Dr Jiahai Shi (史家海博士)

PhD (National University of Singapore)

Assistant Professor

Dr Jiahai Shi

Contact Information

Office: 1B-108, 1/F, Block 1,
To Yuen Building
Phone: +852 3442-2481
Fax: +852 3442-0549
Email: jiahai.shi@cityu.edu.hk
Web: Personal Homepage
CityU Scholars

Research Interests

  • Red blood cell engineering
  • Red blood cell development

Dr Jiahai Shi received his Bachelor’s Degree in Biological Sciences from Xiamen University in 2002. After graduation, he was awarded a full PhD scholarship to join Dr Jianxing Song’s lab at the National University of Singapore. To explore new areas of research, and to broaden his expertise during his post-doctoral training, Dr Shi joined the laboratory of Dr Harvey Lodish (MIT/Whitehead Institute).

Dr Shi has 20 years’ experience in the development of bio-therapeutics . He participated in vaccine development against hepatitis E virus (HEV), causing a type of viral hepatitis. The vaccine was commercialized under the trade name 益可宁Hecolin in 2012. During his PhD studies, Dr Shi developed novel strategies for drug development against Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) coronavirus (SARS-CoV), by targeting its main protease (SARS-CoV Mpro). He demonstrated that the dimerization interface at the extra helical domain of SARS-CoV Mpro is an attractive drug targeting pocket. As this pocket is far from the active site of Mpro, drugs targeting this pocket will have minimum off-target effects to other human proteases. Given the similarity between SARS-CoV Mpro and COVID-19-CoV Mpro, such an approach might also be attractive for COVID-19.

When he was at the Lodish lab, Dr Shi co-invented a new technology for engineering red blood cells as carriers for a wide range of therapeutic cargoes, particularly for therapeutic proteins. This invention led to the establishment of Rubius Therapeutics, which went public in 2018 and reached a market capitalization of almost 2 billion USD.

After setting up his own lab, Dr Shi is focused on the development of novel therapeutics, including gene therapy, genome editing and antibody therapy. Working with his collaborators, Dr Shi engineers red blood cell extracellular vesicles (RBCEV) as a non-viral gene delivery vehicle. Again, this innovation has led to the establishment of another biotech company, now based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Carmine Therapeutics, co-founded with Harvey Lodish, Minh Le and Esco Ventures X.

Dr Shi aims to develop more novel therapies against unmet clinical needs.

Training Opportunities

PhD scholarships, undergraduate research internships and research assistant positions are available for BSc or MSc students with great interest in biomedical research. Please contact Dr Shi for further information.

Selected Publications (Google Citations: 1092; H-index: 19)


  1. Chrystal F Mavros, Catherine A. Brownstein, Roshni Thyagrajan, Casie A. Genetti, Sahil Tembulkar, Kelsey Graber, Quinn Murphy, Kristin Cabral, Grace E. VanNoy, Matthew Bainbridge, Jiahai Shi, Pankaj B. Agrawal, Alan H. Beggs, Eugene D’Angelo, Joseph Gonzalez-Heydrich, “De Novo Variant of TRRAP in a patient with Very Early Onset Psychosis in the Context of Non-Verbal Learning Disability and Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder: A Case Report”, BMC Med Genet. 2018 Nov 13;19(1):197.
  2. Yien YY, Shi J*, Chen C*, Cheung JT, Grillo AS, Shrestha R, Li L, Zhang X, Kafina MD, Kingsley PD, King MJ, Ablain J, Li H, Zon L, Palis J, Burke MD, Bauer DE, Orkin SH, Koehler CM, Phillips JD, Kaplan J, Ward DM, Lodish HF, Paw BH, “FAM210B is an erythropoietin target and regulates erythroid heme synthesis by controlling mitochondrial iron import and ferrochelatase activity”, J Biol Chem. 2018 Oct 26. pii: jbc.RA118.002742. *: Equal contribution
  3. Zheng L, Shi J, Mu Y., “Dynamics changes of CRISPR-Cas9 systems induced by high fidelity mutations”, Phys Chem Chem Phys. 2018 Oct 25.
  4. Lim L, Gupta G, Roy A, Kang J, Srivastava S, Shi J#, Song J#, “Structurally- and dynamically-driven allostery of the chymotrypsin-like proteases of SARS, Dengue and Zika viruses”, Prog Biophys Mol Biol. 2018 Sep 11. (#: co-corresponding author)
  5. Usman WM, Pham TC, Kwok YY, Vu LT, Ma V, Peng B, Chan YS, Wei L, Chin SM, Azad A, He AB, Leung AYH, Yang M, Shyh-Chang N, Cho WC, Shi J, Le MTN, “Efficient RNA drug delivery using red blood cell extracellular vesicles”, Nat Commun. 2018 Jun 15;9(1):2359.
  6. Wojcik MH, Okada K, Prabhu SP, Nowakowski DW, Ramsey K, Balak C, Rangasamy S, Brownstein CA, Schmitz-Abe K, Cohen JS, Fatemi A, Shi J, Grant EP, Narayanan V, Ho HH, Agrawal PB., “De novo variant in KIF26B is associated with pontocerebellar hypoplasia with infantile spinal muscular atrophy”, Am J Med Genet A. 2018 Aug 27.
  7. Katwa U, D'Gama AM, Qualls AE, Donovan LM, Heffernan J, Shi J, Agrawal PB., “Atypical presentations associated with non-polyalanine repeat PHOX2B mutations”, Am J Med Genet A. 2018 Jul;176(7):1627-1631.


  1. Agrawal PB, Wang R, Li HL, Schmitz-Abe K, Simone-Roach C, Chen J, Shi J, Louie T, Sheng S, Towne MC, Brainson CF, Matthay MA, Kim CF, Bamshad M, Emond MJ, Gerard NP, Kleyman TR, Gerard C, “Epithelial Sodium Channel ENaC is a modifier of the long term non-progressive phenotype associated with F508del CFTR mutations”, Am J Respir Cell Mol Biol. 2017 Jul 14. doi: 10.1165/rcmb.2017-0166OC.
  2. Cao S, Smith LL, Padilla-Lopez SR, Guida BS, Blume E, Shi J, Morton SU, Brownstein CA, Beggs AH, Kruer MC, Agrawal PB, “Homozygous EEF1A2 mutation causes dilated cardiomyopathy, failure to thrive, global developmental delay, epilepsy and early death.”, Hum Mol Genet. 2017 Sep 15;26(18):3545-3552. doi: 10.1093/hmg/ddx239.
  3. Mehta P, Küspert M, Bale T, Brownstein CA, Towne MC, De Girolami U, Shi J, Beggs AH, Darras BT, Wegner M, Piao X, Agrawal PB, “Novel mutation in CNTNAP1 results in congenital hypomyelinating neuropathy”, Muscle Nerve. 2017 May;55(5):761-765. doi: 10.1002/mus.25416.


  1. Palmer S, Towne MC, Pearl PL, Pelletier RC, Genetti CA, Shi J, Beggs AH, Agrawal PB, Brownstein CA, “SLC6A1 Mutation and Ketogenic Diet in epilepsy with myoclonic-atonic seizures”, Pediatr Neurol. 2016 Nov;64:77-79. doi: 10.1016/j.pediatrneurol.2016.07.012.
  2. Shi J, Yuan B, Hu W, Lodish H, “JAK2 V617F stimulates proliferation of erythropoietin- dependent erythroid progenitors and delays their differentiation by activating Stat1 and other non-erythroid signaling pathways”, Exp Hematol. 2016 Nov;44(11):1044-1058.e5. doi: 10.1016/j.exphem.2016.07.010.
  3. Brownstein CA, Beggs AH, Rodan L, Shi J, Towne MC, Pelletier R, Cao S, Rosenberg PA, Urion DK, Picker J, Tan WH, Agrawal PB, “Clinical heterogeneity associated with KCNA1 mutations include cataplexy and non-ataxic presentations”, Neurogenetics. 2016 Jan;17(1):11-6. doi: 10.1007/s10048-015-0460-2.
  4. Li H*, Shi J*, Huang NJ, Pishesha N, Natarajan A, Eng JC, Lodish HF, “Efficient CRISPR-Cas9 mediated gene disruption in primary erythroid progenitor cells”, Haematologica. 2016 Jun;101(6):e216-9. doi: 10.3324/haematol.2015.135723. *: Equal contribution

Prior to 2015

  1. Patterson HC, Gerbeth C, Thiru P, Vögtle NF, Knoll M, Shahsafaei A, Samocha KE, Huang CX, Harden MM, Song R, Chen C, Kao J, Shi J, Salmon W, Shaul YD, Stokes MP, Silva JC, Bell GW, MacArthur DG, Ruland J, Meisinger C, Lodish HF, “A respiratory chain controlled signal transduction cascade in the mitochondrial intermembrane space mediates H2O2 signaling” Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2015 Oct 20;112(42):E5679-88. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1517932112..
  2. Vijay G. Sankaran, Jacob C. Ulirsch, Vassili Tchaikovskii, Leif S. Ludwig, Aoi Wakabayashi, Senkottuvelan Kadirvel, R. Coleman Lindsley, Rafael Bejar, Jiahai Shi, Scott B. Lovitch, David F. Bishop, David P. Steensma, “X-linked macrocytic dyserythropoietic anemia in females with an ALAS2 mutation”, Journal of Clinical Investigation, 2015 Apr;125(4):1665-9.
  3. Jiahai Shi*, Lenka Kundrat*, Novalia Pishesha, Angelina Bilate, Chris Theile, Takeshi Maruyama, Stephanie K. Dougan, Hidde Ploegh, and Harvey Lodish, “Engineered red cells as carriers for systemic delivery of a wide array of functional probes”, Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2014 Jul 15;111(28):10131-6. *: Equal contribution
    • Featured in "In This Issue" by the editorial board of PNAS
    • Highlighted in Science News, New Scientist, PBS NOVA and 11 other news reports
  4. Albert W. Cheng*, Jiahai Shi*, Piu Wong­­*, Katherine K. Luo, Paula Trepman, Eric T. Wang, Christopher B. Burge, and Harvey F. Lodish, “Mbnl1 regulates alternative RNA splicing in terminal erythropoiesis”, Blood. 2014 Jul 24;124(4):598-610., *: Equal contribution
    • Commented in Don M. Wojchowski, "Erythroid mRNA processing: a "splice of life", Blood. 2014 Jul 24;124(4):474-5.
  5. Shilpa M. Hattangadi, Sandra Martinez-Morilla, Heide Christine Christine Patterson, Jiahai Shi, Karly A Burke, Amalia Avila Figueroa, Srividhya Venkatesan, Junxia Wang, Katherina Paulsen, Cher Huang, Dirk Gorlich, Maki Murata-Hori, and Harvey F Lodish, “Histones to the cytosol: Exportin 7 plays an important role in terminal erythroid nuclear maturation,” Blood. 2014 Aug 4. pii: blood-2013-11-537761.
  6. Pishesha N., Thiru P., Shi J., Eng J.C., Sankaran V.G., Lodish H.F., “Transcriptional divergence and conservation of human and mouse erythropoiesis”, Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2014 Mar 18;111(11):4103-8.
  7. Alvarez-Dominguez J.R., Hu W., Yuan B., Shi J., Park S.S., Gromatzky A.A., van Oudenaarden A., Lodish H.F., “Global discovery of erythroid long noncoding RNAs reveals novel regulators of red cell maturation”, Blood. 2014 Jan 23;123(4):570-81
  8. Lim L.*, Shi J.*, Mu Y., Song J., “Dynamically-Driven Enhancement of the Catalytic Machinery of the SARS 3C-Like Protease by the S284-T285-I286/A Mutations on the Extra Domain.” PLoS One. 2014 Jul 18;9(7) *: Equal contribution
  9. Huan X.*, Shi J.*, Lim L.*, Mitra S., Zhu W., Qin H., Pasquale E.B., Song J., “Unique structure and dynamics of the EphA5 ligand binding domain mediate its binding specificity as revealed by X-ray crystallography, NMR and MD simulations.” PLoS One. 2013 Sep 24;8(9) *: Equal contribution
  10. Lua S., Qin H., Lim L., Shi J., Gupta G., Song J., ‘Structural, stability, dynamic and binding properties of the ALS-causing T46I mutant of the hVAPB MSP domain as revealed by NMR and MD simulations.’ PLoS One. (2011) 6(11)
  11. Shi J.*, Han N.*, Lim L., Lua S., Sivaraman J., Wang L., Mu Y., Song J., ‘Dynamically-Driven Inactivation of the Catalytic Machinery of the SARS 3C-Like Protease by the N214A Mutation on the Extra Domain,’ PLoS Comput Biol (2011) 7(2) *: Equal contribution
  12. Shi J., Sivaraman J., Song J., ‘Mechanism for Controlling Dimer-Monomer Switch and Coupling Dimerization to Catalysis of the SARS-CoV 3C-like protease,’ Journal of Virology, (2008) 82(9): 4620-9
  13. Shi J.*, Lua S.*, Tong J., Song J., ‘Elimination of the Native Structure and Solubility of the hVAPB MSP Domain by the Pro56Ser Mutation which Causes Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis’ Biochemistry. (2010) 49(18):3887-97 *: Equal contribution
  14. Shaveta G., Shi J., Chow VT, Song J., ‘Structural characterization reveals that viperin is a radical S-adenosyl-L-methionine (SAM) enzyme,’ Biochem Biophys Res Commun. (2010) 391(3):1390-5
  15. Qin H., Noberini R., Huan X., Shi J., Pasquale EB, Song J., ‘Structural characterization of the EphA4-Ephrin-B2 complex reveals new features enabling Eph-ephrin binding promiscuity,’ J Biol Chem. (2010) 285(1):644-54
  16. Shi J.*, Lua S.*, Du N., Liu X., Song J., ‘Identification, recombinant production and structural characterization of four silk proteins from the Asiatic honeybee Apis cerana,’ Biomaterials, (2008) 29(18): 2820-8 *: Equal contribution
  17. Qin H.*, Shi J.*, Noberini R., Pasquale B.E., Song J., ‘Crystal Structure and NMR Binding Reveal that Two Small Molecule Antagonists Target the High-Affinity Ephrin-Binding Channel of the EphA4 Receptor,’ J Biol Chem. (2008) 283: 29473-84 *: Equal contribution
  18. Ran X., Qin H., Liu J., Fan J., Shi J., Song J., ‘NMR structure and dynamics of human ephrin-B2 ectodomain: The functionally critical C-D and G-H loops are highly dynamic in solution,’ Proteins: Structure, Function, and Bioinformatics (2008) 72: 1019-29
  19. Shi J and Song J, ‘The catalysis of the SARS 3C-like protease is under extensive regulation by its extra domain’, FEBS Journal (2006) 273: 1035–45
  20. Li M, Liu J, Ran X, Fang M, Shi J, Qin H, Goh J, Song J, ‘Resurrecting Abandoned Proteins with Pure Water: CD and NMR Studies of Protein Fragments Solubilized in Salt-Free Water’ Biophysics J. (2006) 91(11):4201-9
  21. Shi J, Wei Z, Song J,Dissection study on the SARS 3C-like protease reveals the critical role of the extra domain in dimerization of the enzyme: Defining the extra domain as a new target for design of highly-specific protease inhibitors’, J Biol Chem. (2004) 279: 24765-73
  22. Li M, Shi J, Wei Z, Teng FY, Tang BL, Song J, ‘Structural characterization of the human Nogo-A functional domains’, Eur J Biochem. (2004) 271: 3512-22