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Centenary Institute - Medical Research

Lipid Cell Biology

The Lipid Cell Biology Laboratory is currently investigating the following projects:

1. Liver disease

The liver is the primary metabolic organ in our body. Abnormal fat deposition in the liver causes a series of conditions, including insulin resistance, fatty liver, liver fibrosis and liver cancer. Medical research on these liver diseases plays a crucial role in improving the quality of life for people with chronic illness and extending survival time for those with the fatal disease. At the forefront of medical research, Lipid Cell Biology Laboratory is focused on the study of sphingolipids, a class of essential fat products, in the liver. Dr Qi and his colleagues aim to identify key components of sphingolipids, as novel druggable targets and early diagnostic biomarkers of liver diseases.

2. Cardiovascular disease

Atherosclerosis is a chronic condition in which arteries harden and narrow due to a build-up of fatty plaque on the arterial wall. Although the use of blood cholesterol-lowering medications can be successful in halting or reducing this plaque build-up, atherosclerosis remains the leading cause of cardiovascular disease-related death worldwide. This problem needs a new solution. In addition to levels of risk factors in the blood, Dr Qi believes that how blood vessel senses the deleterious environment may also determine the outcome of atherosclerosis. Lipid Cell Biology Laboratory is now studying how fat products within blood vessel cells affect vascular fitness and disease progression. This project will open a window for the development of a new class of drugs, targeting blood vessels to treat atherosclerosis.

We are employing tissue-specific knockout mice, human samples and cutting-edge technologies, such as desorption electrospray ionization mass spectrometric imaging (DESI-MSI), real-time single molecule imaging and lipidomics to achieve a good understanding of disease development temporospatially. In addition, we are also exploiting molecular and cell biology techniques to address in-depth mechanisms of disease initiation and progression.

Dr Yanfei (Jacob) Qi, Head of Laboratory

Phone: +612 8627 6045
Email: j.qi@centenary.org.au

Dr Yanfei (Jacob) Qi trained in lipid metabolism and signalling in his PhD at Centenary Institute, the University of Sydney and then following Postdoctoral research at the University of NSW. Dr Qi’s current research is focused on the lipid metabolic causes of chronic human diseases, including diabetes, fatty liver, cancer and atherosclerosis and he is the recipient of an NHMRC Project Grant, NSW Health Cardiovascular Research Grant and Centenary Institute Future Leader Fellowship.


  • Dr Long Hoa Chung, Research Officer

Dr Chung is a postdoctoral researcher interested in studying the role of mitochondrial biology in chronic human diseases. After completing his PhD at the University of NSW, Dr Chung started his research career in Professor David James’ laboratory at the University of Sydney. He joined the Lipid Cell Biology Laboratory in 2019 and is now investigating mitophagy in the context of liver injury and cancer.

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