Hezhao Ji

Image Sarah London
Research Scientist & Head of Viral Genetics Unit

Research focusing on HIV drug resistance and molecular epidemiology.

Current research and/or projects

Dr. Ji’s work focuses on HIV Drug resistance, HIV Genetics, HIV viral evolution, Molecular HIV epidemiology, and Next generation sequencing.

Research and/or project statements

  • Development and implementation of next generation sequencing (NGS)-based HIV drug resistance (HIVDR) testing technologies
  • Development of a universal, full-length genome sequencing protocol for HCV and HIV based on oligonucleotide capture enrichment and next-generation sequencing
  • Revolution of molecular viral characterization strategies in support of enhanced viral disease outbreak investigation and surveillance in the next generation sequencing era
  • A key initiator and the organizing committee chair of the international symposium for NGS-based HIV drug resistance testing series since 2017.
    • contributes greatly to the standardization and operationalization of such assays for frontline HIVDR lab testing for both research, surveillance and patient care purposes

Professional activities / interests

Supervised graduate students, co-op students and postdoctoral fellows.

Education and awards

Education

Ph.D. Medical Microbiology & Infectious Diseases, University of Manitoba, 2007

M.Sc.  Medical Immunology, Hebei Medical University, 1996

M.D.   Zhangjiakou Medical College (current Faculty of Medicine at Hebei North University), 1993

Awards

Scientific Excellence Award, Infectious Disease Prevention and Control Branch, PHAC, 2019

International experience and/or work

Member of International AIDS society

Member of WHO Global HIV Drug Resistance Network “Research and Innovation Working Group”

Hosted three international training workshops (2015,2016 and 2017) on NGS HIVDR technologies with trainees from regional or national HIVDR reference labs from Mexico, Brazil, Puerto Rico (USA), Chile, Martinique, Argentina, Colombia, Panama and Uganda

Initiated and chaired the 1st  (2018) and the 2nd  (2019) International Symposia on NGS-based HIV Drug Resistance Testing  in Winnipeg, Canada, with expert delegates from across the world.

Key publications

Marinier E, Enns E, Tran C, Fogel M, Peters C, Kidwai A, Ji H, and Van Domselaar G. quasitools: A collection of tools for viral quasispecies analysis. BioRxiv, August 2019.

https://doi.org/10.1101/733238

Taylor, T., Lee, E.R., Nykoluk, M., (...), Brooks, J., Ji, H.  A MiSeq-HyDRA platform for enhanced HIV drug resistance genotyping and surveillance. 2019 Scientific Reports, 9(1),8970.

https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-019-45328-3

Ji, H., Enns, E., Brumme, C.J., (...), Kantor, R., Noguera-Julian, M. Bioinformatic data processing pipelines in support of next-generation sequencing-based HIV drug resistance testing: the Winnipeg Consensus. 2018 Journal of the International AIDS Society, 21(10),e25193.

https://doi.org/10.1002/jia2.25193

Liu, C.C., Ji, H. PCR amplification strategies towards full-length HIV-1 genome sequencing. 2018 Current HIV Research, 16(2), pp. 98-105. 

https://doi.org/10.2174/1570162X16666180626152252

Ji, H., Patterson, A., Taylor, T., (...), Brooks, J., Sandstrom, P. Prevalence of primary drug resistance against HIV-1 integrase inhibitors in Canada. 2018 Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes, 78(1), pp. E1-E3. 

https://doi.org/10.1097/QAI.0000000000001649

Gupta, S., Taylor, T., Patterson, A., (...), Van Domselaar, G., Ji, H.  A robust PCR protocol for HIV drug resistance testing on low-level viremia samples. 2017 BioMed Research International, 2017.

https://doi.org/10.1155/2017/4979252

Avila-Rios S, Garcia-Morales C, Matias-Florentino M, Romero-Mora KA, Tapia-Trejo D, Quiroz-Morales SV, Ji H, Sandstrom P, Casillas-Rodriguez J, Sierra-Madero J, Leon-Juarez EA, Magis-Rodriguez C, Uribe-Zuñiga P, Reyes-Terán G. HIV pre-treatment drug resistance in Mexico and its impact on first-line antiretroviral treatment effectiveness: A nationally representative 2015 World Health Organization survey using Sanger and next generation sequencing. Lancet HIV. 3(12) e579–e591, December 2016.

https://doi.org/10.1016/S2352-3018(16)30119-9

Hora B, Keating SM, Chen Y, Sanchez AM, Sabino E, Hunt G, Hackett J, Swanson P, Hewlett I, Ragupathy V, Vemula SV, Zeng P, Tee KK, Chow WZ, Ji H, Sandstrom P, Denny TN, Busch MP and Gao F. Genetic characterization of a panel of diverse HIV-1 isolates at seven international sites. PLoS One, 11(6) :e0157340.

https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0157340

Ji, H., Kozak, R.A., Biondi, M.J., (...), Sandstrom, P., Brooks, J. Next generation sequencing of the hepatitis C virus NS5B gene reveals potential novel S282 drug resistance mutations. 2015 Virology, 477, pp. 1-9. 

https://doi.org/10.1016/j.virol.2014.12.037   

Ji, H., Li, Y., Liang, B., (...), Sandstrom, P., Brooks, J. Pyrosequencing Dried Blood Spots Reveals Differences in HIV Drug Resistance between Treatment Naïve and Experienced Patients. 2013 PLoS ONE, 8(2),e56170.

https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0056170

Ji H, Liang B, Li Y, Van Domselaar G, Graham M, Tyler S, Merks H, Sandstrom P and Brooks J. Low abundance drug resistance variants in transmitted HIV drug resistance surveillance specimens identified using tagged pooled pyrosequencing. J Virol Methods 187 (2013) 314– 320.

https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jviromet.2012.10.018

Ji H, Li Y, Graham M, Liang B, Pilon R, Tyson S, Peters G, Tyler S, Merks H, Bertagnolio S, Luis Soto-Ramirez L, Sandstrom P and Brooks J. Next Generation Sequencing of Dried Blood Spot Specimens: A Novel Approach to HIV Drug Resistance Surveillance. Antivir Ther 2011;16(6):871-8

https://doi.org/10.3851/IMP1839

Ji H, Massé N, Tyler S, Liang B, Merks H, Graham M, Sandstrom P and Brooks B. HIV Drug Resistance Surveillance Using Pooled Pyrosequencing. PLoS One  Feb 2010. 5(2):e9263.

https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0009263

 

Research facility

1015 Arlington Street
Winnipeg, MB R3E 3M4
Canada

Affiliations

Adjunct Professor, Department of Medical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases, Rady Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Manitoba

Language

English