Dream Chemistry Award Winner Yujia Qing Gives Fascinating Lecture on Nanopore Chemistry for Single-Molecule Proteomics

Yujia Qing, winner of the Dream Chemistry Award, gave a captivating KRED Lecture on March 10th, entitled "Nanopore Chemistry for Single-molecule Proteomics". The lecture was attended by Kavli researchers who showed great interest in Yujia's work. During her talk, Yujia explained how the stepwise movement of a single biopolymer strand through a nanoscopic detector can be used for the sequential identification of its building blocks, offering a universal means for single-molecule sequencing.

Yujia discussed how the stepwise movement of a single biopolymer strand through a nanoscopic detector can be used to sequence its building blocks and how this principle has been implemented in portable sequencers -developed commercially by Oxford Nanopore Technologies – that use enzymes to move DNA or RNA through hundreds of individual protein nanopores positioned in an array. Yujia also talked about how success with nucleic acids is stimulating work on sequencing other information-rich biopolymers, such as polypeptides.

Yujia explained that the major roadblocks to this polypeptide sequencing include alack of suitable motors to control translocation and the need for an alternative driving force within a pore to capture and extend polypeptides. Recently, a purely chemical means to move molecules processively has been devised.  With steps comparable to the repeat distances in biopolymers, enzymeless DNA base identification has been achieved by chemical stepping. Further work, exploring electroosmosis to drive biopolymer translocation, is underway. This will be applied to single-moleculeproteoform characterisation.

Having graduated in 2012 with a BSc in Chemistry from the University of Sheffield, Yujia then completed her MSc in Pharmacology at the University of Oxford. In 2014, Yujia joined the group of Prof. Hagan Bayley where she completed a DPhil in Chemical Biology and then undertook postdoctoral research. In 2019, Yujia received the Reaxys PhD Prize and the Dream Chemistry Award. In 2020, Yujia started her Glasstone Research Fellowship in Science and joined Magdalen College as a Fellow by Examination. In 2022, Yujia was appointed as an Associate Professor of Organic Chemistry and Tutorial Fellow at Lady Margaret Hall.

Prior to the seminar, attendees had a chance to meet with Yujia while enjoying refreshments. 

Yujia Qing giving the KRED Talk


Kavli INsD Director Professor Dame Carol Robinson presented Yujia before her talk and commented:

"I was delighted by the reception of Yujia’s talk – many early career scientists came away discussing the importance of the big dream."