Qingsheng Li
Qingsheng Li
Associate Professor

Ph.D. Beijing University Medical School, 1995
Master Med Sc. Shanxi Medical University, 1990
Contact Information
University of Nebraska-Lincoln
School of Biological Sciences
Nebraska Center for Virology
305 Morrison Center
4240 Fair Street
Lincoln NE 68583-0900

Office Phone: 402-472-5922
Lab Phone: 402-472-6984
Fax: 402-472-3323
Email: qli4@unl.edu


Research Interests

My research is focused on studying HIV-1 pathogenesis, transmission and prevention using single cell in situ analyses and in vivo SIV-rhesus macaque and humanized-BLT (bone marrow liver and thymus) mouse models of HIV-1 infection.  I have published extensively on HIV/SIV transmission, pathogenesis and prevention, including one paper in Science and two papers in Nature as the leading author. 


R01 DK087625-01 (Q. Li, PI)          NCE                                              08/15/2010-08/14/2015 NIH
The Early Events Determining SIV Rectal Transmission

Anal intercourse is a common mode of HIV-1 transmission, particularly for men who have sex with men, however, many fundamental and mechanistic questions remain. The objective of this study is to understand the early events in HIV-1 rectal transmission and to gain new insights, which will potentially lead to new intervention strategies, including vaccines and topical microbicides optimized for rectal use.

3 R01 DK087625-03S1 (Q. Li, PI)      NCE                                                  09/30/2011-08/15/2015 NIH 
The Early Events of SIV Rectal Transmission in Indian and Chinese rhesus macaque

Anorectum is a major HIV transmission route, especially for men who have sex with men. Study of the early events of rectal transmission of SIV in rhesus macaques of distinct origin will gain new insights into how to prevent HIV-1 rectal transmission, since HIV transmission occurs in individuals of distinct and diverse origin.

R01 (Q. Li, J Guo, dual-PIs)                                                                     05/01/2014-04/31/2018 NIH

We propose to test this hypothesis with three specific aims. Specific Aim 1, to control the replication of novel Δnef-LAV in vitro, of which we will apply and further optimize blank codon suppression strategy and incorporate suppression tRNA*-aaRS* pair into the HIV-1 genome to control HIV-1 replication by supplementing or withdrawing UAA* in mammalian cells in vitro. Specific Aim 2, to control novel Δnef-LAV replication in vivo, of which we will compare and contrast the in vivo replication capacity and kinetics of the novel Δnef-LAV that has passed multi-cycle replication tests in vitro in the Specific Aim 1 with conventional Δnef-LAV using humanized-BLT mice. Specific Aim 3, novel Δnef-LAV in vivo protection, of which we will compare the protection rate of novel Δnef-LAV vs. conventional Δnef-LAV against HIV-1 rectal challenge using hu-BLT mice.

5 U19 AI096187-04 (MPI: Ahmed, Rafi, Eric Hunter, Emory University)    07/01/2011-06/30/2016 NIH
$26,000,000    (Q. Li subaward: $105,183  07/01/2014-06/30/2016)
B-cell Biology of Mucosal Immune Protection from SIV Challenge

The Emory Consortium for B-Cell Biology of Mucosal Immune Protection from SIV Challenge, using highly collaborative approaches, will define, through advanced immunological and systems biology approaches, the underlying mechanisms for enhanced antibody avidity and protection.

R01 AI094603-01  (Montaner, Luis PI)                                                    04/15/11-04/14/16 NIH
(Q. Li subaward: $278,440)
Early Innate/IgA Anti-HIV/SIV Response in Exposed and Uninfected

Determining the presence of local cellular cervical tissue infiltrate, IFN-mediated gene expression, and mucosal anti-HIV IgA antibody responses in 3 well-defined groups of women with differential exposure risk based on sexual activity/partner 2. Determine if repeated cervico-vaginal exposures to non-infectious SIV E660 exposures induce a persistent innate cellular infiltrate (plasmacytoid DCs, NK, macrophages) that in combination with mucosal SIV-specific IgA antibody levels directly correlate with infectivity thresholds with SIV mac251.

Selected Peer-Reviewed Publications

Wang, L. X., G. Kang, P. Kumar, W. Lu, Y. Li, Y. Zhou, Q. Li, and C. Wood. Humanized-BLT mouse model of Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus infection. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A, 2014, 111:3146-51.  PMCID: PMC3939909   (Corresponding author). 

Wang, N., Y. Li, W. Niu, M. Sun, R. Cerny, Q. Li, and J. Guo. Construction of a Live-Attenuated HIV-1 Vaccine through Genetic Code Expansion. Angewandte  Chemie  International. 2014, 5; 53 (19):4867-71. PMID: 24715496 ((Nat Chem (2014 6:566-568) commented this paper)) (Corresponding author).

Wang, Z., A. Zhang, Y. Wan, X. Liu, C. Qiu, X. Xi, Y. Ren, J. Wang, Y. Dong, M. Bao, L. Li, M. Zhou, S. Yuan, J. Sun, Z. Zhu, L. Chen, Q. Li, Z. Zhang, X. Zhang, S. Lu, P. C. Doherty, K. Kedzierska, and J. Xu. 2014. Early hypercytokinemia is associated with interferon-induced transmembrane protein-3 dysfunction and predictive of fatal H7N9 infection. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A, 2014, 111:769-774.

Demers, A., G. Kang, F. Ma, W. Lu, Z. Yuan, Y. Li, M. Lewis, E. N. Kraiselburd, L. Montaner, and Q. Li.  The mucosal expression pattern of interferon-epsilon in rhesus macaques. J Leukoc Biol , 2014. 96:1101-1107. (Corresponding author). 

Lu W, F. Ma, A. Tchourbanov, Y.  Li, G. Kang,  Z. Yuan, D. Wang, C. Zhang, J. Xu, M. Lewis, Q. Li.    Virus–host mucosal interactions during early SIV rectal transmission. Virology, 2014, 464–465:406-414.  PMID: 25128762. (Corresponding author).

Li, Q., M. Zeng, L. Duan, J. E. Voss, A. J. Smith, S. Pambuccian, L. Shang, S. Wietgrefe, P. J. Southern, C. S. Reilly, P. J. Skinner, M. L. Zupancic, J. V. Carlis, M. Piatak, D. Waterman, R. K. Reeves, K. Masek-Hammerman, C. A. Derdeyn, M. D. Alpert, D. T. Evans, H. Kohler, S. Müller, J. Robinson, J. D. Lifson, D. R. Burton, R. P. Johnson, and A. T. Haase. Live Simian Immunodeficiency Virus Vaccine Correlate of Protection: Local Antibody Production and Concentration on the Path of Virus Entry. The Journal of Immunology. 2014, 193:3113-3125. (cover article)

Shaheed A., M. Martinez, G. Kang, A. Foulkes, I. V. Rodriguez,  S.M. Nichols, M. Hunter, C. Sariol, L.A. Ruiz, B. Ross, X. Yin, D. Speicher, A. Haase, P.A. Marx, Q. Li, E. K., and L.J. Montaner. Serial Cervicovaginal Exposures With Replication-Deficient SIVsm Induce Higher Dendritic Cell (pDC) and CD4+ T-Cell Infiltrates Not Associated With Prevention but a More Severe SIVmac251 Infection of Rhesus Macaques. J. AIDS. 2014, 65:405-413 410. PMID: 24226059.

Smith, A. J., S. W. Wietgrefe, L. Shang, C. S. Reilly, P. J. Southern, K. E. Perkey, L. Duan, H. Kohler, S. Müller, J. Robinson, J. V. Carlis, Q. Li, R. P. Johnson, and A. T. Haase. 2014. Live Simian Immunodeficiency Virus Vaccine Correlate of Protection: Immune Complex–Inhibitory Fc Receptor Interactions That Reduce Target Cell Availability. The Journal of Immunology. 2014 193:3126-3133.

Gibbs, A., T. Hirbod, Q. Li, K. Bohman, T. B. Ball, F. A. Plummer, R. Kaul, J. Kimani, K. Broliden, and A. Tjernlund. Presence of CD8+ T cells in the ectocervical mucosa correlates with genital viral shedding in HIV-infected women despite a low prevalence of HIV RNA-expressing cells in the tissue. J Immunol. 2014, 192:3947-3957.

Barrenas, F., R. E. Palermo, B. Agricola, M. B. Agy, L. Aicher, V. Carter, L. Flanary, R. R. Green, R. McLain, Q. Li, W. Lu, R. Murnane, X. Peng, M. J. Thomas, J. M. Weiss, D. M. Anderson, and M. G. Katze. Deep Transcriptional Sequencing of Mucosal Challenge Compartment from Rhesus Macaques Acutely Infected with Simian Immunodeficiency Virus Implicates Loss of Cell Adhesion Preceding Immune Activation. Journal of Virology, 2014 88:7962-7972.

Massilamany, C., A. Gangaplara, T. Jia, C. Elowsky, Q. Li, Y. Zhou, and J. Reddy. In situ detection of autoreactive CD4 T cells in brain and heart using major histocompatibility complex class II dextramers. J Vis Exp. 2014 1:51679.

Massilamany, C., A. Gangaplara, T. Jia, C. Elowsky, G. Kang, J. J. Riethoven, Q. Li, Y. Zhou, and J. Reddy. Direct staining with major histocompatibility complex class II dextramers permits detection of antigen-specific, autoreactive CD4 T cells in situ. PLoS ONE 2014, 9:e87519.

Patterson LJ, Kuate S, Daltabuit-Test M, Li Q, Xiao P, McKinnon K, Dipasquale J, Cristillo A, Venzon D, Haase A, Robert-Guroff M. Replicating Adenovirus-Simian Immunodeficiency Virus (SIV) Vectors Efficiently Prime SIV-Specific Systemic and Mucosal Immune Responses by Targeting Myeloid Dendritic Cells and Persisting in Rectal Macrophages, Regardless of Immunization Route. Clin Vaccine Immunol. 2012,  19(5):629-37. PMID:  22441384.

Reeves RK, TI Evans, J Gillis, FE Wong, G Kang, Q Li, and RP Johnson. SIV infection induces accumulation of plasmacytoid dendritic cells in the gut mucosa. J. Infect. Dis.  2012, 206(9):1462-8. PMID: 22711907.

Bokhari, S., R. Hegde, SM. BokhariR. HegdeS. CallenH. YaoI. AdanyQ. Li, Z. LiD. PinsonH-W. YehP. Cheney, and S. Buch . Morphine Potentiates Neuropathogenesis of SIV Infection in Rhesus Macaques. Journal of Neuroimmune Pharmacology . 2011, 6(4): 626–639, PMID 21431470.

Li Q, Wood C. Challenges and counter challenges in HIV/AIDS. Chin Med J (Engl). 2010 Dec;123(23):3379-80. PMID:22166517.

Smith A. J., Q. Li, S.W. Wietgrefe, et al. Host Genes Associated with HIV-1 Replication in Lymphatic Tissue. J. Immunol. 2010,185:5417-24.

García A, N.B. Siddappa, Q. Li, et al. AIDS and optic neuritis in a rhesus monkey infected with the R5 clade C SHIV-1157ipd3N4. J Med Primatol. 2010, 39:356–360, PMID- 20412378

Yukl, SA.l, S. Gianella,.E. Sinclair, L. Epling, Q. Li, et al. Differences in HIV Burden and Immune Activation within the Gut of HIV Positive Patients Receiving Suppressive Antiretroviral Therapy. J. Infect. Dis. 2010, 202:1553–1561.

Li, Q
., J.D. Estes, P.M. Schlievert, et al. Glycerol monolaurate prevents mucosal SIV transmission. Nature 2009 458: 1034-1038. PMCID: PMC2785041

Li, Q.,
 P.J. Skinner, S.-J. Ha, et al. Visualizing antigen-specific and infected cells in situ predicts outcomes in early viral infection. Science 2009 323: 1726-1729. PMCID: PMC2753492

Bosinger, SE., Q. Li, SN. Gordon, et al. Global genomic analysis reveals rapid control of a robust innate response in SIV-infected sooty mangabeys. J. Clin. Invest. 2009, 119:3556–3572. PMCID:PMC2786806. (Bosinger, SE. and Li Q. are co-first-authorship with equal contribution).

Li, Q
., A.J. Smith, T.W. Schacker, J.V. Carlis, L. Duan, C.S. Reilly, and A.T. Haase. Microarray analysis of lymphatic tissue reveals stage-specific, gene-expression signatures in HIV-1 infection. J. Immunol. 2009, 183: 1975–1982.

Li Q
, J. Skinner P, Duan L, Haase AT. A technique to simultaneously visualize virus-specific CD8+ T Cells and Virus-Infected Cells In situ. J. Vis. Exp. 2009 Aug 13;(30)

Li, Q.,
 J.D. Estes, L. Duan, J. Jessurun, S. Pambuccian, C. Forster, S. Wietgrefe, M. Zupancic, T. Schacker, C. Reilly, J.V. Carlis, and A.T. Haase. Simian immunodeficiency virus-induced intestinal cell apoptosis is the underlying mechanism of the regenerative enteropathy of early infection. J. Infect. Dis.2008, 197:420-429.

Weiler, A.M., Q. Li, L. Duan, et al. Genital ulcers facilitate rapid viral entry and dissemination following intravaginal inoculation with cell-associated simian immunodeficiency virus SIVmac239. J. Virol. 2008 82: 4154-4158. PMCID PMC2292998

Estes, J.D., Q. Li, M.R. Reynolds, et al. Premature induction of an immunosuppressive T regulatory response in acute SIV infection. J. Infect. Dis.2006, 193:703-712.

Li, Q
., L. Duan, J.D. Estes, et al. Peak SIV replication in “resting” memory CD4+ T cells depletes gut lamina propria CD4+ T cells. Nature 2005, 434:1148-1152.

Miller, C.J., Q. Li, K. Abel, et al. Propagation and dissemination of infection after vaginal transmission of SIV. J. Virol. 2005 79: 9217-9227.

Li, Q
., J.D. Lifson, L. Duan, et al. Potential roles for follicular dendritic cell associated osteopontin in lymphoid follicle pathology and repair and B cell regulation in HIV-1 and SIV infections. J. Infect. Dis. 2005, 192:1269-1276.

Zhang, Z.-Q., S.W. Wietgrefe, Q. Li, et al. Roles of substrate availability and infection of resting and activated CD4+ T cells in transmission and acute simian immunodeficiency virus infection. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 2004, 101:5640-5645.

Li, Q.,
 K.G. Mansfield, A.A. Lackner, et al. Quantitative image analysis of simian immunodeficiency virus replication in macrophages co-infected with Mycobacterium avium complex. J. Infect. Dis. 2000, 181:867-871.

Li Q
, Eiden LE, Cavert W, Reinhart TA, Rausch DM, Murray EA, Weihe E, Haase AT. Increased expression of nitric oxide synthase and dendritic injury in simian immunodeficiency virus encephalitis. J Hum Virol. 1999, 2(3):139-45. PMID:10413365.

Li, Q
., K. Gebhard, T. Schacker, et al. The relationship between tumor necrosis factor and human immunodeficiency virus gene expression in lymphoid tissue. J. Virol. 1997 71:7080-7082.


  • Journal of Genomes and Proteomes (2013-)

Editorial Boards

  • Current HIV Research (2010-)
  • Chinese Medical Journal (English) (2010-)
  • Journal of Vaccine & Immunotechnology (2014-)
  • ISRN AIDS (2013-)
  • International Journal of Virology Studies & Research (2013-)
  • Austin Journal of Clinical Immunology (2013-)
  • International STD Research & Reviews (2013-)
  • Open Access Journal of Science and Technology (2012-present)

NIH Grant Review and Study Sections

  • AIDS Discovery and Development of Therapeutics (ADDT) study section (November 15, 2011)
  • AIDS Immunology and Pathogenesis (AIP) study section (March 19, 2012)
  • Tulane National Primate Research Center (TNPRC) special emphasis panel (March 14, 2012)
  • Comparative Medicine (CM) special emphasis panel (June 25-26, 2013)
  • National Natural Science Foundation of international cooperation project panel, China (May 18, 2014)