Dr. ZHAO HanJun

 

Research Assistant  Professor, Department of Microbiology


Email: hjzhao13@hku.hk

 

 

 

Research interests:

1, Broad-spectrum antiviral defensin peptide and drug resistance studies:

2, Nanoparticle defective interfering gene studies:

3, Influenza virus and SARS-CoV-2 virulence studies:

 

Selected Publications (*: corresponding author; #: co-first author)

1)    Broad-spectrum defensin antiviral peptide studies:

1.   Hanjun Zhao#*, Kelvin K. W. To#, Chuyuan Zhang, Hoiyan Lam, Zheng Peng, Xinjie Meng, Xiankun Wang, Jianpiao Cai, Anna Jinxia Zhang, Bingpeng Yan, Man Lung Yeung, Jasper Fuk-Woo Chan, Kwok-Yung Yuen*. A trifunctional peptide broadly inhibits SARS-CoV-2 Delta and Omicron variants in hamsters. Cell Discovery, 2022, 8(1):62. Ranking of journal in Cell Biology: 7/194; (2021IF:38.101, PMID: 35768416).

Brief introduction: Following our previous studies (below paper 3-5), this study demonstrated that the basic human-defensin peptide could show potent antiviral activity by inhibiting viral entry, fusion and release. This was the first study to demonstrate that a trifunctional peptide could inhibit SARS-CoV-2 entry, fusion and release.

2.     Hanjun Zhao*, Xinjie Meng, Zheng Peng, Hoiyan Lam, Chuyuan Zhang, Xinxin Zhou, Jasper Fuk-Woo Chan, Richard Yi Tsun Kao, Kelvin K. W. To, Kwok-Yung Yuen*. Fusion-inhibition peptide broadly inhibits influenza virus and SARS-CoV-2, including Delta and Omicron variants. Emerging Microbes & Infections. 2022, 11(1):926-937. Ranking of journal in Infectious Diseases: 8/94; (2021IF:19.568, PMID: 35259078).

Brief introduction: Following the antiviral mechanism of our previous studies published in Nature communications (below paper 3 and paper 4:), this study demonstrated that the basic frog-defensin peptide can be a broad-spectrum antiviral by inhibiting virus fusion and entry.

3.    Hanjun Zhao, Kelvin K. W. To, Hoiyan Lam, Xinxin Zhou, Jasper Fuk-Woo Chan, Peng Zheng, Andrew C. Y. Lee, Jianpiao Cai, Wan-Mui Chan, Jonathan Daniel Ip, Chris Chung-Sing Chan, Man Lung Yeung, Anna Jinxia Zhang, Allen Wing Ho Chu, Shibo Jiang, Kwok-Yung Yuen. Cross-linking peptide and repurposed drugs inhibit both entry pathways of SARS-CoV-2. Nature Communications, 2021. 12,1517. Rank in Multidisciplinary Science: 6/73; (2021IF:17.694, PMID: 33750821).

Brief introduction: Following our previous study (below paper 4: PMID: 32843628), we further developed a potent branched peptide 8P9R to more effectively inhibit the both entry pathways of SARS-CoV-2 infection (endocytosis and TMPRSS2 pathways).

4.    Hanjun Zhao#, Kelvin K. W. To#Kong-Hung Sze#, Timothy Tin-Mong Yung, Mingjie Bian, Hoiyan Lam, Man Lung Yeung, Cun Li, Hin Chu, Kwok-Yung Yuen. A broad-spectrum virus- and host-targeting peptide against respiratory viruses including influenza virus and SARS-CoV-2. Nature Communications, 2020, 11, 4252. Rank in Multidisciplinary Science: 6/73; (2021IF:17.694, PMID: 32843628).

Brief introduction: Following our previous study (below paper 5: PMID: 26911565), we were the first group to identify that a basic mouse-defensin peptide targeting both virus and host can broadly inhibit influenza virus, SARS-CoV-2 and rhinovirus.

5.   Hanjun Zhao, Jie Zhou, Ke Zhang, Dabin Liu, Vincent Kwok-Man Poon, Chris Chung-Sing Chan, Ho-Chuen Leung, Ng Fai, Yong-Ping Lin, Anna Jin-Xia Zhang, Dong-Yan Jin, Kwok-Yung Yuen, Bo-Jian Zheng. A novel peptide with potent and broad-spectrum antiviral activities against multiple respiratory viruses. Scientific Reports. 2016, 6:22008. DOI: 10.1038/srep22008. Rank in Multidisciplinary Science: 17/72; (2021IF:4.996, PMID: 26911565).

Brief introduction: In this study, we were the first group to demonstrate that a basic mouse-defensin peptide can broadly inhibit pH-dependent viruses by blocking the endosomal acidification.

 

2)    Nanoparticle defective interfering gene studies:

6.   Hanjun Zhao*, Chuyuan Zhang, Hoiyan Lam, Zheng Peng, Xinjie Meng, Lu Lu, Man Lung Yeung, Kin-Hang Kok, Jasper Fuk-Woo Chan, Kelvin K. W. To, Kwok-Yung Yuen*. Peptidic defective interfering gene nanoparticles against Omicron and Delta SARS-CoV-2 variants and influenza A virus in vivo. Signal Transduction and Targeted Therapy. 2022, 7:226. Ranking of journal in Biochemistry & Molecular Biology: 4/296; (2021IF:38.126)

Brief introduction: In this study, following our previous study (below paper 7), we further investigated influenza DIGs against avian and pandemic influenza virus. Moreover, we developed a novel high-efficient gene delivery vector for gene delivery in the lung airway to significantly inhibit SARS-CoV-2 Delta and Omicron variant replication in hamsters.

7.   Hanjun Zhao#, Kelvin K. W. To#, Hin Chu, Qiulu Ding, Xiaoyu Zhao, Cun Li, Huiping Shuai, Shuofeng Yuan, Jie Zhou, Kin-Hang Kok, Shibo Jiang, Kwok-Yung Yuen. Dual-functional peptide with defective interfering genes effectively protects mice against avian and seasonal influenza. Nature Communications, 2018, 9:2358. Rank in Multidisciplinary Science: 6/73; (2021IF:17.694, PMID: 29907765).

Brief introduction: In this study, we were the first group to demonstrate that defective interfering genes (DIGs) can be a potent antiviral in vivo against avian and seasonal influenza virus.

3)   Influenza virus and SARS-CoV-2 virulence studies:

8.    Hanjun Zhao*, Lu Lu, Zheng Peng, Lin-Lei Chen, Xinjin Meng, Chuyuan Zhang, Jonathan Daniel Ip, Wan-Mui Chan, Allen Wing-Ho Chu, Kwok-Hung Chan, Dong-Yan Jin, Honglin Chen, Kwok-Yung Yuen, Kelvin Kai-Wang To*. SARS-CoV-2 Omicron variant shows less efficient replication and fusion activity when compared with Delta variant in TMPRSS2-expressed cells. Emerging Microbes & Infections. 2021, 11(1):277-283. Ranking of journal in Infectious Diseases: 8/94; (2021IF:19.568).

Brief introduction: In this stud, we were the first group to demonstrate that Omicron variant is more relying on endocytosis pathway but not TMPRSS2 pathway for viral infection when compared with Delta variant.

9.    Hanjun Zhao, Hin Chu, Xiaoyu Zhao, Shuofeng Yuan, Bo-Jian Zheng, Jie Zhou Kwok-Yung Yuen. Novel residues in avian influenza A virus PA protein affecting virulence in mammalian hosts. Virology, 2016, 498:1-8. Rank in Virology: 25/37; (2021IF:3.513).

Brief introduction: In this study, we used the reverse genetics technique to investigate the PA protein of influenza H7N7 virus significantly affected the virulence of H7N7 virus in the mouse model.

4)    Review papers:

10. Chuyuan Zhang, Xinjie Meng, Hanjun Zhao*. Comparison of Cell Fusions Induced by Influenza Virus and SARS-CoV-2. International Journal of Molecular Sciences. 2022, 23(13): 7365. Ranking of journal in Biochemistry & Molecular Biology: 69/296; (2021IF:6.208).

11.  Hanjun Zhao, Jie Zhou, Shibo Jiang, Bo-Jian Zheng. Receptor binding and transmission studies of H5N1 influenza virus in mammals. Emerging Microbes & Infections. 2013, 2(2): e85. Ranking of journal in Infectious Diseases: 8/94; (2021IF:19.568).

Patents:

1.    Hanjun Zhao, Kwok-Yung Yuen. Antiviral Peptides and Methods of Use Thereof. US63/293,995. (Application: 2021-12-27). Refer to PMID: 35768416.

2.   Hanjun Zhao, Kwok-Yung Yuen. Viral Nucleic Acid, Molecules, and Compositions and Methods of Use Thereof. US63/283,101 (Application: 2021-11-24).

3.  Hanjun Zhao, Kwok-Yung Yuen. Anti-viral Peptides and Compositions and Methods of Use Thereof. US63/150,141 (Application:2021-2-17-P16). Refer to PMID: 35259078

4.  Hanjun Zhao, Kwok-Yung Yuen. Compositions of Anti-viral Peptides and/or Compounds and Methods and Use Thereof. PCT/CN2021/125649 (Application: 2021-10-22). Refer to PMID: 33750821.

Hanjun Zhao, Kwok-Yung Yuen. Compositions of Anti-viral Peptides and/or Compounds and Methods and Use Thereof. US63/104,312. (Application:2020-10-22). Refer to PMID: 33750821. Refer to PMID: 33750821.

5.  Hanjun Zhao, Kelvin K. W. ToKwok-Yung Yuen. Compositions of Antiviral Peptides and Methods of the Use Thereof. PCT/CN2021/078639 (Application: 2021-3-25). Refer to PMID: 32843628.

Hanjun Zhao, Kelvin K. W. ToKwok-Yung Yuen. Compositions of Antiviral Peptides and Methods of the Use Thereof. US62/991,407 (Application: 2020-3-18). Refer to PMID: 32843628.

6.   Hanjun Zhao, Kelvin K. W. ToKwok-Yung Yuen. Nucleic Acid molecules and Dual-Functional Peptides Having Antiviral Activity and Delivery Activity, Compositions and Methods Thereof. EP19792753.6 (Application: 2020-10-17). Refer to PMID: 29907765.

Hanjun Zhao, Kelvin K. W. ToKwok-Yung Yuen. Nucleic Acid molecules and Dual-Functional Peptides Having Antiviral Activity and Delivery Activity, Compositions and Methods Thereof. PCT/CN2019/084612 (Application: 2019-04-26). Refer to PMID: 29907765.

Hanjun Zhao, Kelvin K. W. ToKwok-Yung Yuen. Nucleic Acid molecules and Dual-Functional Peptides Having Antiviral Activity and Delivery Activity, Compositions and Methods Thereof. US62/668,872 (Application: 2018-4-26). Refer to PMID: 29907765.

7.  Bojian Zheng, Hanjun Zhao. Peptides Having Activity of Inhibiting Infections of Respiratory Viruses and Use of the Same. EP2994481B1 (Grant:2018-01-10). Refer to PMID: 26911565.

Bojian Zheng, Hanjun Zhao. Peptides having activity of inhibiting infections of respiratory viruses, use of the same and methods of preparing the same. KR101800951B1 (Grant:2017-11-23). Refer to PMID: 26911565.

Bojian Zheng, Hanjun Zhao. Peptides with inhibitory activity of the respiratory viral infection, its use, and its manufacturing method. JP6142077B2 (Grant:2017-06-07).

Bojian Zheng, Hanjun Zhao. Method of preventively treating a subject at the risk of developing infections of a respiratory virus. US9822155B2 (Grant:2017-11-21).

Bojian Zheng, Hanjun Zhao. Peptides having activity of inhibiting infections of respiratory viruses, use of the same and methods of preparing the same. MX346160B (Grant: 2017-03-08). Refer to PMID: 26911565.

Bojian Zheng, Hanjun Zhao. Peptides having activity of inhibiting infections of respiratory viruses, use of the same and methods of preparing the same. CA2910533C (Grant: 2018-07-31). Refer to PMID: 26911565.

Bojian Zheng, Hanjun Zhao. Peptides having activity of inhibiting infections of respiratory viruses, use of the same and methods of preparing the same. AU2014262324B2 (Grant: 2016-08-04). Refer to PMID: 26911565.

Bojian Zheng, Hanjun Zhao. Peptides that inhibit viral respiratory infections, their use and methods of preparation. RU2639559C2 (Grant:2017-12-21). Refer to PMID: 26911565.

Bojian Zheng, Hanjun Zhao. Peptides Having Activity of Inhibiting Infections of Respiratory Viruses and Use of the Same. US9464123B2 (Grant:2016-10-11).

Bojian Zheng, Hanjun Zhao. Active peptides and methods of preparation and application of inhibiting viral infection of respiratory. CN103554244B (Grant:2016-09-07).

 

Joining our team:

Weare looking for motivated individuals to join us as Research assistant, MPhil, PhD students or Postdoctoral researchers. Interested candidates can send a cover letter detailing your research interests and CV to Dr. Zhao (hjzhao13@hku.hk).