Department of Chemistry

Ming Xian

Jesse Houghton Metcalf Professor of Chemistry
GeoChem 447
Research Interests Organic chemistry, Chemical biology


Research Statement 

Dr. Xian’s group is working on the interface between chemistry and biology. We are especially interested in sulfur based signaling molecules such as hydrogen sulfide (H2S), persulfides (RSSH), S-nitrosothiols (RSNO). These molecules play important roles in a number of physiological and pathophysiological processes. The detailed understanding of their biological functions is challenging because these molecules are very reactive and can undergo many possible biochemical reactions to form complicated products. Our goal is to understand their fundamental chemistry/properties and to develop chemical tools to facilitate their research. In addition, we have other projects related to synthetic methodology development, bio-orthogonal chemistry, and fluorescent dye/sensor development. Students working in our lab receive training in organic synthesis, bioorganic/medicinal chemistry, analytic chemistry, and cell/molecular biology.


Ming Xian received his BS from Nankai University, China, in 1995 and PhD from Wayne State University, Detroit in 2003. From 2003 to 2006 he was a DOD postdoctoral fellow in the laboratory of Professor Amos B. Smith, III, at the University of Pennsylvania. In August 2006, he joined the faculty at the Washington State University (WSU) as Assistant Professor. He was promoted to Associate Professor in 2011 and Full Professor in 2015. He was named the first Ralph G. Yount Distinguished Professor in Chemical Biology in 2017. He serves as the Associate Chair of the Chemistry Department at WSU since 2016. Dr. Xian and his lab moved to Brown University in 2020.


  • Chem2430 Graduate Organic Synthesis


1. Hamsath, A.; Xian, M. Chemistry and chemical biology of selenenyl sulfides (RSeSR) and thioseleninic acids (RSeSH). Antioxid. Redox

2. Chen, W.; Matsunaga, T.; Neill, D. L.; Yang, C. T.; Akaike, T.; Xian, M. Rational design of a dual-reactivity based fluorescent probe for visualizing intracellular HSNO. Angew. Chem. Int. Ed201958, 16067-16070.

3. Yang, C. T.; Wang, Y.; Marutani, E.; Ida, T.; Ni, X.; Xu, S.; Chen, W.; Zhang, H.; Akaike, T.; Ichinose, F.; Xian, M. Data-driven identification of hydrogen sulfide scavengers. Angew. Chem. Int. Ed201958, 10898-10902.

4. Xu, S.; Hamsath, A.; Neill, D. L.; Wang, Y.; Yang, C. T.; Xian, M. Strategies for the design of donors and precursors of reactive sulfur species. Chem. Eur. J201925, 4005-4016.

5. Kang, J.; Xu, S.; Radford, M. N.; Zhang, W.; Kelly, S. S.; Day, J. J.; Xian, M. OS relay deprotection, a general approach for the design of controllable donors of reactive sulfur species. Angew. Chem. Int. Ed201857, 5893-5897.

6. Chen, W.; Xu, S.; Day, J. J.; Wang, D.; Xian, M. A general strategy for development of near-infrared fluorescent probes for bioimaging. Angew. Chem. Int. Ed201756, 16611-16615.

7. Kang, J.; Li, Z.; Organ, C. L.; Park, C. M.; Yang, C. T.; Pacheco, A.; Wang, D.; Lefer, D. J.; Xian, M. pH-Controlled hydrogen sulfide release for myocardial ischemia reperfusion injury. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2016138, 6336-6339.

8. Day, J. J.; Yang, Z.; Chen, W.; Pacheco, A.; Xian, M. Benzothiazole sulfinate: a water soluble and slow-releasing sulfur dioxide donor. ACS Chem. Biol201611, 1647-1651.

9. Zhao, Y.; Yang, C.; Organ, C.; Li, Z.; Bhushan, S.; Otsuka, H.; Pacheco, A.; Kang, J.; Aguilar, H. C.; Lefer, D. J.; Xian, M. Design, synthesis, and cardioprotective effects of N-mercapto-based hydrogen sulfide donors. J. Med. Chem., 201558, 7501-7511.