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Hongbo Chi, PhD named 2023 AAAS Fellow

Immunologist being recognized for his contributions to immunometabolism

Memphis, Tennessee, April 29, 2024

Hongbo Chi, PhD, 2023 AAAS Fellow

Hongbo Chi, PhD, 2023 AAAS Fellow 

Hongbo Chi, PhD, a faculty member and the Robert G. Webster Endowed Chair in Immunology at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, has been recognized as a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the world’s largest general scientific society and publisher of the Science Family of Journals. Chi will be formally inducted Sept. 21, during the organization’s annual Fellows Forum in Washington D.C.

Chi is the most recent St. Jude faculty member selected as an AAAS Fellow. Other St. Jude honorees include: Thirumala-Devi Kanneganti, PhD; Victor Torres, PhD; Douglas Green, PhD; Charles Rock, PhD; Mary Relling, PharmD; Guillermo Oliver, PhD; Charles Sherr, MD, PhD; James Downing, MD; Peter Doherty, PhD; Ching Hon Pui, MD; Joesph Simone, MD; and William Evans; PharmD.

“I am deeply honored to be named a Fellow of such a prestigious organization,” said Chi, who will be the 13th St. Jude faculty member to become an AAAS Fellow. “This recognition highlights the work we do at St. Jude that is changing the field of immunology and advancing immunometabolism and systems immunology.”

AAAS elects members annually whose efforts on behalf of the advancement of science, or its applications, are scientifically or socially distinguished. Chi’s selection is based on his contributions to immunology and immunometabolism, especially T-cell metabolism and systems immunology. This work has led to a deeper understanding of the interplay between metabolism and immunity, such as nutrient effects on immune responses and metabolic reprogramming of cell fate.

Since joining St. Jude in 2007, Chi has focused on immunology, or the biology of the immune system, specifically how cell metabolism and nutrient signaling control the function of T cells. These cells are the center of adaptive immunity and are crucial components in fighting cancer and infectious diseases. Chi’s lab has performed pioneering research in immunometabolism, including establishing metabolic reprogramming of cell fate and state and defining mTOR and metabolic checkpoints in immune function and disease. His more recent studies, using in vivo high-throughput perturbation screening, multi-omics and other unbiased approaches to investigate T cell metabolism and immune system functions, have revealed novel metabolic drivers and regulatory networks and their impacts on adaptive immunity in cancer, autoimmunity and neurodegenerative diseases. These seminal discoveries have contributed to the fundamental knowledge in immunology, and moreover, the identification of actionable disease targets has established clear paths to clinical translation (e.g., targeting the enzyme REGNASE-1 is being translated into next-generation CAR T-cell therapies for cancer).

His work is widely referenced, earning him a place on the lists of Highly Cited Researchers in immunology by the Institute for Scientific Information at Clarivate for four years continuously. He has received an outstanding investigator award and a merit award from NIH, Dr. William E. Paul Distinguished Innovator Award from Lupus Research Alliance, and Alumni Achievement Award from the University of Rochester. Originally from China, he earned his PhD in pathology from the University of Rochester in Rochester, New York. He performed his postdoctoral training in immunobiology at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut.

“Dr. Chi's contributions to the scientific community are helping children with catastrophic diseases everywhere," said James R. Downing, M.D., St. Jude president and CEO. "Other researchers and clinicians are building on his work, especially in the field of immunology, to find new ways to treat patients and improve their overall quality of life.”

Dating back to 1874, election as an AAAS Fellow is a lifetime honor. Fellows are expected to maintain the highest standards of professional ethics and scientific integrity. Distinguished honorees include: W.E.B DuBois, Ellen Ochoa, Steven Chu, Grace Hopper, Alan Alda, Mae Jemison and Ayanna Howard.


St. Jude Children's Research Hospital

St. Jude Children's Research Hospital is leading the way the world understands, treats and cures childhood cancer, sickle cell disease, and other life-threatening disorders. It is the only National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center devoted solely to children. Treatments developed at St. Jude have helped push the overall childhood cancer survival rate from 20% to 80% since the hospital opened more than 60 years ago. St. Jude shares the breakthroughs it makes to help doctors and researchers at local hospitals and cancer centers around the world improve the quality of treatment and care for even more children. To learn more, visit, read St. Jude Progress, a digital magazine, and follow St. Jude on social media at @stjuderesearch.