Prof. Hai Qi

Hai Qi_2

Prof. Hai Qi

School of Medicine, Tsinghua University, Beijing, China

Visit co-ordinated by Cindy Ma

29 May Centenary Institute, Sydney (Mainthan Palendira)
1 June John Curtin School of Medical Research, ANU, Canberra (Anselm Enders)
3 June Peter Doherty Institute, Melbourne (Vanessa Bryant)
4-5 June 6th ABCD – Australian B cell Dialogue, Melbourne


Short bio by Cindy Ma

Prof. Qi trained as an MD in China, before completing a PhD in the Department of Pathology, University of Texas, USA (1997 – 2003), followed by a post-doc in the laboratory of Professor Ron Germain at NIH/NIAID (2003 – 2009). The success of his post-doc in the Germain lab is evident from his impressive publication record, which includes a first author paper in Science, a co-first author paper in Nature, co-author papers in Immunity (x2), Journal of Experimental Medicine, and Nature Protocols (x2), in addition to 4 invited reviews (Seminars in Immunology, Trends in Immunology, Immunological Reviews, Nature Reviews Immunology). In 2009, he returned to China as a Tenure-track Professor and has set up his own laboratory at the prestigious Tsinghua University in Beijing. His laboratory continues to be at the forefront of immunological research – having produced two Nature papers in the last 2 years.


Prof Qi’s current research interests focus on understanding the mechanisms that regulate the humoral immune response, in particular the signals and cellular interactions that govern germinal centre formation. Through the use of transgenic/reporter mice and state of the art 2-photon technology, he has been able to visualise and dissect out some of the dynamic interactions that take place during a B cell response. Specifically, Hai’s group has found a role for the molecules SAP and ICOS/ICOSL in the regulation of the germinal centre response. Since mutations in SAP and ICOS have been found to be the causative genes in the human immunodeficiencies, X-linked lymphoproliferative disease and common variable immunodeficiency, respectively, these findings also have a direct link to human health.

Career highlights

Operation of the immune system critically depends on highly dynamic intercellular communication among multiple cell types, frequently in the form of physical cell-cell interactions. Germinal centers (GCs) are highly organized tissue micro-domains in which humoral immune memory is generated. I try to understand how:

  • cellular interactions critical for GC formation are molecularly orchestrated
  • qualitative and quantitative properties of such interactions are translated into cell fate decisions
  • lymphoid tissues and GC micro-domains are spatiotemporally patterned, and
  • such patterns facilitate productive yet prevent unwanted immune activation.

To approach these questions, we utilize genetic, biochemical, cell biological, live cell imaging, and intravital 2-photon tissue imaging methods.


Selected publications in the last 5 years


Dan Liu, Heping Xu, Changming Shih, Zurong Wan, Xiaopeng Ma, Weiwei Ma, Dan Luo, and Hai Qi. T-B cell entanglements and ICOSL-controlled feed-forward regulation of germinal

center reaction. Nature, 2014 Oct 15. doi: 10.1038/nature13803.

Coco Chu, Yifeng Wang, Xu Zhang, Xinya Ni, Junxia Cao, Wan Xu, Zhongjun Dong, Pengfei

Yuan, Wensheng Wei, Yuanwu Ma, Lianfeng Zhang, Longyan Wu, and Hai Qi. SAP-regulated

T cell-APC adhesion and ligation-dependent and -independent Ly108-CD3? interactions.

Journal of Immunology, 193(8):3860-71, 2014.

Qi H, Chen X, Chu C, Liu D, Ma W, Wang Y, Wu L, Yan H, Yan J. Tfh cell differentiation and their function in promoting B-cell responses. Adv Exp Med Biol.;841:153-80, 2014

Hai Qi, Dan Liu, Weiwei Ma, Yifeng Wang, Hu Yan. Bcl-6 controlled TFH polarization and

memory: the known unknowns. Current Opinion in Immunology, 28:34-41, 2014

Junjiao Yang, Yuan Zhang, Pengfei Yuan, Yuexin Zhou, Changzu Cai, Qingpeng Ren, Dingqiao Wen, Coco Chu, Hai Qi, and Wensheng Wei. Complete decoding of TAL effectors for DNA recognition. Cell Research, 24:628-631, 2014

Xindong Liu, Xin Chen, Bo Zhong, Yaoqi Alan Wang, Xiaohu Wang, Fuliang Chu, RozaNurieva, Xiaowei Yan, Ping Chen, Laurens van der Flier, Hiroko Nakatsukasa, SattvaNeelapu, Wanjun Chen, Hans Clevers, Qiang Tian, Hai Qi, Lai Wei, and Chen Dong. Transcription factor Achaete-Scute homologue 2 initiates T follicular helper cell development. Nature, 507:513-518, 2014

Hai Qi, Xin Chen, CoCo Chu, Peiwen Lu, Heping Xu, and Jiacong Yan. Follicular T-helper

cells: controlled localization and cellular interactions. Immunology & Cell Biology, 92:28-33,

Seung Goo Kang, Wen-Hsien Liu, Peiwen Lu, Hyun Yong Jin, Hyung W Lim, Jovan Shepherd, Daniel Fremgen, Eric Verdin, Michael B A Oldstone, Hai Qi, John R Teijaro, and Changchun Xiao. MiR-17~92 family microRNAs are critical regulators of T Follicular helper cell differentiation. Nature Immunology 14:849-57, 2013.

Heping Xu, Xuanying Li, Dan Liu, Jianfu Li, Xu Zhang, Xin Chen, Shiyue Hou, Lixia Peng,

Chenguang Xu, Wanli Liu, Lianfeng Zhang, and Hai Qi. Follicular T-helper cell recruitment

governed by bystander B cells and ICOS-driven motility. Nature 496:523-527, 2013.

Hai Qi. From SAP-less T cells to helpless B cells and back: dynamic T-B interactions in

germinal center development. Immunological Reviews 247:24-35, 2012.