Jianming  Xie

Jianming Xie, PhD

Assistant Professor

Pharmacology and Pharmaceutical SciencesCurriculum Vitae

Research Topics

  1. Chemical Biology
  2. T-Cell Immunology
  3. Protein Engineering
  4. CAR-T Cell Engineering
  5. Novel Immune Monitoring Technology
  6. Immunotherapy for Cancer, HIV and Autoimmune Diseases

Contact Information

  • jianminx@usc.edu
  • USC School of Pharmacy
    1985 Zonal Ave PSC 304A
    Los Angeles CA 90089-9121
  • PSC 304BA
  • 323-442-2341
  • PSC 304A
  • 323-442-0303
  • 323-442-7473


Postdoc, HHMI and Stanford University, 2006-2014
Ph.D., The Scripps Research Institute, 2001-2006
M.S., Shanghai Institute of Organic Chemistry, 1997-2000
B.S., Fudan University, 1992-1997

Jianming Xie

Research Interest

The Xie Lab develops and applies novel Chemical Biology and Protein Engineering tools for understanding and enhancing the function of the immune system to combat cancer, HIV, and autoimmune diseases. Specifically, we are interested in further expanding the scope of a powerful technique that Dr. Xie previously helped pioneer for the site-specific incorporation of unnatural amino acids into recombinant proteins. And more importantly, we integrate this unique tool with other advanced technologies (such as fluorescence microscopy, nanotechnology, and cellular engineering) to interrogate the specificity and efficiency of antigen recognition by conventional and/or CAR-engineered T cells. Additionally, we are interested in using unnatural amino acids to facilitate the design of therapeutic proteins. The long-term goal of our research is to use the obtained knowledge to advance the development of next-generation cellular and protein immunotherapeutics against cancer, HIV, and autoimmune diseases.


Jianming Xie was born and raised in Putian, China. He received the B.S. degree in Chemistry with highest honors from Fudan University, Shanghai, China, in 1997, and the M.S. degree in Organic Chemistry from Shanghai Institute of Organic Chemistry (SIOC), China, in 2000. In his M.S. research in the laboratory of Prof. Yongzheng Hui and Prof. Biao Yu, he completed the synthesis of a complex natural glycoside using a one-pot four-glycosylation method. He later switched his interest to Chemical Biology, and moved to the United States in 2001 to pursue a Ph.D. degree under the guidance of Prof. Peter Schultz at the Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, California. There, he helped pioneer a novel biosynthetic method to site-specifically incorporate unnatural amino acids into recombinant proteins in E. coli. His work has enabled the design and synthesis of novel protein structures and functions that do not exist in nature. After receiving his Ph.D. degree in 2006, he became interested in Immunology and joined the laboratory of Prof. Mark Davis as a Cancer Research Institute (CRI) Irvington postdoctoral fellow at Stanford University, Stanford, California. His postdoctoral research integrated the method of site-specific protein modification with fluorescence microscopy and flow cytometry for the study of antigen recognition by T cells. This work revealed ligand-dependent transport of T cell receptors to the immunological synapse, and also led to the development of a protein photochemistry approach to isolate rare antigen-specific T cells from patient blood samples. In December 2014, he started his lab in the Department of Pharmacology and Pharmaceutical Sciences at the University of Southern California (USC) School of Pharmacy. His lab combines synthetic peptide chemistry, protein design, cellular engineering, and fluorescence microscopy in order to interrogate, engineer, and enhance the specificity and efficiency of T cell antigen recognition. The long-term goal is to use the obtained knowledge to guide the design of enhanced immunotherapy and vaccines against cancer, infection, and autoimmune diseases.

Selected Projects/Publications

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J. Xie; C.M. Tato and M.M. Davis. How the immune system talks to itself: The varied role of synapses. Immunological Reviews, 2013, 251, 65-79 PubMed

J. Huang; M. Brameshuber; X. Zeng; J. Xie; Q-J. Li; Y-H. Chien; S. Valitutti and M.M. Davis. A single peptide–major histocompatibility complex ligand triggers digital cytokine secretion in CD4+ T cells. Immunity, 2013, 39, 846-857. PubMed

J. Xie; J.B. Huppa; E.W. Newell; J. Huang; P.J.R. Ebert; Q-J. Li and M.M. Davis.  Photocrosslinkable pMHC monomers stain T cells specifically and cause ligand-bound TCRs to be ‘preferentially’ transported to the cSMAC. Nature Immunology, 2012, 13, 674-680. PubMed

P.J.R. Ebert; S. Jiang; J. Xie; Q-J. Li and M.M. Davis. An endogenous positively selecting peptide enhances mature T cell responses and becomes an autoantigen in the absence of microRNA miR-181a. Nature Immunology, 2009, 10, 1162-1170.


S.C. Kao; H. Wu; J. Xie; C.P. Chang; J.A. Ranish; I.A. Graef and G.R. Crabtree. Calcineurin/NFAT signaling is required for neuregulin-regulated Schwann cell differentiation. Science, 2009, 323, 651-654.


M.R. Seyedsayamdost; J. Xie; C.T. Chan; P.G. Schultz and J. Stubbe.  Site-specific insertion of 3-aminotyrosine into subunit alpha2 of E. coli ribonucleotide reductase: direct evidence for involvement of Y730 and Y731 in radical propagation. J. Am. Chem. Soc., 2007, 129, 15060-15071.


J. Xie; W. Liu. and P.G. Schultz. A genetically encoded bidentate, metal-chelating amino acid in E. coli. Angew Chem. Int. Ed. 2007, 65, 9239-9242.


J. Xie; L. Supekova and P.G. Schultz. A genetically encoded metabolically stable analogue of phosphotyrosine in E. coli. ACS Chem. Biol. 2007, 2, 474-478. PubMed

J. Xie and P.G. Schultz. A chemical tool for proteins – an expanded genetic code. Nature Reviews Mol. Cell. Biol. 2006, 7, 775-782. PubMed

J. Xie and P.G. Schultz. An expanding genetic code. Methods, 2005, 36, 227-238.


J. Xie; L. Wang; N. Wu; A. Brock; A. Spraggon and P.G. Schultz. The site-specific incorporation of p-iodo-L-phenylalanine into proteins for structure determination. Nature Biotechnology, 2004, 22, 1297-1301. PubMed

B. Yu*; J. Xie; S. Deng; Y. Hui. First synthesis of a bidesmosidic triterpene saponin by a highly efficient procedure. J. Am. Chem. Soc., 1999, 121, 12196-12197 -Link