Home > Groups > Jing QU

Jing QU, Ph. D.

Stem Cells and Aging

Email: qujing@ioz.ac.cn
Phone#: +86-10-64807768
Staff: Jing Qu, Yanxia Ye, Xiaoqian Liu, Ruijun Bai, Junyan Jiao
Postdoc: Qun Chu
Students: Zhiqing Diao, Zeming Wu, Hongkai Zhao, Zunpeng Liu, Huifang Hu, Ying Jing, Zehua Wang, Shijia Bi, Guoqiang Sun, Yandong Zheng, Mingheng Li, Min Wang, Chengyu Liu, Yixin Zhang, Xuebao Wang, Baohu Zhang

QU Group website


  Worldwide population aging is unprecedented, pervasive and enduring, with implications for many facets of human life. China’s population is also aging and shrinking. By 2040, there will be about only 1.6 workers to 1 retiree in China, and the number of Chinese older than 65 is expected to rise from roughly 130 million to more than 320 million in 2050. The consequence for China’s demographic change is profound and challenging. Meanwhile, life expectancy around the world has increased steadily. Though people are living longer, they’re also increasingly battling chronic illnesses like osteoarthritis, diabetes, heart and neurodegenerative diseases. Therefore, the health of the aging population is the most important issue to combat. If people can experience these extra years of life in good health, their ability to do the things they value will be little different from that of a younger person. Our research group is focusing on exploring the molecular targets and intervention strategies of human aging based on the human stem cell models.


Research work

Establishment and evaluation of gene engineering approaches
  We established efficient gene engineering approaches to genetically correct mutated gene(s) in patient-specific iPSCs, and evaluate the mutation load attributable to genome editing technologies at single base pair level by Whole Genome Sequencing, and we also developed a novel TTALE imaging system that can enable high-contrast visualization of the 3D dynamics of specific genomic structures under diverse physiological and pathological contexts across a wide range of cell types in vitro and in vivo.
Study the underlying mechanisms of human aging
  We established the platform for multiple human diseases studies and drug discovery (including Fanconi Anemia, Parkinson’s diseases, Progeria, Werner Syndrome, Artherosclerosis etc.) by a combination of human induced pluripotent stem cell and genome editing technologies. Based on the platform, we unveiled the role of WRN in maintaining heterochromatin stability and highlighted heterochromatin disorganization as a potential determinant of human aging, and demonstrated the NRF2 pathway is a novel target for preventing aging-associated stem cell attrition to treat premature aging.

Develop novel intervention strategies of human aging
  We generated genetically enhanced human stem cells via targeted genome editing, which harbor more robust regenerative capacity and minimized risk of tumorigenesis over normal stem cells. It provides the first proof-of-concept of genetic enhancement of human stem cells, a strategy that may hold tremendous potential towards providing superior and safer stem cell replacement therapy. We also screened small molecular libraries for geroprotective compounds using Werner Syndrome human mesenchymal stem cells (hMSCs), a premature aging model that we recently established. Quercetin was identified due to its leading effects as a geroprotective agent against accelerated and natural aging in hMSCs, providing a potential therapeutic intervention for treating age-associated disorders.


Human genome-editing and live-imaging technique. ( Cell 2013,Cell 2012a,Cell 2012b, Cell Stem Cell 2017,Cell Stem Cell 2014,Cell Research 2011 )

FOXO3-Engineered Human ESC-Derived Vascular Cells Promote Vascular Protection and Regeneration.( Cell Stem Cell 2019, cover story )

Gene therapy alleviates osteoarthritis by preventing cellular senescence ( Cell Reports 2019 )

Upregulation of FOXD1 by YAP alleviates senescence and osteoarthritis ( Plos Biology 2019 )


Plain English:
Through the comprehensive utilization of human stem cells and primate animal models, combined with novel omics technologies, we aim to reveal the tissue-specific physiological or pathological changes and their corresponding molecular mechanism and biomarkers during the occurrence of aging and its associated diseases, and screen for key genetic or epigenetic regulatory factors and small molecules that may interfere with the aging process

Selected publications:

  1. Li J, Zheng Y, Yan P, Song M, Wang S, Sun L, Liu Z, Ma S, Chan P, Zhou Q, Belmonte JC, Zhang W# , Liu GH# , Tang F# , Qu J # . (2020) A Single-cell Transcriptomic Atlas of Primate Pancreatic Islet Aging. National Science Review.  2020. DOI: 10.1093/nsr/nwaa127 (# Corresponding author )
  2. Zhang W, Zhang S, Yan P, Ren J, Song M, Li J, Lei J, Pan H, Wang S, Ma X, Ma S, Li H, Sun F, Wan H, Li W, Chan P, Zhou Q, Liu GH# , Tang F# , Qu J # . (2020) A Single-Cell Transcriptomic landscape of Primate Arterial Aging. Nature Communications. 2020.11(1):2202 (# Corresponding author )
  3. Hu H, Ji Q, Song M, Ren J, Liu Z, Wang Z, Liu X, Yan K, Hu J, Wang S# , Zhang W# , Liu GH# , Qu J # . (2020) ZKSCAN3 counteracts cellular senescence by stabilizing heterochromatin. Nucleic Acids Research.  2020. 19;48(11):6001-6018. (# Corresponding author )
  4. Wang S, Zheng Y, Li J, Yu Y, Zhang W, Song M, Liu Z, Min Z, Hu H, Jing Y, He X, Sun L, Esteban C, Chan P, Qiao J, Zhou Q, Belmonte JC# , Qu J # , Tang F# , Liu GH# . (2020) Single-Cell Transcriptomic Atlas of Primate Ovarian Aging. Cell.  2020. 180 (3), 585-600.e19. Cover story. (# Corresponding author )
  5. Ma S, Sun S, Geng L, Song M, Wang W, Ye Y, Ji Q, Zou Z, Wang S, He X, Li W, Rodriguez Esteban C, Long X, Guo G, Chan P, Zhou Q, Belmonte JC# , Zhang W# , Qu J # , Liu GH# . (2020) Caloric Restriction Reprograms the Single-Cell Transcriptional Landscape of Rattus Norvegicus Aging. Cell. 2020.180(5),984-1001.e22 (# Corresponding author )
  6. Lei J, Wang S, Kang W, Chu Q, Liu Z, Sun L, Ji Y, Esteban CR, Yao Y, Belmonte JCI, Chan P, Liu GH# , Zhang W# , Song M# , Qu J # . (2020) FOXO3-Engineered Human Mesenchymal Progenitor Cells Efficiently Promote Cardiac Repair after Myocardial Infarction. Protein Cell . 2020. DOI: 10.1007/s13238-020-00779-7 (# Corresponding author )
  7. Wang S# , Zheng Y, Li Q, He X, Ren R, Zhang W, Song M, Hu H, Liu F, Sun G, Sun S, Liu Z, Yu Y, Chan P, Zhao GG, Zhou Q, Liu GH# , Tang F#  Qu J # . (2020) Deciphering primate retinal aging at single-cell resolution. Protein Cell . 2020. DOI: 10.1007/s13238-020-00791-x. (# Corresponding author )
  8. Bi S, Liu Z, Wu Z, Wang Z, Liu X, Wang S, Ren J, Zhang W# , Song M# , Liu GH# , Qu J # . (2020) SIRT7 antagonizes human stem cell aging as a heterochromatin stabilizer. Protein Cell . 2020. 11(7):483-504 (# Corresponding author )
  9. Liang C, Liu Z, Song M, Li W, Wu Z, Wang Z, Wang Q, Wang S, Yan K, Sun L, Hishida T, Cai Y, Izpisua Belmonte JC, Guillen P, Chan P, Zhou Q, Zhang W# , Qu J # ,  Liu GH# . (2020) Stabilization of Heterochromatin by CLOCK Promotes Stem Cell Rejuvenation and Cartilage Regeneration. Cell Research. 2020. DOI:10.1038/s41422-020-0385-7. (# Corresponding author )
  10. Yan P, Liu Z, Song M, Wu Z, Xu W, Li K, Ji Q, Wang S, Liu X, Yan K, Esteban CR, Ci W, Izpisua Belmonte JC, Xie W, Ren J, Zhang W# , Sun Q# , Qu J # ,  Liu GH# .(2020) Genome-wide R-loop landscapes during cell differentiation and reprogramming. Cell Reports.  2020. 32(1):107870(# Corresponding author )
  11. Zheng Y, Liu X, Le W, Xie L, Li H, Wen W, Wang S, Ma S, Huang Z, Ye J, Shi W, Ye Y, Liu Z, Song M, Zhang W, Belmonte JCI, Xiao C, Qu J # , Wang H# , Liu GH# , Su W# . (2020) A human circulating immune cell landscape in aging and COVID-19. Protein Cell . 2020. DOI: 10.1007/s13238-020-00762-2(# Corresponding author )
  12. He X, Memczak S, Qu J # , Belmonte JC# , Liu GH# . (2020) Single-cell “OMICS” in aging: a young growing field. Nature Metabolism.  2020. 2: 293–302 (# Corresponding author )
  13. Geng L, Liu Z, Wang S, Sun S, Ma S, Liu X, Chan P, Sun L, Song M# , Zhang W# , Liu GH# , Qu J # . (2019) Low-dose quercetin positively regulates mouse healthspan. Protein Cell . 2019. 10 (10), 770-775 (# Corresponding author )
  14. Zhang X, Liu Z, Liu X, Wang S, Zhang Y, He X, Sun S, Ma S, Shyh-Chang N, Liu F, Wang Q, Wang X, Liu L, Zhang W# , Song M# , Liu GH# , Qu J # .  (2019) Telomere-Dependent and Telomere-Independent Roles of RAP1 in Regulating Human Stem Cell Homeostasis. Protein Cell . 2019. 10 (9), 649-667 (# Corresponding author )
  15. Yan P, Li Q, Wang L, Lu P, Suzuki K, Liu Z, Lei J, Li W, Ren R, He X, Wang S, Ding J, Chan P, Zhang W, Song M, Belmonte JC, Qu J # , Tang F# , Liu GH# . (2019) FOXO3-engineered human ESC-derived vascular cells promote vascular protection and regeneration. Cell Stem Cell.  2019. 24(3), 447-461 (cover story) (# Corresponding author )
  16. Deng L, Ren R, Liu Z, Song M, Li J, Wu Z, Ren X, Fu L, Li W, Zhang W, Guillen P, Belmonte J, Chan P, Qu J # , Liu GH# . (2019) Stabilizing heterochromatin by DGCR8 alleviates senescence and osteoarthritis. Nature Communications.  2019.10(1):3329. (# Corresponding author )
  17. Fu L, Hu Y, Song M, Liu Z, Zhang W, Yu FX, Wu J, Wang S, Belmonte JC, Chan P, Qu J # , Tang F# , Liu GH# . (2019) Upregulation of FOXD1 by YAP alleviates senescence and osteoarthritis. PLoS Biology.  2019. 17(4):e3000201 (# Corresponding author )
  18. Ren X, Hu B, Song M, Ding Z, Dang Y, Liu Z, Zhang W, Ji Q, Ren R, Ding J, Chan P, Jiang C, Ye K, Qu J # , Tang F# , Liu GH# . (2019) Maintenance of nucleolar homeostasis by CBX4 alleviates senescence and osteoarthritis. Cell Reports . 2019. 26(13):3643-3656. (# Corresponding author )
  19. Zhang W, Song M, Qu J #  Liu GH# . Epigenetic Modifications in Cardiovascular Aging and Diseases. Circulation Research.  2018. 123(7):773-786. (# Corresponding author )
  20. Ren R, Deng L, Xue Y, Suzuki K, Zhang W, Yu Y, Wu J, Sun L, Gong X, Luan H, Yang F, Ju Z, Ren X, Wang S, Tang H, Geng L, Zhang W, Li J, Qiao J, Xu T# , Qu J # , Liu GH# . (2017) Visualization of aging-associated chromatin alterations with an engineered TALE system. Cell Research. 2017. 27(4):483-504 (# Corresponding author )