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Qi Research Lab

Welcome to the Qi laboratory website. Currently, the laboratory has two focuses, Quality-Control in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) and Inflammation in β cells. We are composed of graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, technician and undergraduate students.

The accumulation of misfolded proteins and protein aggregates is a key determinant of many human diseases, such as various forms of diabetes, cancer, liver and lung diseases as well as the aging process. The accumulation of misfolded proteins and protein aggregates can slow down cell replication and impair cell function. Thus, understanding of how these potentially disease-causing proteins are formed and cleared will be important for the design and development of future therapeutic strategies to prevent or treat these human diseases.

I am Ling Qi. I am currently an associate professor at Division of Nutritional Sciences at Cornell University. Since 2007, my laboratory has been focused on the role of ER homeostasis and inflammation in human health and disease. ER is the cellular organelle where folding and maturation of secretory and membrane proteins occur. One of the fundamental processes in the cell that deal with protein misfolding and aggregation in the ER is the ER-associated degradation (ERAD). My laboratory strives to (1) investigate the physiological role of ERAD in health and disease, to (2) identify the nature of endogenous proteins that are misfolding prone and ultimately, to (3) determine how to target ERAD for the treatment of human diseases.

Additionally, my laboratory explores how pancreatic β cell function is regulated by inflammation. This project is built upon our striking finding that pancreatic β cell proliferation is significantly elevated upon the loss of function of innate immune receptors. As β cells are notoriously low proliferation, this finding opens the door for future therapeutics to increase β cell proliferation in humans with type-1 or -2 diabetes.

Our studies have provided important insights into the pathogenesis of various diseases. The disease models that are being investigated in the laboratory include

  1. Type-1 and -2 diabetes (T1D/T2D)
  2. Fatty liver and gallstone disease
  3. Neonatal diabetes or Mutant insulin-gene-induced diabetes of youth (MIDY)
  4. Familial neurohypophyseal diabetes insipidus (FNDI)
  5. Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)

Investigation of fundamental cellular events occurring at early stages of these diseases can shed light on possible therapeutic treatment and prevention strategies. In addition, we are generating novel mouse models carrying these diseases, which hold the key to the development of therapeutic biologicals in the future. Finally, investigation of these seemingly pathologically distinct diseases will shed light on the common molecular mechanisms underlying the pathology.

Our laboratory is located at the center of the Cornell Ithaca campus. We have extensive interaction with members in Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics, Division of Nutritional Sciences and the Vet School. Dr. Qi is a member of Genes & Development ( G&D), Biochemistry, Molecular & Cellular Biology ( BMCB), Nutritional Sciences ( NS), Molecular and Integrative Physiology ( MIP) and Immunology & Infectious Diseases ( Immunol) graduate fields.

Our laboratory aims to bring a standard excellence to what we do as individuals and as a laboratory. We strive to create an environment that is fair, respectful, collegial and conducive to new ideas. We welcome highly self-motivated individuals (postdoctoral fellows and graduate students) to join us. Please feel free to visit us (Rm. 307/309 of the Biotechnology Building) or contact Dr. Ling Qi.

Career: Dr. Qi received his undergraduate degree in Microbiology from the Fudan University, China in 1997 and his Ph.D. in Immunology with Dr. Suzanne Ostrand-Rosenberg from the University of Maryland in 2001. He was a postdoc at Johns Hopkins University Medical School with Dr. Carol Greider, 2009 Nobel Laureate (2001-2004) and the Salk Institute with Dr. Marc Montminy (2004-2007) prior to joining the faculty of Cornell University in 2007 as an Assistant Professor.

Awards: Dr. Qi became a Leukemia and Lymphoma Society Postdoctoral Fellow in 2002 and Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow in 2005. In 2008, he was the recipient of the Junior Faculty Award from the American Diabetes Association and the Young Investigator Award from the American Federation for Aging Research. In 2011, he was awarded the Young Investigator Award by the American Society for Nutrition. In 2012, he was awarded the Career Development Award by the American Diabetes Association.






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