Contact Information
Address(Office)E12-3022Qi ZHAO
Phone(Office)8822 4824
(Lab)8822 2953
Fax8822 2314
Ph.D.Department of Biochemistry, The Chinese University of Hong Kong
M.Sc.College of Life Sciences, Jilin University
B.Sc.College of Life Sciences, Jilin University
2016-presentAssistant Professor, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Macau
2013-2016Principle Investigator, Shenzhen Institutes of Advanced Technology, Chinese Academy of Sciences
2011-2013Research Associate, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center
2008-2011Postdoctoral Fellow, National Cancer Institute, NIH
Research Interests

Our group is interested in the development of antibody-based therapeutics for cancer. The research focuses on engineering of monoclonal antibodies, bispecific antibodies, or chimeric antigen receptors (CARs) to treat tumors. We identify novel human monoclonal antibodies from antibody phage libraries. Monoclonal antibodies typically IgGs can destroy tumor cells by utilizing mechanisms of antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity (ADCC) or antibody-drug conjugation (ADC). By using these antibodies as vehicles, bispecific antibodies directed at tumor antigens and human CD3 can engage T cells to lyse tumors. Additionally, all of these antibodies can be reshaped to build CAR to redirect T cells.

Areas of Expertise:

(1) antibody engineering; (2) CAR-modified T cells ; (3) antibody-drug conjugation; (4)  phage and yeast display libraries

Representative Publications
  1. Zhu L, Liu J, Zhou G, Wu X, Ang IL, Ma G, Liu Y, Yang S, Zhang F, Miao K, Poon TCW, Zhang X, Yuan Z, Deng CX, Zhao Q. Targeting Immune Checkpoint B7-H3 Antibody-Chlorin e6 Conjugates for Spectroscopic Photoacoustic Imaging and Photodynamic Therapy. Chemical Communications. 2019. DOI: 1039/C9CC06839B
  2. Qi Zhao, Novel chimeric antigen receptor T cells based on T-cell receptor-like antibodies, Blood Sciences, 2019, 1(2), 144-147.
  3. Zhu L, Li P, Gao D, Liu J, Liu Y, Sun C. Xu M. Chen X, Sheng Z, Wang R. Yuan Z. Cai L, Ma Y, Zhao Q. pH-sensitive loaded retinal/indocyanine green micelles as a “all-in-one” theranostic agent for multi-modal imaging in vivo guided cellular senescence-photothermal synergistic therapy. Chemical Communications, 2019. 55 (44), 6209-6212
  4. Huang S, Yang J, Fong S, Zhao Q. Mining Prognosis Index of Brain Metastases Using Artificial Intelligence. Cancers. 2019. 11(8): 1140
  5. Huang S, Zhao Q. Nanomedicine-combined immunotherapy for cancer. Current Medicinal Chemistry. 55 (44), 6209-6212
  6. Hu D, Zhu Z, Li S, Deng Y, Wu Y, Zhang N, Puri V, Wang C, Zou P, Lei C, Tian X, Wang Y, Zhao Q, Li W, Prabakaran P, Feng Y, Cardosa J, Qin C, Zhou X, Dimitrov DS, Ying T. A broadly neutralizing germline-like human monoclonal antibody against dengue virus envelope domain III. PLoS Pathogens.2019 Jun 26;15(6):e1007836
  7. J Liu, G Zhou, L Zhang, Q Zhao, Building potent chimeric antigen receptor T cells with CRISPR genome editing. Frontiers in Immunology. 2019, 10: 456
  8. Shigao Huang, Chi Ian Fong, Mengze Xu, Bing-nan Han, Zhen Yuan, Qi Zhao. Nano-loaded natural killer cells as carriers of ICG for synergetic cancer immunotherapy and phototherapy. Journal of Innovative Optical Health Sciences. 2019. 12 (03), 1941002
  9. Y Wang, Y Shan, X Gao, R Gong, J Zheng, XD Zhang, Q Zhao. Screening and expressing HIV-1 specific antibody fragments in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Molecular immunology 2018. 103, 279-285.
  10. Gao H, Huang S, Du J, Zhang X, Jiang N, Kang W, Mao J, Zhao Q. Comparison of Prognostic Indices in NSCLC Patients with Brain Metastases after Radiosurgery. International Journal of Biological Sciences. 2018: 14(14):2065-2072.
  11. Wu Y, Chen Z, Zhang P, Zhou L, Jiang T, Chen H, Gong P, Dimitrov DS, CaiL, Zhao Q, Recombinant-fully-human-antibody decorated highly-stable far-red AIEdots for in vivo HER-2 receptor-targeted imaging. Chemical Communications. 2018. 54(53):7314-7317
  12. Li D, Yao G, Han B, Liu J, Su W, Wang P, Zhu Z, Dimitrov DS, Zhao Q, N-terminal α-amino group modification of antibodies using a site-selective click chemistry method. mAbs. 2018 10(5):712-719.
  13. Hao D, Liu J, Chen M, Li J, Wang L, Wang G, Zhao Q, Di LJ. Immunogenomic analyses of advanced serous ovarian cancer reveal immune score is a strong prognostic factor and an indicator of chemo-sensitivity. Clin Cancer Res. 2018. 24(15):3560-3571
  14. Chen Z, Liu J, Chu D, Ma G, Zhang H, Shan Y, Chen Q, Deng C, Chen W, Dimitrov DS, Zhao Q, A dual-specific IGF-I/II human engineered antibody domain inhibits IGF signaling in breast cancer cells. International Journal of Biological Sciences. 2018. 14(7):799-806
  15. Xie R, Zhang X, Zhao Q, Peng B, Zheng J. Analysis of global prevalence of antibiotic resistance in Acinetobacter baumannii infections disclosed a faster increase in OECD countries. Emerging Microbes & Infections 2018. 7:31 DOI 10.1038/s41426-018-0038-9.
  16. XuY,Li P, Nie J, Zhao Q, Guan S, Kuai, Qiao Y, Jiang X, Li Y, Li W, Shi Y, Kong W, Shan Y, Humanization and directed evolution of the selenium-containing scFv phage abzyme. RSC Adv., 2018,8, 17218-17223
  17. Xu T, Ying T, Wang L, Zhang X, Wang Y, Kang L, Huang T, Cheng L, Wang L, Zhao Q. A native-like bispecific antibody suppresses the inflammatory cytokine response by simultaneously neutralizing tumor necrosis factor-alpha and interleukin-17A. Oncotarget. 2017.8 (47), 81860-81872
  18. Chu D, Dong X, Zhao Q, Gu J, Wang Z. Photosensitization priming of tumor microenvironments improves delivery of nanotherapeutics via neutrophil infiltration. Advanced Materials. 2017. 29(27). doi: 10.1002/adma.201701021
  19. Li D, Gong R, Zheng J, Chen X, Dimitrov D, Zhao Q, Engineered antibody CH2 domains binding to nucleolin: Isolation, characterization and improvement of aggregation. Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications. 2017 (17): 30328-5.
  20. Chen Z, Wang L, Xu T, Wang Q, Kang L, Zhao Q. Generation of bispecific antibodies by Fc heterodimerization and their application. Current Pharmaceutical Biotechnology. 2016.17:1324-1332.
  21. Chu D, Zhao Q, Yu J, Zhang F, Zhang H, Wang J. Nanoparticle Targeting of Neutrophils for Improved Cancer Immunotherapy. Advanced Healthcare Materials, 2016.5(9):1088-93.
  22. Li D, Liu J, Zhang L, Xu T, Chen J, Wang L, Zhao Q. N terminal residues of an HIV-1 gp41 membrane-proximal external region antigen might hinder to direct neutralizing 2F5-like antibodies. Virologica Sinica, 2015.30: 449-456
  23. Ahmed M, Cheng M, Zhao Q, Guo H, Cheal S, Larson S, Cheung N. Humanized affinity-matured monoclonal antibody 8H9 has potent anti-tumor activity and binds to FG loop of B7-H3. Journal of Biological Chemistry, 2015.290 (50):30018-29.
  24. Zhang L, Chen J, Zhao Q. (2015) Regulatory Roles of Alu Transcript on Gene Expression Regulation. Experimental Cell Research. 2015.338(1):113-8.
  25. Zhao Q, Ahmed M, Guo H, Cheung IY, Cheung NK. Alteration of electrostatic surface potential enhances affinity and tumor killing properties of anti-GD2 monoclonal antibody hu3F8. Journal of Biological Chemistry. 2015.290:13017-13027
  26. Zhao Q, Ahmed M, Tassev DV,Hasan A, Kuo T, Guo H, O’Reilly RJ, Cheung NK. Affinity maturation of T-cell receptor-like antibodies for Wilms tumor 1 peptide greatly enhances therapeutic potential. Leukemia. 2015.29(11):2238-2247
  27. Zhao Q, Tran H, Dimitrov DS, Cheung NK. (2015) A dual specific anti-IGF-1/IGF-2 human monoclonal antibody alone and in combination with temsirolimus for therapy of neuroblastoma. International Journal of Cancer. 2015.137:2243-2252
  28. Leung SO, Gao K, Wang GY, Cheung BK, Lee KY, Zhao Q, Cheung WT, Wang JZ. Surrogate target cells expressing surface anti-idiotype antibody for the clinical evaluation of an internalizing CD22-specific antibody. mAbs. 2015.7(1):66-76
  29. Feng Y, Zhao Q, Chen W, Wang Y, Crowder K, Dimitrov DS, A new bispecific antibody targeting non-overlapping epitopes on IGF2: Design, in vitro characterization and pharmacokinetics in macaques. Experimental and Molecular Pathology. 2014.97: 359-67
  30. Zhao Q, Wong PF, Lee ST, Cheung WT, Leung RO, Wang JZ, Generation of anti-idiotype scFv for pharmacokinetic measurement in lymphoma patients treated with chimera anti-CD22 antibody SM03, PLOS One. 2014.9(5): e96697
  31. Zhang R, Zhang CY, Zhao Q, Li DH, Spectrin: Structure, function and disease, SCIENCE CHINA-Life Sciences 2013.12: 1076–1085
  32. Zhao Q., Zhu Z., Dimitrov D. Yeast display of engineered antibody domain. Methods in Molecular Biology, 2012.899: 73-84
  33. Chen W, Feng Y, Zhao Q, Zhu Z, Dimitrov D. Human monoclonal antibodies targeting nonoverlapping epitopes on insulin-like growth factor II as a novel type of candidate cancer therapeutics. Molecular Cancer Therapeutics 2012.11 (7): 1400-10
  34. Zhao Q., Feng Y., Zhu Z., Dimitrov D. Human monoclonal antibodies to IGF1/2 with picomolar affinity. Molecular Cancer Therapeutics, 2011.10(9); 1677-85
  35. Cheng M., Chan S., Zhao Q., Chan E., Au S., Lee S., Cheung W.T., Construction and Characterization of Single-chain Variable Fragment Antibody Library Derived from Germline Rearranged Immunoglobulin Variable Genes. PLOS One6(11): e27403
  36. Chen W., Feng Y., Zhu Z., Zhao Q., Dimitrov D. Engineered single human CD4 domains as potent HIV-1 inhibitors and components of vaccine immunogens. Journal of Virology, 2011.85 (18): 9395-405
  37. Gong R., Wang Y., Feng Y., Zhao Q., Dimitrov D. Shortened Engineered Human Antibody CH2 Domains: Increased Stability and Binding to the Human Neonatal Receptor. Journal of Biological Chemistry, 2011.286(31): 27288-93
  38. Zhu Z., Qin H., Chen W., Zhao Q., et al. Cross-reactive HIV-1-neutralizing human monoclonal antibodies identified from a patient with 2F5-like antibodies. Journal of Virology, 2011.85(21)11401-8
  39. Zhao Q., Chan Y.W., Lee S.S., Cheung W.T. One-step expression and purification of single-chain variable antibody fragment using an improved hexahistidine tag phagemid vector. Protein Expression and Purification, 2009.68(2):190-5.
  40. Cheng M., Chan C.W., Cheung R.C., Bikkavilli R.K., Zhao Q., Au S.W., Chan P.K., Lee S.S., Cheng G., Ho W.K. and Cheung W.T. Cross-reactivity of antibody against SARS-coronavirus nucleocapsid protein with IL-11. Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications338: 1654-60.
  41. Liu J., Zhao Q., Zhao B., Cheng J., Wang X., Song L., Zhang Z., Lin Q. and Huang H. A new format of single chain tri-specific antibody with diminished molecular size efficiently induces ovarian tumor cell killing. Biotechnology Letters 2005. 27: 1821-7.
  42. Wang X.B., Zhao B.F., Zhao Q., Piao J.H., Liu J., Lin Q. and Huang H.L. A new recombinant single chain trispecific antibody recruits T lymphocytes to kill CEA (carcinoma embryonic antigen) positive tumor cells in vitro efficiently. Journal of Biochemistry 2004.135: 555-65.


Full Publications List
Research Grants
  1. The international cooperation project of Guangzhou Government, Development of targeting PD-1 enhanced WT1-specific T cell therapies in leukemias. (201807010004). 2018-2021.
  2. The Science and Technology Development Fund of Macau(FDCT/0015/2018/A1), Development of potent TCR-minic CAR T cells with multiplex genome editing, 2018-202
  3. The Science and Technology Development Fund of Macau(FDCT/131/2016/A3), Multi-targeting therapy of T-cell receptor-mimic antibodies recognizing tumor-specific class I MHC-peptide epitopes 2017-2020.
  4. International Cooperation Project of Guangdong Province: Studies of insulin-like growth factors as new targets in cancer therapy, 2016-2018.
  5. Natural Science Fund of Guangdong: Novel anti-IGF bispecific antibodies for therapy of breast cancer, 2015-2018
  6. Novo Nordisk- CAS jointed research fund (NNCAS-2013-9), Novel bispecific antibodies for the treatment of autoimmune diseases. 2014-2015.
  7. National Science Fund of China (31440041), In vitro directed evolution of germline T-cell receptor mimic antibodies for T cell therapy. 2015
  1. CD22-targeted high-lethality chimeric antigen receptor T-cell and use thereof in preparation of drugs for treating tumors. CN105968210A
  2. IgG hybrid bispecific antibody against TNFα and IL-17a, PCT/CN2015/099847
  3. Universal recombinant expression vector and construction method and application thereof, CN103725705A
  4. Method for establishing HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) virus antibody yeast display library, method for screening virus broad-spectrum neutral antibody and application thereof. CN104725501A
  5. Expression cassette for antibody expression, expression vector, host cell containing the expression vector, preparation method and applications of the host cell. CN104711253A
  6. High affinity anti-GD2 antibodies. PCT/US2014/029308
  7. Antigen-Binding Proteins Specific for HLA-A2-Restricted Wilms Tumor 1 Peptide, U.S. Patent Application No: 61/944,478
  8. Human monoclonal antibodies that bind insulin-like growth factor (IGF) I and II, PCT/US2012/033128
  9. An engineering recombinant anti-CEA/CD3/CD28 single-chain tri-specific antibody, PCT/US 2009/0117108
Federal Technology Transfer Award, NIH, USA, 2011
Professional Activities

  1. Committee member, Shenzhen Society of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
  2. Committee member, Sino-American NIH Scholars Association
  3. Member, Chinese Society for Immunology

Journal Reviewer

  1. Biochimie
  2. International Journal of Biological Sciences
  3. Current Pharmaceutical Biotechnology
  4. Virologica Sinica
  5. Hybridoma
Conference Presentations

  • 1st Symposium of Chinese NIH Young Scholars, Beijing, China 2016
  • 3rd Macau Symposium on Biomedical Sciences, Macau, 2016
  • 2nd Sino-German Symposium, HSCT and Cellular Therapy for Hematological Malignancies, Heidelberg, German, 2015
  • 9th Biennial meeting of  Chinese Society for  Immunology,  Jinan,  China,2014
  • Protein Engineering Summit (PEGS), Shanghai, China, 2014
  • BIT’s 11th Annual Congress of International Drug Discovery Science & Technology, Haikou, China, 2013
  • Annual Congress of Guangdong Society for Immunology, Guangzhou, China, 2013

Teaching of undergraduate students

  1. Immunology and infectious diseases (HSCI3002).
  2. Stem Cells and Regenerative Medicine (HSCI4002)