Dr. Chen's research concerns the molecular mechanisms of HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) entry -- how HIV enters host cells and how the viral envelope protein interacts with host cellular receptors. The goal is to obtain a structurally accurate “molecular movie” of viral entry and to establish an in vitro system to recapitulate the viral membrane fusion process for mechanistic investigations at the molecular level. Insights gained from these studies will lead to a much deeper understanding of the mechanisms of viral entry and antibody neutralization and will also guide development of vaccines and therapeutics against HIV infection.


Dr. Chen received his PhD from Ohio State University and received his postgraduate training at Children's Hospital Boston and Harvard Medical School.


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  1. Structural impact on SARS-CoV-2 spike protein by D614G substitution. Science. 2021 Mar 16. View abstract
  2. A trimeric human angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 as an anti-SARS-CoV-2 agent. Nat Struct Mol Biol. 2021 02; 28(2):202-209. View abstract
  3. Distinct conformational states of SARS-CoV-2 spike protein. Science. 2020 09 25; 369(6511):1586-1592. View abstract
  4. Structural basis of transmembrane coupling of the HIV-1 envelope glycoprotein. Nat Commun. 2020 05 08; 11(1):2317. View abstract
  5. HIV-1 fusion inhibitors targeting the membrane-proximal external region of Env spikes. Nat Chem Biol. 2020 05; 16(5):529-537. View abstract
  6. Molecular Mechanism of HIV-1 Entry. Trends Microbiol. 2019 10; 27(10):878-891. View abstract
  7. Structural basis of coreceptor recognition by HIV-1 envelope spike. Nature. 2019 01; 565(7739):318-323. View abstract
  8. Structure of the membrane proximal external region of HIV-1 envelope glycoprotein. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2018 09 18; 115(38):E8892-E8899. View abstract
  9. Conformational States of a Soluble, Uncleaved HIV-1 Envelope Trimer. J Virol. 2017 05 15; 91(10). View abstract
  10. Antigenicity-defined conformations of an extremely neutralization-resistant HIV-1 envelope spike. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2017 04 25; 114(17):4477-4482. View abstract
  11. Structural basis for membrane anchoring of HIV-1 envelope spike. Science. 2016 Jul 08; 353(6295):172-175. View abstract
  12. HIV-1 ENVELOPE. Effect of the cytoplasmic domain on antigenic characteristics of HIV-1 envelope glycoprotein. Science. 2015 Jul 10; 349(6244):191-5. View abstract
  13. Stable, uncleaved HIV-1 envelope glycoprotein gp140 forms a tightly folded trimer with a native-like structure. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2014 Dec 30; 111(52):18542-7. View abstract
  14. Mechanism of HIV-1 neutralization by antibodies targeting a membrane-proximal region of gp41. J Virol. 2014 Jan; 88(2):1249-58. View abstract
  15. HIV-1 envelope trimer elicits more potent neutralizing antibody responses than monomeric gp120. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2012 Jul 24; 109(30):12111-6. View abstract
  16. Crystal structure of HIV-1 primary receptor CD4 in complex with a potent antiviral antibody. Structure. 2010 Dec 08; 18(12):1632-41. View abstract
  17. Distinct conformational states of HIV-1 gp41 are recognized by neutralizing and non-neutralizing antibodies. Nat Struct Mol Biol. 2010 Dec; 17(12):1486-91. View abstract
  18. Role of HIV membrane in neutralization by two broadly neutralizing antibodies. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2009 Dec 01; 106(48):20234-9. View abstract
  19. A fusion-intermediate state of HIV-1 gp41 targeted by broadly neutralizing antibodies. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2008 Mar 11; 105(10):3739-44. View abstract
  20. Restraining the conformation of HIV-1 gp120 by removing a flexible loop. EMBO J. 2006 Oct 18; 25(20):5026-35. View abstract