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Research

Our Research Teams

Led by experts in virology, immunology, cancer biology, chemistry, and drug development, our five research teams work to better understand the pathobiology of hepatitis while also investigating other RNA viruses that cause it to develop more effective antiviral drugs and immune modulators. Faculty and research staff at Baruch S. Blumberg Institute are committed to the development of earlier diagnostics, precision treatments and ultimately cures for the hepatitis B virus, liver cancer and other related diseases.

Dr. Jiao team photo

Virology & Viral Pathogenesis

Ju-Tao Guo, MD, program director
Jinhong Chang, MD, Ph.D
Ying-Hsiu Su, Ph.D
Liuidi Tang, Ph.D
Qiong Zhao, Ph.D

The fundamental exploration, dissection and keen understanding of the molecular mechanisms, pathogeneses and replication methods of hepatitis viruses, flaviviruses and human coronaviruses are imperative to the discovery and development of more effective therapeutics and ultimately functional cures.

The team at the Blumberg Institute also investigates the innate and adaptive immune responses of hosts that are able to control HBV infections, as well as the oncogenesis of hepatitis B-related hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). .

Ju-Tao Guo
Ju-Tao Guo, MD, program director
Jinhong Chang and Yanming Du
Jinhong Chang, MD, PhD, program co-director and Yanming Du, PhD, program co-director

Antiviral Drug Discovery & Development

Jinhong Chang, MD, PhD, program co-director
Yanming Du, PhD, program co-director
Jason Clements, PhD
Ju-Tao Guo, MD
John Kulp, PhD
Liudi Tang, PhD
Qiong Zhao, PhD

The team at the Blumberg Institute homes in on the structure-assisted discovery, preclinical development and chemical optimization of small molecular antiviral and immune modulating agents for the treatment of chronic HBV and flavivirus infections such as yellow fever.

Biopharmaceutics

Ju-Tao Guo, MD, program director
Jinhong Chang, MD, PhD
Ian Henrich, PhD
Randall Hyer, MD, PhD
Liudi Tang, PhD
Qiong Zhao, PhD

In collaboration with pharmaceutical industry and academic partners, the team at the Blumberg Institute focuses on the development of RNA-trigger technology, mRNA- and gene editing-based therapeutics for the treatment of chronic HBV and liver cancer.
Ju-Tao Guo
Ju-Tao Guo, MD, program director
Dr. Ying-Hsiu Su
Ying-Hsiu Su, PhD, program director

Precision Medicine

Ying-Hsiu Su, PhD, program director
Timothy Block, PhD
Aejaz Sayeed, PhD

With platform technology developed in Dr. Su’s laboratory, the team at the Blumberg Institute focuses on the discovery and development of urine DNA and cell-free RNA biomarkers for liver cancer diagnosis, treatment and reoccurrence monitoring, while also providing bioinformatics support to all Blumberg Institute laboratories.

The role of HBV DNA integration in the carcinogenesis of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is also currently under investigation.

Pennsylvania Cancer & Regenerative Medicine Research Center

Richard Pestell, Ph.D, president
Xuanmao Jiao, Ph.D
Zhiping Li, Ph.D

Current studies at Pennsylvania Cancer & Regenerative Medicine Research Center investigate the molecular links between mitophagy, autophagy, and cell division symmetry, crucial for stem cell expansion and cancer resistance. Using inducible deletion mice, we analyze cyclins, NFKB, and Akt1 pathways. Additionally, we explore cell fate determination in tumorigenesis using Dachshund transgenics, highlighting its pivotal role in both development and tumorigenesis. Assessing cyclins’ non-canonical functions in various tumors unveils their impact on miRNA expression, stem cells, and heterotypic signals.
Richard Pestell, PhD, president
Chari A. Cohen, DrPH, MPH, president of the Hepatitis B. Foundation

Public Health Research

Chari A. Cohen DrPH, MPH
Catherine Freeland, PhD, MPH
Yasmin Ibrahim, MD, PhD, MBA

The Hepatitis B Foundation’s staff is engaged in a wide range of public health research under the direction of Chari A. Cohen, DrPH, MPH, president of the foundation. A widely published scholar, Dr. Cohen’s research interests include eliminating health disparities associated with hepatitis B, developing best practices for improving screening, vaccination and linkage to care rates to decrease morbidity and mortality associated with chronic hepatitis B infection.

Catherine Freeland, PhD, MPH, associate director of public health research, is collaborating with researchers employed by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to study efforts aimed better preventing mother-child infection of hepatitis B.

Yasmin Ibrahim, MD, PhD, MBA, the foundation’s public health program director, conducts research on discrimination with patients worldwide and directs the three Community Advisory Boards (CABs) that are sponsored by the foundation.

Research publication by them with colleagues at the Hepatitis B Foundation and elsewhere are posted here.

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