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YONG QIAN Professor

Research Interests: 
  • Chemical Biology
  • Bioinorganic Chemistry


Our research interests are in chemical biology, bioinorganic chemistry, and medicinal chemistry. Our research program focus on the discovery and develop of activity-based chemical tools and natural products to address problems at the interface of chemistry and biology.

We are interesting in activity-based sensing with small-molecule probes for reporting specific analytes in living cells, tissues and animals, with special interest in the selective imaging of gasotransmitters, metal ions, and biomarkers. We are paying special attention to exploring activity-based probes for chemoproteomics that identify and characterize biological targets of natural or designed agents. We also work on developing new metal-based anticancer agents that design on the traditional Chinese medicines or natural products.



Professor, School of Chemistry and Materials Science, Nanjing Normal University, China, 2018 –

Associate Professor, School of Chemistry and Materials Science, Nanjing Normal University, China, 2016 – 2018

Alexander von Humboldt Scholar, Max Planck Institute of Molecular Physiology, Germany, 2014 – 2016  

Associate Research Professor, School of Life Sciences, Nanjing University, China, 2012 – 2014   

Visiting Scholar, Department of Chemistry, University of Chicago, USA, 2010 – 2012   

Ph.D., School of Life Sciences, Nanjing University, China, 2007 – 2012



Jiangsu Specially appointed professor, 2018

The Third prize of Science and Technology in Anhui province, 2015

Alexander von Humboldt Fellow, 2014

Outstanding Doctoral Dissertation Award of Jiangsu Province, 2013

Outstanding Doctoral Dissertation Award of Nanjing University, 2013

Award of Bioorganic & Medicinal Chemistry Top 25 Cited Author 2010 to 2011, 2012

Outstanding Graduate Awards of Nanjing University, 2012

Excellent Graduate Student Award, Nanjing University, 2011

Tung OOCL Scholarship, Nanjing University, 2011

State Scholarship Fund for oversea Joint Education, 2010.



Zhen Li, Yuqing Xu, Jie Fu*, Hailiang Zhu*, Yong Qian*. Monitoring of Au(III) species in plants using a selective fluorescent probe. Chemical Communications, 2018, 54, 888-891.

Zhen Li, Yuqing Xu, Hailiang Zhu*, Yong Qian*. Imaging of formaldehyde in plants with a ratiometric fluorescent probe. Chemical Science, 2017, 8, 5616-5621.

Yong Qian, Marc Schürmann, Peter Janning, Christian Hedberg*, and Herbert Waldmann*. Activity-based proteome profiling probes based on Woodward’s reagent K with distinct target selectivity. Angewandte Chemie International Edition 2016, 55(27): 7766-71.

Tianbao Liu, Jie Lin, Lin Lin, Yuning Shen, Hailiang Zhu*, Yong Qian*. Imaging in living cells and zebrafishes in vivo using a colorimetric and ratiometric fluorescent probe for hydrogen sulfide. Analyst, 2015, 140, 7165-7169.

Yong Qian*, Jie Lin, Lujing Han, Lin Lin, Hailiang Zhu*. A resorufin-based colorimetric and fluorescent probe for live-cell monitoring of hydrazine. Biosensors & Bioelectronics, 2014, 52, 282-286. 3759.

Xiaoda Song#, Yong Qian#, Rong Ben, Xiang Lu, Hailiang Zhu*, Hui Chao*, and Jing Zhao*. Activation of C–H Bonds in Nitrones Leads to Iridium Hydrides with Antitumor Activity. Journal of Medicinal Chemistry, 2013, 56, 6531-6535. (#, equal contribution) (Highlighted in Science-Business eXchange)

Yong Qian, Ling Zhang, Shuting Ding, Xin Deng, Chuan He, Xi Emily Zheng, Hai-Liang Zhu, Jing Zhao*.  A Fluorescent Probe for Rapid Detection of Hydrogen Sulfide in Blood Plasma and Brain Tissues in Mice. Chemical Science, 2012, 3, 2920-2923. (Highlighted in Chemical Science Blog)

Yong Qian, Jason Karpus, Omer Kabil, Shu-Yu Zhang, Hai-Liang Zhu, Ruma Banerjee, Jing Zhao & Chuan He*. Selective Fluorescent Probes for Live-Cell Monitoring of Sulfide. Nature Communications, 2011, 2:495, 1506. (Highlighted in C&E News)

Yong Qian, Gaoyuan Ma, Aifeng Lv, Hailiang Zhu, Jing Zhao* and Viresh H. Rawal*. Squaramide-Catalyzed Enantioselective Friedel-Crafts Reaction of Indoles with Imines. Chemical Communications, 2010, 46, 3004–3006.