Dr. Kai Xu Lab

Research in the laboratory of Dr. Kai Xu primarily focuses on unraveling the complex mechanisms governing viral entry and antibody recognition, which are crucial elements in developing effective vaccines and therapeutics against viral infections.

Dr. Xu earned his Ph.D. from Cornell University Medical College under the mentorship of Dr. Dimitar Nikolov, where he specialized in the structural analysis of proteins involved in neuronal development and degenerative diseases. Following his doctoral studies, he pursued a postdoctoral fellowship in the laboratory of Dr. Peter Kwong at the Vaccine Research Center, delving into structure-based protein engineering and vaccine design.

In 2020, Dr. Xu joined The Ohio State University as a tenure-track assistant professor. His innovative contributions to the field led to his recruitment to the Texas Therapeutic Institute at UTHealth Houston in 2023. This transition provided his lab with expanded opportunities to further advance research endeavors and make impactful contributions to the field of infectious disease prevention and treatment. His lab uses an interdisciplinary approach that integrates virology, immunology, structural biology, and biochemistry to design and develop effective vaccines and antibody therapeutics against a spectrum of viral pathogens and diseases, including HIV, SARS-CoV-2, influenza, lyssavirus, henipavirus, and norovirus.

Dr. Xu is committed to mentoring the next generation of researchers and fostering collaborative efforts to combat infectious diseases. With a passion for advancing scientific knowledge and translating research into tangible solutions, Dr. Xu’s work holds promise for shaping the future of infectious disease prevention and treatment.


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Selected Publications

Qu P, Xu K, Faraone JN, Goodarzi N, Zheng YM, Carlin C, Bednash JS, Horowitz JC, Mallampalli RK, Saif LJ, Oltz EM, Jones D, Gumina RJ, Liu SL. Immune evasion, infectivity, and fusogenicity of SARS-CoV-2 BA.2.86 and FLip variants. Cell. 2024 Feb 1;187(3):585-595.e6

Qu P, Evans JP, Faraone JN, Zheng YM, Carlin C, Anghelina M, Stevens P, Fernandez S, Jones D, Lozanski G, Panchal A, Saif LJ, Oltz EM, Xu K, Gumina RJ, Liu SL. Enhanced neutralization resistance of SARS-CoV-2 Omicron subvariants BQ.1, BQ.1.1, BA.4.6, BF.7, and BA.2.75.2. Cell Host Microbe. 2023 Jan 11;31(1):9-17.e3.

Wang Z, Dang HV, Amaya M, Xu Y, Yin R, Yan L, Hickey AC, Annand EJ, Horsburgh BA, Reid PA, Smith I, Eden JS, Xu K, Broder CC, Veesler D. Potent monoclonal antibody-mediated neutralization of a divergent Hendra virus variant. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2022 May 31;119(22):e2122769119

Xu J, Xu K, Jung S, Conte A, Lieberman J, Muecksch F, Lorenzi JCC, Park S, Schmidt F, Wang Z, Huang Y, Luo Y, Nair MS, Wang P, Schulz JE, Tessarollo L, Bylund T, Chuang GY, Olia AS, Stephens T, Teng IT, Tsybovsky Y, Zhou T, Munster V, Ho DD, Hatziioannou T, Bieniasz PD, Nussenzweig MC, Kwong PD, Casellas R. Nanobodies from camelid mice and llamas neutralize SARS-CoV-2 variants. Nature. 2021 Jul;595(7866):278-282.

Chen Y, Xu K, Piccoli L, Foglierini M, Tan J, Jin W, Gorman J, Tsybovsky Y, Zhang B, Traore B, Silacci-Fregni C, Daubenberger C, Crompton PD, Geiger R, Sallusto F, Kwong PD, Lanzavecchia A. Structural basis of malaria RIFIN binding by LILRB1-containing antibodies. Nature. 2021 Apr;592(7855):639-643.

Laing ED, Navaratnarajah CK, Cheliout Da Silva S, Petzing SR, Xu Y, Sterling SL, Marsh GA, Wang LF, Amaya M, Nikolov DB, Cattaneo R, Broder CC, Xu KStructural and functional analyses reveal promiscuous and species specific use of ephrin receptors by Cedar virus. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2019 Oct 8;116(41):20707-20715.

Xu K, Acharya P, Kong R, Cheng C, Chuang GY, Liu K, Louder MK, O’Dell S, Rawi R, Sastry M, Shen CH, Zhang B, Zhou T, Asokan M, Bailer RT, Chambers M, Chen X, Choi CW, Dandey VP, Doria-Rose NA, Druz A, Eng ET, Farney SK, Foulds KE, Geng H, Georgiev IS, Gorman J, Hill KR, Jafari AJ, Kwon YD, Lai YT, Lemmin T, McKee K, Ohr TY, Ou L, Peng D, Rowshan AP, Sheng Z, Todd JP, Tsybovsky Y, Viox EG, Wang Y, Wei H, Yang Y, Zhou AF, Chen R, Yang L, Scorpio DG, McDermott AB, Shapiro L, Carragher B, Potter CS, Mascola JR, Kwong PD. Epitope-based vaccine design yields fusion peptide-directed antibodies that neutralize diverse strains of HIV-1. Nat Med. 2018 Jun;24(6):857-867

Kong R, Xu K, Zhou T, Acharya P, Lemmin T, Liu K, Ozorowski G, Soto C, Taft JD, Bailer RT, Cale EM, Chen L, Choi CW, Chuang GY, Doria-Rose NA, Druz A, Georgiev IS, Gorman J, Huang J, Joyce MG, Louder MK, Ma X, McKee K, O’Dell S, Pancera M, Yang Y, Blanchard SC, Mothes W, Burton DR, Koff WC, Connors M, Ward AB, Kwong PD, Mascola JR. Fusion peptide of HIV-1 as a site of vulnerability to neutralizing antibody. Science. 2016 May 13;352(6287):828-33.

Xu K, Wu Z, Renier N, Antipenko A, Tzvetkova-Robev D, Xu Y, Minchenko M, Nardi-Dei V, Rajashankar KR, Himanen J, Tessier-Lavigne M, Nikolov DB. Neural migration. Structures of netrin-1 bound to two receptors provide insight into its axon guidance mechanism. Science. 2014 Jun 13;344(6189):1275-9.