MISSION STATEMENT:  PRODUCE NEW INSIGHTS INTO THE ETIOLOGY AND TREATMENT OF HUMAN DISEASES, BRING A STANDARD EXCELLENCE TO WHAT WE DO AS AN INDIVIDUAL SCIENTIST AND AS A LABORATORY, AND CREATE AN ENVIRONMENT THAT IS FAIR, RESPECTFUL, COURTEOUS, COLLEGIAL AND CONDUCIVE TO LEARNING AND TESTING NEW IDEAS.

Welcome to the Qi laboratory at University of Michigan Medical School. Currently, the laboratory has two focuses, protein degradation and quality control in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) and inflammation in β cells. We are composed of graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, technician and undergraduate students. In the summer of 2016 we relocated to the Department of Molecular & Integrative Physiology at the U Michigan Medical School from Cornell University Ithaca.

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.

Since 2007, we have 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). We strive to (1) investigate the physiological significance of protein misfolding and ERAD in health and disease, (2) identify the nature of endogenous proteins that are misfolding prone and ultimately, and (3) determine how to target ERAD for the treatment of human diseases.

Additionally, we explore how pancreatic β cell function is regulated by inflammation. This project is built upon our recent surprising observations 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
  • Type-1 and -2 diabetes (T1D/T2D)
  • Obesity and adipose biology
  • Fatty liver and gallstone disease
  • Neonatal diabetes or Mutant insulin-gene-induced diabetes of youth (MIDY)
  • Familial neurohypophyseal diabetes insipidus (FNDI)
  • 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 on the 5th floor of the Brehm Tower at the University of Michigan medical campus. Dr. Qi's office is Rm 5335 Brehm Tower. We welcome highly self-motivated individuals (postdoctoral fellows and graduate students) to join us. Please feel free to contact Dr. Ling Qi at lingq@med.umich.edu.

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 2002. 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. In 2013, he was promoted to Associate Professor with tenure. In the summer of 2016, he became the Professor at the Department of Molecular & Integrative Physiology at the University of Michigan Medical School.

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 Bio-Serv Award by the American Society for Nutrition. In 2012 and 2013, he was awarded the Career Development Award and prestigious Thomas Lee Award by the American Diabetes Association. In 2014, he was awarded the SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching. He was very popular with undergraduate students, whom nominated him twice as the faculty speaker at the graduation ceremony of Division of Nutritional Sciences at Cornell (2014 and 2016).

CURRENT FEDERAL FUNDING SUPPORT TO THE LAB:
NIH R01DK105393 
NIH R01GM113188 (at no-cost extension)
NIH R01DK111174 (co-PI)
NIH R01DK120330
NIH R01DK120047
NIH R01DK117639
NIH R35GM...
JDRF Strategic Program
ADA Innovative Basic Science Award


CURRENT FELLOWSHIPS:

American Diabetes Association Postdoctoral Fellowship (to Dr. G. Hyang Kim)
American Diabetes Association Postdoctoral Fellowship (to Dr. Zhangsen Zhou) 
American Heart Association Predoctoral Fellowship (to Asmita Bhattacharya)
Pew Latin American Fellowship (to Dr. Mauricio Torres) 
AHA Scientist Developmental Grant (to Dr. Yewei Ji)



WE ARE GRATEFUL FOR SUPPORT FROM THE FOLLOWING ORGANIZATIONS IN THE PAST.
https://www.nigms.nih.gov/     
http://www.niddk.nih.gov/
http://www.diabetes.org/    
http://www.afar.org/     
http://www.hhmi.org/     
http://www.niaaa.nih.gov/
http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/         
http://jdrf.org/