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Antiviral Drug Discovery Laboratory

Photo of Chin Ho Chen, PhD

Chin Ho Chen, PhD

Office: SORF Bldg Room 117 Durham, NC 27710
Phone: 919-684-3819

Scientific Focus

The Laboratory of Antiviral Drug Discovery conducts research for the development of novel therapeutics against HIV-1 and influenza viruses.

  • Novel small molecules against HIV-1 and influenza viruses
  • Identification of biological active principles from natural products
  • Lead optimization of antivirals
  • Molecular mechanisms of antiviral actions

Selected Achievements


  1. Discovery of HIV-1 entry inhibitors through studying HIV-1 Env-mediated cell-cell fusion. We study the structure and function of HIV-1 envelope glycoproteins with a goal of identifying inhibitors that can block HIV-1 entry. We are among the pioneers in defining the helix-helix interaction in gp41 that is critical for HIV-1 entry. Eventually, this led to the development of the FDA-approved HIV-1 fusion inhibitor, Fuzeon, which inhibits the helix-helix interaction of gp41. The discovery of the helix-helix interaction in gp41 is the theoretical basis for the development of the HIV-1 fusion inhibitor, Fuzeon. We believe small-molecule HIV-1 entry inhibitors also have potential to become useful additions to current antiretroviral therapy.
  2. Development of anti-HIV bi-functional betulinic acid derivatives. We have synthesized a class of betulinic acid derivatives that targets both HIV entry and maturation.
  3. Development of anti-HIV maturation inhibitor that can overcome bevirimat resistance observed in clinical trials.
  4. We have discovered that a daphnane diterpene, gnidimacrin, can inhibit HIV-1 entry at pM concentration. Gnidimacrin also activates HIV from latently infected cells and leads to the elimination of infected cells. Thus, gnidimacrin may also become a useful agent for purging HIV-1 from latent HIV reservoirs.
  5. Discovery of novel influenza virus inhibitors.

Contact Us

Li Huang:

Latest Publications

Tian, Y, Liu, Z, Liu, J, Huang, B, Kang, D, Zhang, H, De Clercq, E, Daelemans, D, Pannecouque, C, Lee, K-H, Chen, C-H, Zhan, P, and Liu, X. "Targeting the entrance channel of NNIBP: Discovery of diarylnicotinamide 1,4-disubstituted 1,2,3-triazoles as novel HIV-1 NNRTIs with high potency against wild-type and E138K mutant virus." European journal of medicinal chemistry 151 (March 23, 2018): 339-350.

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Dong, M, Chen, X-Q, Chen, C-H, and Li, R-T. "Terpenes from Euphorbia antiquorum and their anti-HIV activity in vitro." Chemistry & biodiversity (March 22, 2018).

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Huang, L, Lai, W-H, Zhu, L, Li, W, Wei, L, Lee, K-H, Xie, L, and Chen, C-H. "Elimination of HIV-1 Latently Infected Cells by Gnidimacrin and a Selective HDAC Inhibitor." ACS medicinal chemistry letters 9, no. 3 (March 2018): 268-273.

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Yan, S-L, Li, Y-H, Chen, X-Q, Liu, D, Chen, C-H, and Li, R-T. "Diterpenes from the stem bark of Euphorbia neriifolia and their in vitro anti-HIV activity." Phytochemistry 145 (January 2018): 40-47.

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