Dr. Hu holds a B.A. degree with Great Distinction in Biochemistry from the University of California, Berkeley, and a Ph.D. in Molecular Biology from the University of Wisconsin. He completed his postdoctoral training in tumor virology in Dr. J.F. Sambrook's laboratory at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory.
Dr. Shiu-Lok Hu's work focuses on host-pathogen interactions of primate lentiviruses and approaches for the prevention and treatment of HIV/AIDS. Current research topics include: 1. novel vaccine designs and mechanisms of immune protection against primate lentivirus infection; 2. structural, functional and immunogenic properties of novel HIV-1 and SIV antigens; and 3. host restriction mechanisms against primate lentivirus infection.
Dr. Hu pioneered the “prime-boost” immunization concept, using live recombinant poxvirus priming and subunit vaccine boosting to protect macaques against infection by pathogenic primate lentiviruses. These findings established a basis to study the correlates and mechanisms of protection, to define the limits of the protective responses, and to design new immunization approaches to augment such responses.
One of the key targets for the development of AIDS vaccines is the highly glycosylated surface antigen of HIV. Evidence suggests that these glycans contribute to viral escape of host immune responses. By modifying glycan structures on the surface glycoprotein of HIV-1, Dr. Hu’s laboratory has been able to induce cross-reactive neutralizing antibodies against primary isolates of HIV-1, an important goal in AIDS vaccine research.
Dr. Hu’s laboratory also discovered several novel molecules in Old World monkeys, including a TRIM-cyclophilin fusion protein, which restricts the replication of certain primate lentiviruses in a species-specific manner. Studies of these molecules may provide a better understanding of the natural mechanism by which certain primate species resist retrovirus infection. In collaboration with investigators from multiple institutions, Dr. Hu's laboratory utilizes various macaque models to evaluate novel vaccines and therapeutic approaches, including gene therapy and hematopoietic stem cell transplantation. Results from these studies may inform the development of vaccines and treatments for the prevention and control of HIV/AIDS in humans.