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research scription

1) Host factors involved in AIDS and SARS disease progression

2) Vaccine design and innate immune response in shaping potent T cell immunity

3) Understanding HIV latency and drug discovery

Recent Major Research Grants RGC - General Research Fund (GRF) Defining the role of monocyte-derived dendritic cells in potentiating durable and protective T-cell immunity by a newly identified PD-1 isoform (Role: Principal Investigator) (2014) RGC- Collaborative Research Fund (CRF) Mechanism of potentiating HIV antigen-specific CD8+ T cells (Role: Co-Investigator) (2014) Health and Medical Research Fund (HMRF) Molecular mechanisms of regulation of PD-1 expression by Nef during HIV/SIV infection (Role: Principal Investigator) (2014) The role of HIV-1/SIV Nef in immune activation through regulating the expression of PD-1 and delta-PD-1 (Role: Principal Investigator) (2012) Identification of small molecule HIV-1 inhibitors with distinct new targets (Role: Principal Investigator) (2012) Grant from the China Ministry of Health (12-5)
Microbicide against HIV (Role: Projector Leader) (2013)

selected Publication


    Li Liu*, Wei Q, Lin Q, Fang J, Wang H, Kwok HY, Tang, HY, Nishiura K, Peng J, Tan Z, Wu T, Cheung KW, Chan KH, Alvarez X, Qin C, Lackner A, Perlman S, Yuen KY, Chen Z*. Anti–spike IgG causes severe acute lung injury by skewing macrophage responses during acute SARS-CoV infection. JCIinsight. 2019 Feb 21;4(4). pii: 123158.


    Tan Z, Li Liu*, Chiu MS, Cheung KW, Yan CW, Yu Z, Lee BK, Liu W, Man K, Chen Z.Virotherapy-recruited PMN-MDSC infiltration of mesothelioma blocks antitumor CTL by IL-10-mediated dendritic cell suppression. Oncoimmunology. 2018 Oct 16;8(1):e1518672(IF: 5.5).


    Wu X, Guo J, Niu M, An M, Li Liu*, Wang H, Jin X, Zhang Q, Lam KS, Wu T, Wang H, Wang Q, Du Y, Li J, Cheng L, Tang HY, Shang H, Zhang L, Zhou P, Chen Z*. Tandem bispecific neutralizing antibody eliminates HIV-1 infection in humanized mice.Journal of Clinical Investigation. 2018 Apr 23. pii: 96764. doi: 10.1172/JCI96764  (IF:12.78).


    Cheung KW, Wu T, Ho SF, Wong YC, Li Liu*, Wang H, Chen Z*. α4β7+CD4+ Effector/Effector Memory T Cells Differentiate into Productively and Latently Infected Central Memory T Cells by Transforming Growth Factor β1 during HIV-1 Infection.Journal of Virology. 2018 Mar 28; 92(8). pii: e01510-17. doi: 10.1128 /JVI.01510-17(IF:4.6).


    Chen ZW, Li Liu*, Chen G, Cheung KW, Du Y, Yao X, Lu Y, Chen L, Lin X, Chen Z*. Surging HIV-1 CRF07_BC epidemic among recently infected men who have sex with men in Fujian, China.J Med Virol. 2018 Mar 25. doi: 10.1002/jmv.25072(IF: 3).


     Tang X, Guo J, Cheng L, Sun C, Liu L, Zuo T, Wang H, Chen L, Zhang L, Chen Z. Single N277A substitution in C2 of simian immunodeficiency virus envelope influences vaccine-elicited CD4i neutralizing and anti-V2 antibody responses. Vaccine. doi: 10.1016/j.vaccine.2017.03.062. 2017 (IF: 3.235)


    Qiang Wei*, Li Liu*, Zhe Cong*, Xiaoxian Wu, Hui Wang, Chuan Qin, Patricia Molina, Zhiwei Chen, Chronic Δ9-Tetrahydrocannabinol Administration Reduces IgE+B Cells but Unlikely Enhances Pathogenic SIVmac251 Infection in Male Rhesus Macaques of Chinese Origin. Journal of Neuroimmune Pharmacology. 2016 Apr. (Shared first author). Impact Factor: 4.11.


    Cheung KW, Peng Q, He L, Cai K, Jiang Q, Zhou B, To SW, Yam WC, Liu L, Chen Z, Wang H. Rapid and Simultaneous Detection of Major Drug Resistance Mutations in Reverse Transcriptase Gene for HIV-1 CRF01_AE, CRF07_BC and Subtype B in China Using Sequenom MassARRAY® System. PLoS One. 2016 Apr 19;11(4):e0153641. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0153641. Impact Factor: 3.543.


    Xilin Wu, Li Liu, Ka-wai Cheung, Xiaofan Lu, Allen Ka Loon Cheung, Wan Liu, Xiuyan Huang, Yanlei Li, Zhiwei W Chen, Samantha M.Y. Chen, Tong Zhang, Hao Wu and Zhiwei Chen. Brain invasion by CD4+ T cells infected with a transmitted/founder HIV-1BJZS7 during acute stage in humanized mice. Journal of Neuroimmune Pharmacology. 2016 Feb 2. Impact Factor: 4.11.


    Li Liu*, Qiang Wei*, Kenji Nishiura, Jie Peng, Haibo Wang, Cecily Midkiff, Xavier Alvarez, Chuan Qin, Andrew Lackner, and Zhiwei Chen*. Spatiotemporal interplay of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus and respiratory mucosal Cells drives viral dissemination in Rhesus Macaques. Mucosal Immunology. 2016 Jul;9(4):1089-101. doi: 10.1038/mi.2015.127. Epub 2015 Dec 9. (Shared corresponding author). Impact Factor: 7.374.


    Lai KK, Cheung NN, Yang F, Dai J, Liu L, Chen Z, Sze KH, Chen HL, Yuen KY, Kao RY. Identification of novel fusion inhibitors of Influenza A Virus by chemical genetics. J Virol. 2015 Dec 16. pii: JVI.02326-15. Impact Factor: 4.648.


    Yu Z, Tan Z, Lee BK, Tang J, Wu X, Cheung KW, Lo NT, Man K, Liu L, Chen Z. Antigen spreading-induced CD8+T cells confer protection against the lethal challenge of wild-type malignant mesothelioma by eliminating myeloid-derived suppressor cells. Oncotarget. 2015 Oct 20;6(32):32426-32438. doi: 10.18632/oncotarget.5856. Impact Factor: 6.359.


    Zhang Y, Li SK, Yi Yang K, Liu M, Lee N, Tang X, Wang H, Liu L, Chen Z, Zhang C, Wang J, Kwok-Wing Tsui S. Whole genome methylation array reveals the down-regulation of IGFBP6 and SATB2 by HIV-1. Sci Rep. 2015 Jun 3;5:10806. doi: 10.1038/srep10806. Impact Factor: 5.578.


    Cheng L, Tang X, Liu L, Peng J, Nishiura K, Cheung AK, Guo J, Wu X, Tang HY, An M, Zhou J, Cheung KW, Wang H, Guan X, Wu Z, Chen Z. Monoclonal antibodies specific to human Δ42PD1: A novel immunoregulator potentially involved in HIV-1 and tumor pathogenesis. MAbs. 2015 May 4;7(3):620-9. doi: 10.1080/19420862. 2015.1016695. Impact Factor: 4.814.


    Jianguo Liang, Li Liu*, Mandy Cheung, Man-Po Lee, Haibo Wang, Chun-ho Li, Chun-Chung Chan, Kenji Nishiura, Xian Tang, Zhiwu Tan, Jie Peng, Ka-Wai Cheung, Wing-Cheong Yam and Zhiwei Chen*. Community-based HIV-1 Early Diagnosis and Risk Behavior Analysis of Men Having Sex with Men in Hong Kong. PLOS one. 2015 Apr 27;10(4):e0125715. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0125715. (Shared first author and corresponding author). Impact Factor: 3.543.


    Tan Z, Zhou J, Cheung AK, Yu Z, Cheung KW, Liang J, Wang H, Lee BK, Man K, Liu L, Yuen KY, Chen Z. Vaccine-elicited CD8+ T cells cure mesothelioma by overcoming tumor-induced immunosuppressive environment. Cancer Res. 2014 Aug 14. pii: canres.0473.2014. Impact Factor: 9.329. (co-supervisor of first auther)


    Haixia Xiao*, Li Liu*, Qingyu Zhu, Xian Tang, Dawei Zhan, Yanhua Du, Di Liu, Zhixin Li, Xuejun Jiang, Kwok-Yung Yuen, David D. Ho, George F. Gao and Zhiwei Chen. Vaccination with a modified vaccinia Tiantan strain expressing 1 an avian-derived H5 gene protects animals against divergent H5N1 influenza viruses. PLOS one. 2013 Dec 17;8(12):e83274. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0083274. (Shared first author).


    Jianguo Liang, Jianping Chen, Zhiwu Tan, Jie Peng, Xiao Zheng, Kenji Nishiura, Jenny Ng, Zhiyu Wang, Dongmei Wang, Zhiwei Chen* and Li Liu* Extracts of medicinal herb Sanguisorba officinalis inhibit the entry of human immunodeficiency virus type one. JFDA, 2013. published online 30 October 2013. (Correspondent author)


    Zhou J, Cheung A, Tan Z, Wang H, Yu W, Du Y, Kang Y, Lu X, Liu L, Yuen KY and Zhiwei Chen. sPD1-based DNA vaccine amplifies HIV-1 CD8+ T cells in mice. Journal of Clinical Investigation. 2013 Jun 3;123 (6):2629-42.


    Zhou J,* Cheung A,*, Liu H,* Tan Z, Tang X, Kang Y, Du Y, Wang H, Liu L and Chen Z. Potentiating functional antigen-specific CD8+ T cell immunity by a novel PD1 isoformbased fusion DNA vaccine. Mol Ther. 2013 Jul;21(7):1445-55. Peng Q, Chen Z*, Wang H, Li X, Lu X, Liu L, Zhou B, and Wang H* Imbalances of gut-homing CD4+ T cell subsets in HIV-1 infected Chinese patients. J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr. 2013 Apr 8.


    Tang X, Jia Guo J, Liu L, Tan Z, Liang J, Zuo T, Kang Y, Tang J, Wang H, Zhang L and Chen Z*. Immunodominant CD4i neutralization domain restricts vaccine-elicited antibody response against SIV envelop V2 region. Under revision in Journal of Virology.


    Sun C, Chen Z, Tang X, Zhang Y, Feng L, Du Y, Xiao L, Liu L, Zhu W, Chen L, Zhang L. Mucosal Prime with a Replicating Vaccinia-based Vaccine Elicits Protective Immunity against SIV Challenge in Rhesus Monkeys. J Virol. 2013 May;87(10):5669-77


    Kang Y, Wu Z, Lau TC, Lu X, Liu L, Cheung AK, Tan Z, Ng J, Liang J, Wang H, Li SK, Zheng B, Li B, Chen L, Chen Z. CCR5 antagonist TD-0680 uses a novel mechanism for enhanced potency against HIV-1 entry, cell-mediated infection and a resistant variant. J Biol Chem. 2012 May 11;287(20):16499-509.


    Yao X, Wang H, Yan P, Lu Y, Lin H, Chen L, Ng J, Lau E, Liu L, Wu J, Chen Z. Rising epidemic of HIV-1 infections among general populations in Fujian, China. J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr. 2012 Jul 1;60(3):328-35.


    Lu X*, Liu L*, Zhang X, Lau TC, Tsui SK, Kang Y, Zheng P, Zheng B, Liu G, Chen Z. F18, a novel small-molecule nonnucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor, inhibits HIV-1 replication using distinct binding motifs as demonstrated by resistance selection and docking analysis. Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 2012 Jan;56(1):341-51. (Shared first author)


    Lu B, Yu W, Huang X, Wang H, Liu L, Chen Z. Mucosal immunization induces a higher level of lasting neutralizing antibody response in mice by a replication-competent smallpox vaccine: vaccinia tiantan strain. J Biomed Biotechnol. 2011; 2011:970424.



    Liu L, Wei Q, Alvarez X, Wang H, Du Y, Zhu H, Jiang H, Zhou J, Lam P, Zhang L, Lackner A, Qin C, Chen Z. Epithelial Cells Lining Salivary Gland Ducts Are Early Target Cells of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus Infection in the Upper Respiratory Tract of Rhesus Macaques. J Virol. 2011 Apr;85 (8):4025-30.


    Yu W, Liu L, Chen Z. Attenuation of the smallpox vaccine vaccinia Tiantan strain and its use as a safe vaccine live vector. Chin J Viral Dis, 2011 Jan, 1:1. Wang H, Zhuang K, Liu L, Tang Z, Tang J, Tien P, Zhang L, Chen Z. Acute infection of Chinese macaques by a CCR5-tropic SHIV carrying a primary HIV-1 subtype B' envelope. J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr. 2010 Mar 1;53(3):285-91.


    Xue H, Lu X, Zheng P, Liu L, Han C, Hu J, Liu Z, Ma T, Li Y, Wang L, Chen Z, Liu G. Highly suppressing wild-type HIV-1 and Y181C mutant HIV-1 strains by 10-chloromethyl-11-demethyl-12-oxo-calanolide A with druggable profile. J Med Chem. 2010 Feb 11;53(3):1397-401.


    Sherman M. Cheng, James C.B. Li, Belinda S.S. Lin, Davy C.W. Lee, Li Liu, Zhiwei Chen, and Allan S.Y. Lau. HIV-1 trans-activator protein induction of suppressor of cytokine signaling-2 contributes to dysregulation of IFN signaling. Blood, 2009 May 21;113(21):5192-201.


    Huang X, Lu B, Yu W, Fang Q, Liu L, Zhuang K, Shen T, Wang H, Tian P, Zhang L, Chen Z. A novel replication-competent vaccinia vector MVTT is superior to MVA for inducing high levels of neutralizing antibody via mucosal vaccination. PLoS ONE. 2009;4(1):e4180.


    Luo M*, Liu H*, Zhuang K*, Liu L*, Su B, Yang R, Tien P, Zhang L, Gui X, Chen Z. Prevalence of drug resistant HIV-1 in rural areas of Hubei province in the People’s Republic of China. J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr. 2009; 00:1–8. (Shared first author)


    Chen Y*, Liu L*, Wei Q, Zhu H, Jiang H, Tu X, Qin C, Chen Z. Rhesus angiotensin converting enzyme 2 supports entry of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus in Chinese macaques. Virology. 2008 Nov 10;381(1):89-97. (Shared first author)


    Ma T, Liu L, Xue H, Li L, Han C, Wang L, Chen Z, Liu G. Chemical library and structure-activity relationships of 11-demethyl-12-oxo calanolide A analogues as anti-HIV-1 agents. J Med Chem. 2008 Mar 13;51(5):1432-46.


    Liu L, Fang Q, Deng F, Wang H, Yi C, Ba L, Yu W, Lin RD, Li T, Hu ZH, Ho DD, Zhang L, Chen Z. Resistance of cross-neutralization between palm civet coronavirus and severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus. J Virol. 2007 May;81(9):4694-700.


    Zhu W, Fang Q, Liu L, Wang H, Zhou J, Yu W, Tien P, Zhang L, Chen Z. The attenuation of vaccinia Tian Tan strain by the removal of viral M1L-K2L genes. Journal of Virological Methods. 2007. 2007 Apr 23;17459491.


    Zhang Y, Lu L, Ba L, Liu L, Yang L, Jia M, Wang H, Fang Q, Shi Y, Yan W, Chang G, Zhang L, Ho DD, Chen Z. Dominance of HIV-1 subtype CRF01_AE in sexually acquired cases leads to a new epidemic in Yunnan province of China. PLoS Med. 2006 Nov;3(11):e443.


    Liu L, Su B, Zhuang K, Tien P, Chen Z, Zhang L. Genetic Characterization of Full-Length HIV Type 1 Genomes From 3 Infected Paid Blood Donors in Henan, China. J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr. 2005 Dec 1;40(4):501-503.


    Fang Q, Yang L, Zhu W, Liu L, Wang HB, Yu WB, Xiao GF, Tien P, Zhang L, and Chen Z. Host range, growth property and virulence of the smallpox vaccine: vaccinia virus Tian Tan strain. Virology. 2005 335: 242-251. Su B*,


    Liu L*, Wang F, Gui X, Zhao M, Tien P, Zhang L and Chen Z. Human immunodeficiency virus type 1 subtype B’ dictates the AIDS epidemic among paid blood donors in Henan and Hubei Provinces of China. AIDS. 2003 Nov 21; 17 (17): 2515-2520. (Shared first author)


    Zhou R, Liu L, Guo Y, Yu H, Cheng H, Huang X, Tiersch TR, Berta P. Similar gene structure of two Sox9a genes and their expression patterns during gonadal differentiation in a teleost fish, rice field eel (Monopterus albus), Mol Reprod Dev. 2003 Nov;66(3):211-7.


    Huang X, Cheng H, Guo Y, Liu L, Gui J, Zhou R. 2002. A conserved family of doublesex-related genes from fishes, J Exp Zool. 2002 Apr 15;294(1):63-7.


    Liu L, Zhou R. Isolation of Sox11a, Sox11b and Sox19 genes from Rice field eel using degenerate primers and nested PCR. 2001. Aquatic Sciences. 63(2):191


    Cheng H, Shi H, Zhou R, Guo Y, Liu L, Liu J, Jiang Y, Kudo T, Sutou S. Characterization of Bovidae sex-determining gene SRY. Genet Sel Evol. 2001. Nov-Dec;33(6):687-94.


    Cheng H, Zhou R, Liu L, Du B, Zhou R. Cyclic core dendrimer as a new kind of vector for gene transfer into mammalian cells. Genetica. 2000. 108:53.


    Huang X, Zhou R, Liu L, Cheng H, Guo Y, Yu Q. Chromosome assignment of the rice field eel Sox9 and Sox17 genes. Aquaculture International. 1999. 7:393