The Center is home to China’s top structural biology research teams, featuring CAS academicians, and winners of the National Science Fund for Distinguished Young Scholars.

Hai Qi

Tenured Professor

A main focus of research is humoral immune regulation and germinal center biology. Operation of the immune system critically depends on intercellular communication among multiple cell types, frequently in the form of physical and dynamic cell-cell interactions. Germinal centers (GCs) are dynamically organized tissue micro-domains in which humoral memory is generated in the form of memory B cells and long-lived plasma cells. Using a variety of genetic, biochemical, cell biological, and imaging approaches, we ask following questions: (1) how cellular interactions critical for GC formation are molecularly orchestrated, (2) how qualitative and quantitative properties of such interactions are translated into cell fate decisions, (3) how lymphoid tissues and GC micro-domains are spatiotemporally patterned, (4) how such patterns facilitate productive while prevent unwanted immune activation at the same time, (5) how do memory B cells and long-lived plasma cells develop from GC and persist, and (6) how the central nervous system regulates these processes via physical neural circuits. In addition, we also investigate (1) the molecular basis of the sexual dimorphism in humoral immunity, (2) the development of tissue-resident CD8 memory T cells in the context of viral infections, and (3) microglia dynamics and functions in the context of neurological disorders. Through these efforts we aim to understand how crosstalk among cells within and beyond the immune system and crosstalk between immune cells and tissue microenvironment maintain homeostasis and develop new vaccine and therapeutic strategies to prevent or treat diseases.