Mimi and Tian Chi worked together as a husband-wife team on defining the developmental roles of the mammalian SWI/SNF or BAF complex in both T cell development and neuronal development.
Tian Chi: Tian set out to understand the biologic actions of the SWI/SNF-like BAF complex. By making mice with mutations in the DNA binding domain of BAF57 he demonstrated that the DNA binding domain of BAF57 likely plays a critical role in targeting the complex to its target genes. Tian’s work also lead to the realization that the complex coordinately suppresses CD4 and activates CD8 to control the T cell developmental lineage. Tian also used a conditional allele of Brg1to show that Brg1 was essential for both Wnt and TCR directed developmental transitions in the thymus. Tian joined the faculty at Yale in Oct of 2003 and is now an Assistant Professor of Microbiology and Immunology.