Jianming Xie received his BS in chemistry from Fudan University, Shanghai, China, in 1997, and MS in organic chemistry from Shanghai Institute of Organic Chemistry, China, in 2000. In his MS 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 PhD 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 PhD in 2006, he became interested in immunology and joined the laboratory of Prof. Mark Davis as a Cancer Research Institute Irvington postdoctoral fellow at Stanford University. 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 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.