Dr. Feng Gao is a professor at Duke University in the USA and at Jilin University in China. Dr. Gao has a long-standing interest in elucidating the origin, evolution and genetic variation of human and simian immunodeficiency viruses (HIV/SIV), as well as in studying gene function, pathogenesis and vaccines of HIV/SIV from the evolutionary perspective. He discovered that HIV-1 was originated from chimpanzees and his work also provided the genetic evidence of the origin of HIV-2 from sooty mangabey monkeys. He developed the consensus gene vaccine approach for induction of cross-subtype immune responses by reducing the distances between epidemic HIV-1 strains and vaccine immunogens. He recently studied the coevolution of broadly neutralizing antibodies (bnAb) and HIV-1 in the same infected host and discovered a cooperative mechanism between different bnAbs to drive maturation of a bnAb lineage. He currently studies bnAb maturation mechanisms in humans and non-human primates, impacts of immune escape mutations on fitness of their cognate transmitted/founder viruses, development of autoreactivity and polyreactivity during bnAb maturation, and roles of maternal neutralizing antibodies in mother-to-child transmission of HIV-1.
Genetic variation and evolution of HIV/SIV, Vaccine, drug resistance, viral fitness and development of broadly neutralizing antibodies.