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Xiaoyin Chen Headshot

Xiaoyin Chen, Ph.D.

Assistant Investigator


Xiaoyin joined Allen Institute for Brain Science in 2021. He is currently an Assistant Investigator leading the Barcoded Connectomics project. Xiaoyin and his team are developing and applying sequencing-based neuroanatomical approaches to understand the wiring logic of neuronal types across development and evolution.

Xiaoyin obtained his B.S in biology in Tsinghua University in Beijing, China. He then moved to New York City and did his Ph.D training with Dr. Martin Chalfie at Columbia University, where he studied mechanosensation in the nematode C. elegans. Xiaoyin then joined Tony Zador’s lab at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory as a postdoc. In Tony’s lab, Xiaoyin developed BARseq, a sequencing-based neuroanatomical technique with cellular resolution and unparalleled throughput.

Xiaoyin was awarded the Kavli Institute Award for Distinguished Research in Neuroscience for his PhD thesis work. He was a Simons Collaboration on the Global Brain fellow and an O’Neil fellow during his postdoc work, and received a Discovery award from the Department of Defense Peer Reviewed Medical Research Program. His work in developing BARseq was featured by the NIH Director’s Blog, BRAIN Initiative Alliance, and various news media including Nature, Spectrum, Technology Networks, etc.

Research Focus:

Xiaoyin is interested in understanding the wiring logic of neuronal types from a developmental and evolutionary perspective. To achieve this goal, his team is developing in situ sequencing-based tools that can interrogate various neuronal properties, such as gene expression and connectivity, with unprecedented throughput. These new tools will allow his team to interrogate the wiring among the basic units of a circuit, i.e. cell types, at an unprecedented scale, across the whole brain and across many individuals. Xiaoyin hopes that this systemic approach will not only reveal the basic organization of the normal brain with exquisite details, but also provides a path for discovering and understanding cellular and wiring defects in neuropsychiatric and neurodevelopmental diseases.

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