ACCEPTING GRADUATE STUDENTS
HIV and host cell interactions
Dr. Liang is currently a project director at the Lady Davis Institute of the Jewish General Hospital, as well as an Associate Professor in the Department of Medicine, McGill University. He is well recognized for his earlier work on HIV-1 genomic RNA packaging and particle assembly, with a focus on elucidating the mechanisms behind the selective packaging of the dimeric viral genomic RNA, and deciphering the molecular details of viral Gag protein multimerization. His group has since expanded its scope of research toward understanding the complex interactions between HIV-1 and the host cells by taking the proteomic and genomic approaches to identify cellular factors that potently modulate HIV-1 replication and to elucidate their mechanisms of action. Dr Liang’s group is also actively involved in HIV-1 vaccine research and HIV-1 latency study.
One aspect of the research in Dr. Liang’s lab involves discovering host restriction factors that inhibit HIV-1 infection of CD4+ T cells and understanding the underlying molecular mechanisms. Cellular factors currently being pursued include bone marrow stromal cell antigen 2 (BST-2, also named tetherin) that inhibits virus release from the cell surface, APOBEC3G and MOV10 that both target HIV-1 RNA-protein complex and impair viral reverse transcription, interferon induced transmembrane (IFITM) proteins that inhibit virus entry. His group is also interested in the role of cellular helicases in various steps of HIV-1 RNA replication. This latter study has led to the identification of several helicases that regulate viral RNA transcription, translation, packaging, and reverse transcription. The goal of his research is to advance the understanding of HIV-1 pathogenesis and to discover new avenues for novel HIV interventions.