CTI Principal Investigators
Through this venture, immunologists from China and Oxford are being brought together to work on projects spanning the field of human immunology. They are working to promote scientific and technological exchange and co-operation on issues related to health and to conduct large-scale collaborative health research projects of major public health and medical significance between the two institutions.
The following Principal Investigators are working in collaboration as part of the CTI.
Professor Xuetao CAO (China)
President and Professor
Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences, Beijing, China
Peking Union Medical College, Beijing, China
Director and Professor
National Key Laboratory of Medical Immunology, Shanghai, China
Center for Immunotherapy, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences, Beijing, China
Professor Xuetao Cao is the current President of Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences and Peking Union Medical College. Professor Cao was elected to the Chinese Academy of Engineering in 2005, German Academy of Sciences in 2013 and French Academy of Medicine in 2014. He was President of Chinese Society for Immunology for 8 years (2006.10-2014.10). He is currently the Secretary General of Chinese Society for Immunology (2014.10- ), President of Federation of Immunological Societies in Asia and Oceania FIMSA (2012.5- 2015.6) and President of Global Alliance for Chronic Diseases GACD (2013.12-2015.12).
Professor Cao has won many awards in recognition of his scientific achievements and dedication to public services and China's medical research and education. He is widely recognized as a thought leader in promoting innovative and cross-disciplinary research at the national level and spearheads a number of initiatives. He is also proud to act as a bridge between China and the world on many occasions and has worked tirelessly to encourage international collaborations and enhance the global visibility of China's own research and development
Professor Xuetao Cao’s major interests are innate response and immune regulation, immunobiology of APCs (dendritic cells, macrophages), cancer immunotherapy. He has made important contributions to the understanding of signaling pathways in innate immunity and inflammation, identification of immune cell subsets and new immune molecules in immune response and cancer, all of his work was completed in China.
Please see attached link for Professor Cao's article Innovating research in China
Professor Wei HE (China)
Professor Wei He was born in 1955 in Harbin. After six years of social career during the Cultural Revolution, he studied at Jiangmushi Medical College, graduating with a B.M. degree in 1983. He subsequently majored in Microbiology in Heilongjiang University of TCM, graduating with M.M.degree in 1987. He then obtained a teaching position at Heilongjiang University of TCM. From 1991 to 1994, he studied for his M.D. in Heidelberg University in Germany, Faculty of Theoretical Medicine under under the supervision of Professor Dieter Kabelitz. There he worked on studying developmental mechanism of γδT cells, a unique T cell subset, graduating with a M.D. in 1993.
In Aug. 1994, he returned to China and joined the laboratory of Professor Denain Ba in Department of Immunology, Institute of Basic Medical Sciences, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences (CAMS) & School of Basic Medicine, Peking Union Medical College (PUMC). One year later, he obtained a full Professorship in CAMS & PUMC, and developed his interest in γδT cells, going on to obtain a dozen national and international grants leading his students to embark on the study of γδT cells, focusing on a relationship with tumour-immunology.
Wei He is also a leader in the Chinese Society for Immunology (CSI) (Secretary General 2001-present, Vice-President 2010-present), and represents CSI at the International Union of Immunological Societies (IUIS) as the Member, Education Committee of IUIS (2005-present).
Professor Ning LI (China)
Professor Li is a liver disease and liver transplantation surgeon, his interest is transplantation immunity, identification of early biomarkers and gene therapy for hepatocellular carcinoma. Prof. Li’s current work identified a group of microRNA as an early detection biomarker in the diagnosis of hepatocellular carcinoma. Prof. Li also demonstrated that ADV-TK gene therapy can improve the efficacy of liver transplantation for patients with advanced hepatocellular carcinoma. As first and corresponding author, he has published 30 original papers in Cancer Research and other journals. He was awarded a National Science & Technology Program award for his work in hepatocellular carcinoma.
Professor George Fu Gao (China)
Director-General, Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention
Professor, Institute of Microbiology, Chinese Academy of Sciences
Professor George F. Gao obtained his Ph.D (DPhil) degree from the University of Oxford and did his postdoctoral work in both Oxford University and Harvard University (with a brief stay in Calgary University).
He is now professor and director in the CAS Key Laboratory of Pathogenic Microbiology and Immunology, Institute of Microbiology, Chinese Academy of Sciences. He is also the Vice-President of Beijing Institutes of Life Science, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Deputy Director-General of Chinese Centre for Disease Control and Prevention and Vice-President of Chinese Society of Biotechnology.
His research interests include Enveloped viruses entry and release; Molecular immunology; Public health policy and global health strategy. His group research is now focusing on the influenza virus, Streptococcus suis and the molecular/structural basis of recognition of T cell receptors to peptide-MHC complexes.
He has published more than 190 refereed papers, nine books/book chapters and has applied for and obtained 20 UK, US and Chinese patents.
Professor Yonghong Zhang (China)
Director of Research Centre for Biomedical Resources, Director of Scientific Research Office, Beijing Youan Hospital, Capital Medical University.
Professor. Yonghong Zhang received his D.Phil from Oxford University. He is currently a senior clinician in Beijing Youan Hospital and Associate Professor at Capital Medical University, Beijing.
Yonghong’s major interest is in anti-viral immunity and genetic association in virus infections such as influenza, HIV, HCV and HIV/HCV co-infection. Yonghong’s current work is focusing on IFITM3 genetic variant in association with severe influenza in China. He also showed evidence that the CTL driving pressure has a major effect on inter host HIV-1 viral diversity and probably represents a key element of viral control. In addition, Dr Zhang identified the immune mechanisms of HLA-B51-associated protection in HIV infection. As first author, he has published seven original papers in SCI-cited journals including Nature Communication, Journal of Immunology, Blood, Am J Respir Crit Care Med.
Professor BO Huang - Project Manager (China)
Vice Director of Institute of Basic Medical Sciences
Chinese Academy of Medical SciencesProfessor Bo Huang is the Vice-Chairman of Department of Immunology, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences (CAMS). He received his PhD in biochemistry and molecular biology from Tongji Medical College, Huazhong University of Science and Technology. He finished his postdoctoral training in the Karolinska Institutet in Sweden, University of Calgary in Canada, and Mount Sinai School of Medicine in United States. He is currently a Professor in the Department of Immunology, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences (CAMS).
Professor Bo's major interests are Tumour immunology; Microparticles in tumour and immunology; Metabolism in tumour and immunology；Mechanical signalling in tumour and immunology.
Professor Zihe Rao (China)
Professor and Head of the Laboratory for Structural Biology at Tsinghua University and Head of the Laboratory for Structural Biology at Tsinghua University
Professor Zihe Rao graduated from the University of Science and Technology of China (USTC) in 1977, and got his master degree from the Institute of Biophysics, Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) in 1982. In 1989, Professor Rao received his doctorate from Melbourne University and then joined Prof. Dave Stuart’s group in Oxford University, where he worked until 1996. He is now a professor and head of the Laboratory for Structural Biology at Tsinghua University.
Professor Rao's interests are Structural Virology; Structural Biology; Mechanical signalling in tumour and immunology.
Professor Chengyu Jiang (China)
Chengyu Jiang is a professor and Executive Vice Dean of School of Basic Medicine at Peking Union Medical College and Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences. She obtained her B.S. from University of Science and Technology of China and PhD from Brown University followed by postdoctoral training at Massachusetts General Hospital, affiliated to Harvard Medical School before joining PUMC/CAMS in 2003.
Her research is to elucidate molecular pathogenesis of Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome induced by RNA viruses such as SARS-CoV, Avian and Swine Influenza, and Ebola. Her group has also studied molecular mechanism of lung fibrosis, Psychiatry and Cancer. She has proposed a number of repurposing drugs after elucidation of disease molecular targets. She published extensively in peer-reviewed journals including Nature, Nature Medicine, Molecular Psychiatry, Cell Research, and Nature Communications.
She is also an inventor of a number of international patents. Some of the patents are exclusively licensed to a top 5 international pharmaceutical companies. She received numerous honors including “Cheung Kong” Scholar, the young woman scientist of China, and national outstanding young award fund.
Professor Jiang's main interests are Medical Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and Respiratory Disease.
Professor Jianwei Wang (China)
Professor Jianwei Wang received his Ph. D. degree from the Chinese Academy of Preventive Medicine (Renamed as China CDC since 2002) in 1998. He has been the director and associate professor (2005-2008)/full professor (2008-) of Christophe Merieux Laboratory, Institute of Pathogen Biology (IPB), Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences (CAMS) & Peking Union Medical College (PUMC) since 2005 after he worked in China CDC for 8 years.
He was the board member of national R&D high-tech project (863 project, 2011-2015). He also serves as the board member of National Major Project of Prevention and Treatment of AIDS, Hepatitis and Other Major Infectious Diseases in China. He is the recipient of National Fund of Distinguished Young Scientist (2012) and Changjiang Scholarship Professor (2014). He is the member of editorial board of many science journals and standing members of academic societies. He has authored or co-authored more than 100 original papers in international peer-reviewed journals, including 80 corresponding author papers.
His main interests are Immunology of respiratory virus infection; virus-host interaction; innate immunity.
Professor Xuan Zhang (China)
Professor Xuan Zhang is Professor and Director of the Department of Research, Peking Union Medical College (PUMC) Hospital and Director of the Clinical Immunology Centre, Chinese Academy of Medical Science.
His speciality and research field of interest is Rheumatology & Clinical Immunology.
Professor Chen Wu (China)
Professor Wu's main research aims are to further analyzing genomic data of gastroenterology cancers and to characterize the functions and molecular mechanisms of identified genes and their variants in these cancers
She has been focusing on cancer genetics and genomics. His group conducted several genome-wide association studies of esophageal squamous-cell carcinoma (ESCC), pancreatic cancer et al in Chinese populations and identified several novel loci or variants associated with risk of the development of these cancers. They have not only continued but also expanded the research into two aspects: one is to further analyze genomic data of esophageal and pancreatic cancer and the other is to characterize the functions and molecular mechanisms of identified genes and their variants in these cancers.
Outstanding progresses in these studies have been achieved: (1) identification and functional characterization of LINC00673 found by genome-wide interrogation in pancreatic cancer; (2) characterizing the function of SLC39A6 found by our previous genome-wide association study of esophageal cancer; (3) identification of alcohol drinking-related mutation signature and novel genomic alterations in esophageal cancer by whole-genome DNA and RNA sequencing.
Current work is focusing on functional genomics screening of susceptible or driver genes and elucidation of the biological mechanisms of these genetic variations in ESCC.
Professor Zhendong Zhao (China)
The ongoing research work in my group focuses on the innate immune evasion mechanisms induced by different pathogens, such as EV71, HCV and MERS-CoV etc. and the impact on the host cell protein quality control system, including both autophagy and ERAD pathways, upon the viral infection, the cross talk between pathogen initiated innate signaling pathway and autophagy as well. In addition, my group also works on applying forward genetic approach (Validation-based insertional mutagenesis) to identify host factors that affect virus replication and reverse vaccinology strategy to screen potential mycobacteria antigens or adjuvants recognized by gdT cells. Finished work has been published on PloS Pathog, Autophagy etc.
Professor Tao Dong (Oxford)
The main objective of my group’s research is to focus on the functional aspects of the antigen specific T cells and studying the factors affecting T cells in controlling virus infection.
Professor Vincenzo Cerundolo (Oxford)
The principal aim of the Research in my laboratory is to gain a better understanding of the mechanisms that control the cell-cell interplay required for optimal expansion and activation of tumour-specific T cell populations and to apply this knowledge to the development of better treatment strategies in cancer patients.
Professor Sir Andrew McMichael (Oxford)
We are studying the immunodominant SLYNTVATL epitope presented by HLA-A2, showing selection of a sequence of mutations that impair T cell recognition. Why the T cells do not respond by new primary responses to the variants is also under investigation.
Professor Alison Simmons (Oxford)
We use large-scale molecular assays to define features of innate immune signaling pathways that are dysregulated in human disease. Definition of such molecular pathways often highlights strategies to reverse these defects. We have applied these techniques to study of various innate immune receptors including NOD2, a receptor that is defective in western Crohn’s disease. In work with the CTI we will extend these studies to explore innate signaling defects present in human liver disease that contribute to disease progression and development of hepatocellular carcinoma. This will enable molecular screens to define targets for novel therapeutic design in these conditions.
Professor Graham Ogg (Oxford)
Innate lymphoid cells represent a novel population of immune cells that are important in the control of ceratin infections, but also contribute to allergic and autoimmune disease. However their role in the potential control of malignant disease has not been well studied. Through the CTI collaboration, we are investigating whether innate lymphoid cells have a role in the control of hepatocellular carcinoma (liver cancer) and whether they provide possible opportunities for therapeutic intervention.
Professor Jan Rehwinkel (Oxford)
Our research dissects the molecular biology of activation and regulation of cytosolic nucleic acid sensors, during both virus infection and in inflammatory diseases.
Professor Alain Townsend (Oxford)
Most of my work has been concerned with the presentation of Influenza antigens with class I molecules of the Major Histocompatibility complex.
Professor Julian Knight (Oxford)
The overall aim of my research programme is to understand the genetic basis of susceptibility to common infectious, inflammatory and autoimmune diseases.
Professor Ling-Pei Ho (Oxford)
Our group is interested in understanding how monocytes and macrophages contribute to lung immune pathology, in particular lung fibrosis and severe influenza infection. Macrophages are a heterogeneous group of cells with divergent functions and origins. In the murine lungs, inflammatory and repair macrophages subsets are well established but a further functional subset involved in resolution of repair is less known, though these have been observed in other organs. In this collaboration, we investigate how these functional subsets change during lung infection and if the modifications worsen lung fibrosis.
Professor Jane McKeating (Oxford)
Our Research focuses on understanding early infection events that define cellular and tissue tropism of clinically important viruses.
Professor E. Yvonne Jones (Oxford)
The group's research addresses fundamental questions about cell-cell signalling systems of importance to human health.