michigan, 2005-2012

BBSRC Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Cambridge, 2002-2005

Ph.D., Macromolecular Chemistry and Physics, Jilin University, 2002

BSc Eng., Jilin University, 1997

In the human body, different cell types perform distinct cellular functions and exhibit a diversity of morphologies, although they have the same genetic information. Chromatins and chromatin-associated proteins specify cellular functions and morphologies by 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 morphologies by chromatin and chromatin-associated proteins.

The current research projects in the laboratory are:  

(1) Molecular mechanisms of assembly of cellular proteins on chromatin in vitro and in vivo;  

(2) 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.

Dr. Ren carried out his PhD research at the supervision of Professor Jiacong Shen and focused on creating and developing mimics of glutathione peroxidase, an antioxidant enzyme important for maintenance of homeostasis of active oxygen species of the human body.  Dr. Ren then travelled to the UK as a BBSRC research associate and worked in the laboratory of Professor Shankar Balasubramanian at the University of Cambridge where he developed single-molecule fluorescence microscopy to investigate the structure, function, and dynamics of telomerase, an important enzyme for maintenance of integrity of the chromosome tips. Inspired by the molecular science of life, Dr. Ren joined the laboratory of Professor Tom Kerppola, an investigator of Howard Hughes Medical Institute at the University of Michigan Medical School where he devoted his efforts to investigate the molecular mechanisms that control cellular fate transition using embryonic stem cell as a model system.  In 2012, Dr. Ren joined the Department of Chemistry at the University of Colorado Denver as an assistant professor in biochemistry.

Ren X, Kerppola TK. (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)

Ren X, Vincenz C, Kerppola TK. (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 article in May, 2008) 

Ren X, Li H, Clarke RW, Alves DA, Ying L, Klenerman D, Balasubramanian S (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

Li H*, Ren X*, Ying L, Balasubramanian S, Klenerman D. (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)

Ren X*, Gavory G*, Li H*, Ying L, Klenerman D, Balasubramanian S (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)

Ren X, Jemth P, Board PG, Luo G, Mannervik B, Liu J, Zhang K, Shen J. (2002) A semisynthetic glutathione peroxidase with high catalytic efficiency: Selenoglutathione transferase Chemistry & Biology 9 (7): 789-794

Ren X, Xue Y, Liu J, Zhang K, Zheng J, Luo G, Guo C, Mu Y, Shen J (2002) A novel cyclodextrin-derived tellurium compound with glutathione peroxidase activity ChemBioChem 3 (4): 356-363  

Ren X, Xue Y, Zhang K, Liu J, Luo G, Zheng J, Mu Y, Shen J. (2001) A novel dicyclodextrinyl ditelluride compound with antioxidant activity FEBS Letters 507 (3): 377-380

Ren X, Gao S, You D, Huang H, Liu Z, Mu Y, Liu J, Zhang Y, Yan G, Luo G, Yang T, Shen J (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

Ren X, Yang L, Liu J, Su D, You D, Liu C, Zhang K, Luo G, Mu Y, Yan G, Shen J. (2001) A novel glutathione peroxidase mimic with antioxidant activity Archives of Biochemistry and Biophysics 387 (2): 250-256

Ren X, Liu J, Luo G, Zhang Y, Luo Y, Yan G, Shen J. (2000) A novel selenocystine-beta-cyclodextrin conjugate that acts as a glutathione peroxidase mimic Bioconjugate Chemistry 11 (5): 682-687


Physical Chemistry Lab