Hong Jiang, MD, PhD
Academic Appointment History
- 2015 to Present: Professor Emerita of Clinical Immunology in Medicine, Columbia University, College of P&S, Department of Medicine
- 2011 to 2015: Professor of Clinical Immunology in Medicine, Columbia University, College of P&S, Department of Medicine
- 2008 to 2011: Associate Professor of Clinical Immunology in Medicine, Columbia University, College of P&S, Department of Medicine
- 2005 to 2008: Assistant Professor of Clinical Medicine, Columbia University, College of P&S, Department of Medicine
- 1996 to 2005: Assistant Professor of Medicine, Columbia University, College Physicians and Surgeons, Department of Medicine
- 1995 to 1996: Associate Research Scientist, Columbia University, College of Physicians and Surgeons, Department of Medicine
The major theme of Dr. Jiang's research program is to understand how the immune system achieves self non-self discrimination, which remains a central conundrum in Immunology. Dr. Jiang is particularly interested in studying the relationship of peripheral T cell regulation and self non-self discrimination.
Dr. Jiang’s team initially identified a population of Qa-1/HLA-E restricted CD8+ T cells, and demonstrated that Qa-1/HLA-E restricted CD8+ T cells (Q/E CD8+ Treg) play an important role in maintaining peripheral self-tolerance. Her team further proposed and tested an “Avidity Model of Peripheral T Cell Regulation” (Avotres Model) in which self non-self discrimination can be achieved in the periphery by the Q/E CD8+ Treg to selective down-regulate intermediate avidity T cells to both self and foreign antigens. Because the peripheral self-reactive T cell repertoire is devoid of high avidity T cells compared with foreign-reactive repertoire due to thymic negative selection, the selective down-regulation of intermediate but not high avidity T cells enables the immune system to suppress autoimmunity without damaging the ongoing immune responses to foreign pathogens, a functional status of self non-self discrimination. Dr. Jiang and her team further demonstrated that a heat shock peptide (Hsp60sp), coupled with the MHC class Ib molecule Qa-1/HLA-E, is a surrogate target structure, preferentially expressed at a higher level on the intermediate avidity T cells and specifically recognized by the Q/E CD8+ Treg. Thus, perceiving the avidity of T cell activation can be translated into peripheral T cell regulation to discriminate self from non-self by a simple and unified mechanism of selective down-regulation of intermediate avidity T cells. More importantly, Dr. Jiang and her team translated the research from animal models into human autoimmune diseases. In a study of T1D patients, Dr. Jiang and her team have identified a defect in the T cell regulatory pathway which normally controls autoreactive T cells that attack the body’s own tissues and organs. A majority of people with T1D who were tested in the study were found to have the newly-identified cellular/molecular defect, and the researchers were able to successfully correct the defect in-vitro. This discovery led Dr. Jiang and her team to apply to FDA for an IND, which has been approved for a clinical trial to test a cell-based new drug AVT001 that they developed based on the conceptual framework of Avotres to treat T1D patients.
- Professor Emerita of Immunology (in Medicine) at CUMC
- Special Lecturer in Medicine