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Chen Liang

Chen Liang, PhD

Molecular & Regenerative Medicine

CRISPR, HIV cure, Innate immunity, Interferon, SARS-CoV-2, Viral diseases, Viral pandemics
  • Senior Investigator, Lady Davis Institute for Medical Research
  • Professor, Graduate Program in Clinical and Translational Research, McGill University

Contact details

(514) 340-8222 ext. 24826


Our research involves using the molecular, genomic and proteomic approaches to understand the complex interactions between viruses and hosts, with focus on the antiviral innate immune responses to pathogenic RNA viruses including HIV-1 and SARS-CoV-2.

Our group has discovered the anti-HIV-1 activity of the interferon-stimulated genes IFITM and MxB which restrict the early steps of HIV-1 infection and belong to a short list of known HIV-1 restriction factors.

We have pioneered the application of the CRISPR gene editing technology in curing HIV-1-infected cells by cleaving and eliminating the integrated proviral DNA. Our group is dedicated to the understanding of the dysregulated interferon and inflammatory cytokine responses in SARS-CoV-2-infected individuals.

Major Research Activities

Our research focuses on illuminating the complex and multifaceted interfaces between viruses and their hosts with the goal of discovering novel strategies to mitigate viral infections and viral diseases, including the cure of HIV-1 infection. We are particularly interested in the innate immune mechanisms that directly counter viral infection and spread as well as initiate and corroborate the subsequent adaptive immune responses. This is exemplified by the interferon-stimulate gene products that inhibit viruses such as HIV-1 and human coronaviruses by targeting specific steps of viral replication via definitive molecular mechanisms. Equally fascinating is the viral antagonization strategies that balance the circle of life in the ecosystem.

Recent Publications and References