Virology & Immunology
Peking Union Medical College (PUMC) & Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences (CAMS)
My major goal of research is to understand how the viral infection causes diseases through virus-host interactions. I have more than 20 years’ experience in Virology, with specific training and expertise in gene regulation, signal transduction, molecular biology and cellular innate defenses. I have a broad background in molecular biology and virology with a specific training and expertise in molecular virology and cell biology. During my graduate training in molecular virology at Peking Union Medical College (PUMC), I had been focused on construction of a recombinant vaccine against rabies viruses using canine adenovirus as vector. My first postdoctoral training in UMDNJ (now named New Jersey medical school) had been involved in ascertaining the function of the dsRNA of adenoviruses, and in figuring out how the IL18 interfered with Caspase-induced apoptosis. As a postdoctoral fellow and later a staff scientist at the Wistar institute, I had the opportunity to be trained with a worldwide famous scientist, Dr. Gerd Maul (named by the IHW as the father of ND10). During the time working with Dr. Maul, I had been focused on the interaction of ND10 and DNA viruses. As a PI or co-Investigator on several NIH-funded grants and ACS grants at Ponce School of Medicine, I worked on how viral (cytomegalovirus and Kaposi’s sarcoma associated herpesvirus) genes are regulated at splicing and post-translational levels. I also started animal studies on cytomegalovirus (CMV) pathogenesis using mouse model. My group has explored the function of several viral proteins, especially IE1 of CMV. We found that IE1 interferes with the differentiation of neural stem cells. After being transferred to Howard University, I started using the mouse model to further study how CMV causes neural disorders. In addition, we have investigated Zika virus (ZIKV) that causes serious diseases among the babies whose mother are infected with ZIKV during pregnancies. We identified several types of permissive cells for ZIKV infection, cloned all the ZIKV-encoded proteins, established a neonatal mouse model for ZIKV infection and studied ZIKV protein-viral RNA interaction.
In addition, I successfully administered the projects (e.g. staffing, research protections, budget), collaborated with other researchers, and produced several peer-reviewed publications from each project.For systemically exploring the molecular pathology of ZIKV, it is necessary to have a combined background of Virology, Molecular biology, Neurobiology and established mouse model for congenital viral infection. I have the expertise in Virology and Molecular biology, and my group has generated several mutations of ZIKV and CMV.