Qiangwei Xia

CEO and Principal Scientist, CMP Scientific


Hubei, China

Postdoctoral Studies



B.S., University of Science and Technology of China

Ph.D., Molecular and Cellular Biology, University of Washington

Can you describe your path from the Coon lab to your current position?

Following my post-doc in the Coon lab and before starting my own business, I joined Regeneron Pharmaceuticals and took the lead in bringing the Orbitrap and ETD platform to the comprehensive sequencing, structure analysis, and in-depth characterization of recombinant therapeutic proteins. The post-doc training that I received in the Coon group was essential preparation for me to take on this important role in a world-leading biopharmaceutical company. It has been an amazing journey working in Coon’s lab and then in Regeneron. While I was greatly honored and truly enjoyed my job, I started to realize that the world needs better tools for protein separation for both biopharmaceuticals and life science industries. Mass spectrometry had advanced by leaps and bounds, but separations technologies were lagging. Liquid chromatography has matured to such a turning point that alternative separation technologies have become critical to provide deep and comprehensive analysis of complex biological samples.

This is what CMP Scientific specializes in, particularly electrophoretic separation and mass spectrometric detection of analytes relevant to life science and the biopharmaceutical industry. I’m devoted to making capillary electrophoresis–mass spectrometry (CE–MS) technology simpler, faster, and more robust.

“The Coon lab puts a unique emphasis on communication in writing and data presentation, and every day I still think carefully about how to accurately and effectively convey results in scientific and marketing contexts.”

What piece of advice would you give a scientist contemplating graduate school?

What really matters in graduate school is passion, something you cannot be taught and you have to find by yourself. Graduate school offers a wide spectrum of science, even within analytical chemistry and within proteomics. For that reason you also have to find passion, what makes you most interested, curious, and enthused about science. That can take time to discover. Feeling lost at times is normal—you should remember that scientific discoveries always take multiple steps to develop! For me, it was separations: whenever I find conditions for good separations I feel excited and want to share them with my customers.

Earn your Ph.D. with us

The Coon Group is always on the lookout for new members.  Professor Coon accepts students from several UW-Madison doctoral programs including Chemistry, the Integrated Program in Biochemistry (IPiB), and Cellular & Molecular Pathology.