Hao Chen

Contact Info

Title: Professor
Email: hao.chen.2@njit.edu
Office: York 232
Dept: Chemistry & Environmental Science

Academic Interests: Chemistry, Polyner Chemistry & Physics, Analytical Chemistry

Dr. Hao Chen joined the Department of Chemistry and Environmental Science at NJIT in the fall of 2018, after working at Ohio University for 11 years. He has passion in the mass spectrometry and electrochemistry research, with aim to develop new analytical, biomedical and forensic applications through novel instrumentation.


Wuhan University, Wuhan, China                               BS, Chemistry                                       1996

Shanghai Institute of Organic Chemistry, China           MS, Polymer Chemistry and Physics       1999

University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth, MA           MS, Analytical Chemistry                        2001

Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN                        PhD, Analytical Chemistry                        2005



Presidential Research Scholar, Ohio University, 2017

Merck Technology Collaboration Award, Merck & Co. 2016

NSF Early Career Award, 2012

Ron Hites Award for Outstanding Publication in JASMS, 2012

American Society for Mass Spectrometry (ASMS) Research Award, 2010


Group website: https://sites.google.com/njit.edu/chenlab/home

Mass spectrometry is a fascinating analytical and biological technology. Our research focuses on the new mass-spec innovation based on newly discovered ion chemistry and novel instrumentation.

The current projects are:

  1. Study of Electrochemistry, Protein Conformation and Reaction Kinetics by Mass Spectrometry

We have extended the desorption electrospray ionization (DESI),1 an ambient ionization method, to the direct analysis of liquid samples. Due to its direct sampling and ionization properties, this liquid sample DESI-MS (LS-DESI-MS)2 is versatile and has unique applications. For instance, it allows us to study electrochemical and organometallic reaction mechanisms and to study fast reaction kinetics, etc..3-6 

Traditional methods for protein structural analysis involves chemical reduction of disulfide bonds prior to mass spectrometric detection, which is time-consuming. We have developed online electrochemical reduction approach7-9 which is reagentless and fast, facilitating MS elucidation of protein structures for proteomic research.

      2. Develop Atmospheric Pressure Ion Dissociation Methods

Tandem mass spectrometry is invaluable for chemical structure elucidation via examination of fragment ions after the activation and dissociation of gaseous precursor ions. However, neutral fragments are ignored and not detected by MS. Our lab has been working on atmospheric pressure thermal dissociation method (APTD)10-12 which dissociates ions outside mass spectrometer and thus allows re-ionization of neutral fragments. This approach helps to gain increased structure information about both proteins and organic molecules such as synthetic drugs.  It could find applications in both forensic chemistry and proteomics.

     3. Develop New Interfaces for Coupling LC with MS

LC/MS plays a significant role in analytical chemistry. However, high flow rate of eluents is not compatible with MS ionization. We have developed a novel splitting method13-15 which allows real-time MS monitoring of LC-separated analytes and subsequent online analyte collection. In this approach, a PEEK capillary tube with a micro-orifice drilled on the tube side wall is used to connect with LC column. A small portion of LC eluent emerging from the orifice can be directly ionized by LS-DESI-MS with negligible time delay (few ms) while the remaining analytes exiting the tube outlet can be collected following DESI-MS monitoring. The DESI-MS analysis of eluted compounds shows narrow peaks and high sensitivity, due to the extremely small dead volume of the orifice used for LC eluent splitting (as low as 4 nL) and the freedom to choose favorable DESI spray solvent. In addition, online derivatization using reactive DESI is possible for supercharging separated proteins and for enhancing their signals without introducing extra dead volume. Unlike UV detector used in traditional preparative LC experiments, our method is applicable to compounds without chromophores.


  1. Takats, Z.; Wiseman, J. M.; Gologan, B.; Cooks, R. G. Science, 2004, 306, 471.
  2. Miao, Z.; Chen, H. J. Am. Soc. Mass Spectrom. 2009, 20, 10.
  3. Li, J.; Dewald, H. D.; Chen, H. Anal. Chem., 2009, 81, 9716.
  4. T. A. Brown, H. Chen, R. N. Zare, J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2015, 137, 7274.
  5. Y. Cai, J. Wang, Y. Zhang, Z. Li, D. Hu, N. Zheng, H. Chen,  J. Am. Chem. Soc., 2017, 139, 12259.
  6. Miao, Z.; Chen, H.; Liu, P.; Liu, Y. Anal. Chem. 2011, 83, 3994.
  7. Y. Zhang, W. Cui, H. Zhang, H. D. Dewald, H. Chen, Anal. Chem. 2012, 84, 3838.
  8. Y. Zhang, H. D. Dewald, H. Chen, J. Proteome Res. 2011, 10, 1293.
  9. Q. Zheng, H. Zhang, H. Chen, Int. J. Mass Spectrom. 2013, 353, 84.
  10. H. Chen, L. S. Eberlin, R. G. Cooks, J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2007, 129, 5880.
  11. H. Chen, L. S. Eberlin, M. Nefliu, R. Augusti, R. G. Cooks, Angew. Chem. Int. Ed., 2008, 47, 3422.
  12. P. Liu, P. Zhao, R. G. Cooks, H. Chen, Chemical Science, 2017, 8, 6499.
  13. Y. Cai, D. Adams, H. Chen, J. Am. Soc. Mass Spectrom. 2014, 25, 286.
  14. Y. Cai, Y. Liu, R. Hemly, H. Chen, J. Am. Soc. Mass Spectrom. 2014, 25, 1820.
  15. Y. Cai, Q. Zheng, Y. Liu, R. Helmy, J. A. Loo, H. Chen, Eur. J. Mass Spectrom. 2015, 21, 341.

102. P. Zhao, T. White, R. Graham Cooks,* Q. Chen,* Yong Liu and H. Chen*, “Detection of Neutral Species CO Lost During Ionic Dissociation Using Atmospheric Pressure Thermal Dissociation Mass Spectrometry (APTD-MS)", J. Am. Soc. Mass Spectrom. 2018, in press.

101. Zhengzheng Chen, Zhongyao Jiang, Fanpeng Kong, Hao Chen, Bo Tang*, “Target Discovery of Ebselen with a Biotinylated Probe”, Chem. Commun., 2018, 54, 9506-9509.

100. Qiuling Zheng, Yang Tian, Xujun Ruan, Hao Chen, Xunxun Wu, Xiaowei Xu, Haiping Hao*, Hui Ye*, “Probing Specific Ligand-Protein Interactions by Native-Denaturing Switchable Desorption Electrospray Ionization Mass Spectrometry",  Analytica Chimica Acta, 2018, Accepted.

99. Jin Wang, Shuyao Zhang, Chang Xu, Lukasz Wojtas, Novruz G. Akhmedov, Hao Chen, Xiaodong Shi,* “Highly Efficient and Stereoselective Thioallylation of Alkynes: Possible Gold Redox Catalysis with No Need of a Strong Oxidant”, Angew. Chem. Int. Ed., 2018, 57, 6915 –6920.

98. Michael Nshanian, Rajeswari Lakshmanan, Hao Chen, Rachel Loo*, Joseph Loo*, “Enhancing Sensitivity of Liquid Chromatography/Mass Spectrometry of Peptides and Proteins Using Supercharging Agents”, Int. J. Mass Spec. 2018, 427, 157-164.

97. Mei Lu, Yijin Su, Pengyi Zhao, Xiaohan Ye, Yi Cai,  Xiaodong Shi,* Eric Masson,* Fengyao Li, J. Larry Campbell and Hao Chen*, “Direct Evidence for the Origin of Bis-Gold Intermediates: Probing Gold Catalysis with Mass Spectrometry”, Chemistry - A European Journal, 2018, 24, 2144-2150.

96. Yi Cai, Jiang Wang, Yuexiang Zhang, Zhi Li, David Hu, Nan Zheng*, and Hao Chen*, “Detection of Fleeting Amine Radical Cations and Elucidation of Chain Processes in Visible Light-Mediated [3+2] Annulation by Online Mass Spectrometric Techniques”, J. Am. Chem. Soc., 2017, 139, 12259–12266.