Chaoping Chen Associate Professor

Office: MRB 233

Phone: (970) 491-0726


  • PhD, Purdue University
  • MS, Chinease Academy of Science, Institute of Microbiology


Retroviruses are enveloped RNA viruses, which comprise a large and diverse family including human immunodeficiency virus 1 (HIV-1), the causitive pathogen of AIDS. During the late stage of virus replication, specific and highly concerted interactions among viral components and host cofactors are required for progeny virion assembly and release. An exciting possibility is that these specific virus-host interfaces might represent novel targets for the development of preventative or therapeutic strategies against HIV-1 infection.

We are interested in characterization of the molecular and cellular mechanisms underlying this late stage of HIV-1 replication using a combination of biological imaging, cellular and molecular virology approaches. The ongoing projects include: 1) Understanding the mechanism of HIV-1 protease autoprocessing, a viral specific reaction responsible for production of the mature protease; 2) Identification and characterization of molecules selectively interfering with protease autoprocessing. We have established a functional assay that allows direct quantification of protease autoprocessing in cells. This assay will enable an unprecedented screen for small molecule inhibitors that suppress autoprocessing via a novel interference mechanism.