AIRR Community and Tsinghua University discuss Chinese research using AIRR-seq data to study adaptive immune response in COVID-19 patients


By Judy Siegel-Itzkovich

A meeting focusing on Chinese researchers’ use of AIRR-seq data to study the adaptive immune response – especially in COVID-19 patients – was held recently by the AIRR Community and Tsinghua University.

The purpose of this co-organized meeting was to expose AIRR-seq researchers in China to the philosophy and tools developed by the AIRR Community and help integrate researchers from all over the world through the AIRR Community.

Although collaboration and sharing data internationally is complicated and difficult, this successful meeting was an important step in forming the relationships necessary for overcoming many of these challenges.

Tsinghua University is a major research university in Beijing and a member of the C9 League of Chinese universities. Since its establishment exactly 110 years ago, it has produced many notable leaders in science, engineering, politics, business, academia, and culture. The university is ranked as the 15th best university in the world in the QS World University Rankings and No.1 in Asia by the Asia University Rankings and the U.S. News and World Report.

The meeting followed a hybrid format, combining online lectures by AIRR Community members in the US and Europe in conjunction with an in-person meeting in Shenzhen, China that was organized by Professor Xiao Liu of Tsinghua University’s Shenzhen campus.

The in-person, all-day meeting was held on December 6, 2020 in Shenzhen, which corresponded to Saturday evening December 5 in North America. Dr. Xiao Liu introduced the meeting and explained the overall goals of the joint enterprise. Then Dr. Xing Xin-Hui welcomed both in-person and virtual participants to Tsinghua University.

Xing Xin-Hui giving an address at the SIGS-AIRR Community joint meeting
Xing Xin-Hui giving an address at the SIGS-AIRR Community joint meeting

After these introductions, the chairman of the AIRR Community Executive Committee at the time, Dr. Nina Luning Prak, introduced the AIRR Community. Dr. Felix BredeniReceptor Plus‘s scientific manager, discussed the AIRR Data Commons. Dr. Corey Watson of University of Louisville discussed new approaches to sequencing the complete immunoglobulin loci from the germline; and the North American component was capped by Dr. Scott Boyd presenting his research on AIRR-seq data in Covid-19 patients.

The next phase of the meeting was a series of talks from the in-person meeting in Shenzen on AIRR-seq data production and analysis, from Dr. Linqi Zhang of Tsinghua University; Dr. Jian Han of JITRI Applied Adaptome Immunology Institute; Dr. Hanjie Li of Shenzhen Institutes of Advanced Technology; Dr. Zhenhai Zhang of Southern Medical University; and Dr. Naibo Yang of BGI-Shenzhen.

This exciting international effort then closed with two speeches – by another member of the iReceptor Plus consortium, Dr. Victor Greiff from University of Oslo, Norway and Dr. Lisa Paschold, University Clinic, Halle-Wittenburg, Germany.

The organizers hope that the presentations will lead to closer coordination and collaboration between Chinese and other international researchers to produce, analyze and share AIRR-seq data, leading to improved biomedical research and patient care.

To learn more on how to work with the AIRR Community to further collaborative immunological research, see, or contact