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Jieliang Li, PhD

Assistant Professor, Pathology and Laboratory Medicine

Jieliang Li
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About Me

Clinical Interests

HIV-associated neurocognitive disorders (HAND) can occur when HIV enters the central nervous system (CNS) and impairs the health of neurons. HIV-patients addicted to drugs of abuse, particularly psychostimulant drugs (e.g methamphetamine), are more likely to develop neurocognitive impairment. During the course of neuroinvasion by HIV, the blood-brain barrier (BBB) plays a critical role in maintaining the brain homeostasis. We are very interested in understanding the crosstalk between the BBB-mediated innate immunity and the viral neuroinvasion. Indeed, the brain microvascular endothelial cells (BMVEC) express a variety of toll-like receptor (TLR), particular TLR3, the activation of which can lead to expression and secretion of antiviral factors. Understanding the impact of HIV on BBB in the context of drugs of abuse is important for development of therapeutic interventions for HAND in clinical settings.

Secondly, although neurons are not directly infected by HIV, neurons can be damaged or functionally impaired by the effects of viral proteins, such as gp120 and tat, and/or inflammatory mediators generated during sustained immune activation. However, how HIV enters into the central nervous system (CNS) remains controversial. Exosomes are a class of extracellular vesicles shown as emerging mediators of cell-to-cell communication. Viral molecules present in exosomes derived from HIV-infected cells have been implicated as critical mediators of intercellular viral spread, representing a receptor-independent mode of infection (Trojan exosome hypothesis). We are interested in investigating the exosomal mRNA/miRNA and protein profiles from HIV-infected and uninfected macrophages and determine whether the exosomal signatures of the plasma and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) from HIV-infected subjects with or without METH abuse predict the neurocognitive impairment in HIV disease progression.

Education, Training & Credentials

Educational Background

  • Fellowship, Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Temple University School of Medicine, Philadelphia, PA, 2012
  • Fellowship, Allergy and Immunology, The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, PA, 2009
  • Fellowship, Pharmacology, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Philadelphia, PA, 2008
  • PhD, Biochemistry and Pharmacology, City University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, 2007
  • MS, Biochemisty and Molecular Biology, Nankai University, Tianjin, China, 2003
  • BS, Biochemistry, Anhui University, Hefei, China, 2000


  • The International Society for Interferon and Cytokine Research
  • International Society for NeuroVirology
  • Society on NeuroImmune Pharmacology
  • International AIDS Society

Li J, Zhuang K, Wu G, Ho W. MRI Study of A SHIV-infected Chinese Rhesus Macaque with HIV-Associated Dementia. AIDS Res Human Retroviruses. Accepted.

Li J, Wang Y, Wang X, Ye L, Zhou Y, Persidsky Y, Ho W. Immune activation of human brain microvascular endothelial cells inhibits HIV replication in macrophages. Blood 2013; 121(15):2934-42

Wang Y, Li J*, Wang X, Ye L, Zhou Y, Ho W. Induction of interferon-λ contributes to Toll-like receptor-3 activated hepatic stellate cells-mediated hepatitis C virus inhibition in hepatocytes. J Viral Hepat 2013; 20(6):385-94 (*Co-first author)... Expand