Start main content

Academic Staff

Professor NI, Tao 倪濤

Professor NI, Tao 倪濤

  • BSc (Nankai U), PhD (U of Oxford)
  • Assistant Professor
L1-60, Laboratory Block, 21 Sassoon Road, Hong Kong
+852 3917 9142
+852 2817 0857
  • Host – pathogen interaction
  • Pore-forming proteins
  • Macromolecule assembly mechanism
  • Cryo-electron tomography and subtomogram averaging

Dr. Tao Ni is an Assistant Professor in the School of Biomedical Sciences at the University of Hong Kong from 2022. Prior to joining to HKU, he was a postdoctoral research fellow at the University of Oxford and visitor scientist at eBIC working on HIV capsid and carboxysomes using cryoEM and cryoET subtomogram averaging. He completed his Bachelor in Biological Sciences degree in Nankai University (2008-2012) and PhD in structural biology in the University of Oxford (2012-2016).

My research will focus on the interface between host and pathogens (virus and parasites) to decipher their relationship in the molecular level with the state-of-art structural biology approaches, which will eventually lead to the development of molecular interventions against these individual processes.

i) Deciphering the structure and function of the molecular complexes relating to the individual steps of virus life cycle using an integrative biochemical, biophysical and structural techniques including in vitro biochemical reconstitution, X-ray crystallography, cryoEM and cryoET subtomogram averaging, etc. In particular, we are interested in the mechanism of virus assembly and modulation of virus life cycle by host cell factors.

ii) Applying cryo correlative light and electron microscopy (cryoCLEM), cryoFIB and cryoET to study the life cycle of virus and host-virus interactions in situ.

iii) Methodological development in cryoFIB, cryoET and subtomogram averaging.


More details of research topics are available at

  1. Yu X, Ni T, Munson G, Zhang P, Gilbert R. Structures of perforin-2 in solution and on a membrane reveal mechanisms for pore formation . bioRxiv 2022.06.14.496043; doi:
  2. Ni T*, Sun Y*, Seaton-Burn W, Al-Hazeem M, Zhu Y, Yu X, Liu LN, Zhang P. Tales of Two α-Carboxysomes: the Structure and Assembly of Cargo Rubisco. bioRxiv 2022.03.15.484529; doi:
  3. Ni T*, Zhu Y*, Yang Z*, Xu C, Chaban Y, Nesterova T, Ning J, Böcking T, Parker MW, Monnie C, Ahn J, Perilla JR, Zhang P. Structure of native HIV-1 cores and their interactions with IP6 and CypA. Sci Adv. 2021 Nov 19;7(47):eabj5715. doi: 10.1126/sciadv.abj5715. Epub 2021 Nov 19. PMID: 34797722; PMCID: PMC8604400.
  4. Ni T*, Frosio T*, Mendonça L*, Sheng Y, Clare D, Himes BA, Zhang P. High-resolution in situ structure determination by cryo-electron tomography and subtomogram averaging using emClarity. Nat Protoc. 2022 Feb;17(2):421-444. doi: 10.1038/s41596-021-00648-5. Epub 2022 Jan 12. PMID: 35022621.
  5. Huokko T, Ni T, Dykes GF, Simpson DM, Brownridge P, Conradi FD, Beynon RJ, Nixon PJ, Mullineaux CW, Zhang P, Liu LN. Probing the biogenesis pathway and dynamics of thylakoid membranes. Nat Commun. 2021 Jun 9;12(1):3475. doi: 10.1038/s41467-021-23680-1. PMID: 34108457; PMCID: PMC8190092.
  6. Ni T, Gerard S, Zhao G, Dent K, Ning J, Zhou J, Shi J, Anderson-Daniels J, Li W, Jang S, Engelman AN, Aiken C, Zhang P. Intrinsic curvature of the HIV-1 CA hexamer underlies capsid topology and interaction with cyclophilin A. Nat Struct Mol Biol. 2020 Sep;27(9):855-862. doi: 10.1038/s41594-020-0467-8. Epub 2020 Aug 3. PMID: 32747784; PMCID: PMC8064030.
  7. Ni T*, Jiao F*, Yu X*, Aden S, Ginger L, Williams SI, Bai F, Pražák V, Karia D, Stansfeld P, Zhang P, Munson G, Anderluh G, Scheuring S, Gilbert RJC. Structure and mechanism of bactericidal mammalian perforin-2, an ancient agent of innate immunity. Sci Adv. 2020 Jan 29;6(5):eaax8286. doi: 10.1126/sciadv.aax8286. PMID: 32064340; PMCID: PMC6989145.
  8. Ni T, Williams SI, Rezelj S, Anderluh G, Harlos K, Stansfeld PJ, Gilbert RJC. Structures of monomeric and oligomeric forms of the Toxoplasma gondii perforin-like protein 1. Sci Adv. 2018 Mar 21;4(3):eaaq0762. doi: 10.1126/sciadv.aaq0762. PMID: 29750191; PMCID: PMC5943054.
  9. Ni T, Harlos K, Gilbert R. Structure of astrotactin-2: a conserved vertebrate-specific and perforin-like membrane protein involved in neuronal development. Open Biol. 2016 May;6(5):160053. doi: 10.1098/rsob.160053. Epub 2016 May 4. PMID: 27249642; PMCID: PMC4892435.