CHENG, Gong-School of Medicine, Tsinghua University

Microbiology and Infectious Diseases


Professor at School of Medicine, Tsinghua University

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Focuses on 1) pathogenesis of arboviral infectious diseases; 2) development of strategies against virus infection and transmission

Professor Gong Cheng received his Ph.D. in microbiology from Fudan University in 2008, and then worked as a postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Infectious Diseases at Yale University. He joined Tsinghua University since 2011 and is currently a tenured professor as well as doctoral supervisor. He also serves as the vice dean of the school of medicine and the deputy secretary of the party committee. He has won the “National Science Fund for Distinguished Young Scholars” of the National Natural Science Foundation of China, the “Young Yangtze River Scholar” of the Ministry of Education, the First Prize of Natural Science of Beijing Science and Technology Award, Mao Yisheng Beijing Youth Science and Technology Award, C. C. Tan Life Science Innovation Award, VCANBIO Award for Innovations and Breakthroughs in Life Sciences and Medicine, SHUSEN LANJUAN Medical Youth Award and so. Professor Gong Cheng has long been engaged in research on the pathogenesis of arboviral infectious diseases and vaccine research and development. He has published more than 40 research papers in international prestigious journals. The series of research results provide a biological basis for the prevention and control of important mosquito-borne viruses, and also promote the development and improvement of the conceptual system of virulent mosquito-borne viral infectious diseases. It represents a significant breakthrough in the study of mosquito-borne viral infectious diseases which is a key research area of life science worldwide, and facilitates the application of related research findings to the development of novel medicines and vaccines.

Professor Gong Cheng leads a research unit studying the mechanism of infection and transmission of mosquito-borne virus as well as its antiviral immunity. Multiple mosquito-borne flaviviruses such as Dengue (DENV), West Nile (WNV), Chikungunya virus (CHIKV) are the pathogens of particular interest. The overarching aim is to develop novel approaches to control mosquito-borne flaviviral diseases in nature by utilizing identified related host protein as intervention target.

·Research on DENV

Dr. Cheng, for the very first time, discovered the function of the non-structural protein-1 (NS1) of DENV in the arbovirus lifecycle process. The molecular mechanism of NS1 protein promoting virus infection of mosquitoes is clarified. The question of “how are mosquito-borne viruses effectively acquired from an infected host to a fed mosquito” is therefore answered. Through the modification of NS1 protein, the infection rate of mosquitoes can be reduced. Thus, both mosquitoes and animal infections are inhibited. This is a brand-new vaccine design strategy that can prevent dengue fever in human body and simultaneously block the transmission of the virus in nature through mosquitoes. Such NS1-based immunization vaccine strategy against Dengue virus transmission has obtained relevant patent authorization.

·Firstly clarified the mechanism of Zika virus outbreak

Dr. Cheng found that the NS1 protein also helps virus infection in mosquitoes. It is pointed out that the enhancement of NS1 secretability in infected hosts mediated by a mutation promotes ZIKV prevalence in mosquitoes through mosquito-host transmission lifecycle. The abovementioned research outcomes explain the outbreak of Zika virus in recent years.

·Vaccine Development

In terms of novel mRNA vaccines, an immune balance strategy is proposed to reduce the risk of vaccine failure caused by mutations during the spread of the virus. A vaccine vector to jointly induce protective humoral immunity and cellular immune response is designed.Parts of the research has applied for related patents.

In terms of nanoparticle vaccine research, we designed and proposed an "assembled" broad-spectrum general vaccine research strategy, through the nanoparticle’s core externally coupled with single or multiple key vaccine antigens to achieve protection against major infectious diseases with multiple mutations or different sera type of viruses.

1. Zhang H*, Zhu YB*, Liu ZW, Peng YM, Peng WY, Tong LQ, Wang JL, Liu QY, Wang PH, Cheng G#. (2022) A volatile from the skin microbiota of flavivirus-infected hosts promotes mosquito attractiveness. Cell. In Press.

2. Tong LQ*, Xiao XP*, Li M*, Fang SS*, Yu X, Zhu YB, Wu CL, Tian DY, Yang F, Sun J, Qu J, Zheng NZ, Liao SM, Tai WB, Feng SY, Zhang LM, Li YH, Wang L, Han XL, Sun SH, Yang L, Zhao JC, Liu WJ, Liu XH, Wang PH, Li L#, Zhao GY#, Zhang RL#, Cheng G#. (2022) A glucose-like metabolite deficient in diabetes inhibits cellular entry of SARS-CoV-2. Nature Metabolism. 4: 547–558.

3. Yu X, Shan C, ZHu YB, Ma EH, Wang JL, Wang PH, Shi PY, Cheng G#. (2021) A mutation-mediated evolutionary adaptation of Zika virus in mosquito and mammalian host. Proceedings of the National Academy of the Sciences. 118: e2113015118.

4. Zhu YB, Tong LQ, Nie KX, Wiwatanaratanabutr I, Sun P, Li QQ, Yu X, Wu P, Wu TS, Yu C, Liu QY, Bian ZQ, Wang PH, Cheng G#. (2019) Host serum iron modulates dengue virus acquisition by mosquitoes. Nature Microbiology. 4: 2405–2415

5. Wu P, Sun P, Nie KX, Zhu YB, Shi MY, Xiao CG, Liu H, Liu QY, Zhao TY, Chen XG, Zhou HN, Wang PH, Cheng G#. (2019) A gut commensal bacterium promotes mosquito permissiveness to arboviruses. Cell Host & Microbe, 25, 1-12.

6. Liu Y, Liu JY, Du SY, Shan C, Nie KX, Zhang RD, Li XF, Zhang RL, Wang T, Qin CF, Wang PH, Shi PY#, Cheng G#. (2017) Evolutionary enhancement of Zika virus infectivity in Aedes aegypti mosquitoes. Nature. 545: 482-486.

7. Xiao XP, Yang LJ, Pang XJ, Zhang RD, Zhu YB, Wang PH, Gao GJ#, Cheng G#. (2017) A Mesh-Duox pathway regulates homeostasis in the insect gut. Nature Microbiology. 2: 17020.

8. Liu JY, Liu Y, Nie KX, Du SY, Qiu JJ, Pang XJ, Wang PH, Cheng G#. (2016) Flavivirus NS1 protein in infected host sera enhances viral acquisition by mosquitoes. Nature Microbiology. 1: 16087.

9. Pang XJ, Xiao XP, Liu Y, Zhang RD, Liu JY, Liu QY, Wang PH, Cheng G#. (2016) Mosquito C-type lectins maintain gut microbiome homeostasis. Nature Microbiology. 1: 16023.

10. Cheng G, Cox J, Wang PH, Krishnan MN, Dai JF, Qian F, Anderson JF, Fikrig E. (2010) A C-Type Lectin collaborates with a CD45 phosphatase homolog to facilitate West Nile Virus infection of mosquitoes. Cell. 142, 714-725.


2020 the First Prize of Natural Science of Beijing Science and Technology Award (Year 2019)

2019 the 22ndMao Yisheng Beijing Youth Science and Technology Award

2018 National Science Fund for Distinguished Young Scholars, NSFC

2018 Young Yangtze River Scholar, the Ministry of Education

2018 the 11thC.C. Tan Life Science Innovation Award, C.C.Tan Foundation

2018 the 12thWuXiAppTec Award for Researches in Life Chemistry,WuXi AppTec Life Chemistry Foundation

2017 the 2ndVCANBIO Award for Innovations and Breakthroughs in Life Sciences and Medicine, VCANBIO Life Medicine Foundation

2016 the 3rdSHUSEN LANJUAN Medical Youth Award, Academician Shusen Lanjuan Talent Foundation

2015 Grand Challenge Youth Scientist,Most / Gates Foundation

2015 Newton Advanced Fellow, the Royla Sociesty

2014 National Science Fund for Distinguished Young Schoalrs, NSFC

2013 Beijing Excellent Talents Cultivation Program, Beijing Municipal Organization Department


Principles of Microbiology

Research Progress of Medical Virology

Professional Society Affiliations

2017 The Entomological Society of China, Vice President of the Committee of Insect Comparative Immunology and Interaction

2017 Association for Laboratory Animal Sciences of China, Member of the committee of Animal Experiment Biosafety

2017 The International Association of Emergency Managers, Standing Committee Member of the Asia-Pacific Health Emergency Committee

2017 Prevention Medicine Association of China, Member of the Vector Biology and Control Committee

2017《Virologica Sinica》, Editorial Board

2016 Association for Laboratory Animmal Sciences of China, Standing Committee Member of the Vectors Committee

2016 Microbiology Association of China, Member of the Microbial Biosafety Committee

2016 Frontiers in Cellular and Infection Microbiology,Associate Editor

2015 Corporate Investigator, Imperial College London


1.Gong Cheng, Xiaoping Xiao. “一种昆虫蛋白Hig及其编码基因和应用”. Patent NO: ZL201410837328.9.

2.Gong Cheng, Xiaoping Xiao. “获自埃及伊蚊的防御素及其编码基因和应用”. Patent NO: ZL201310459570.2.

3.Gong Cheng, Xiaoping Xiao. “获自埃及伊蚊的天蚕素及其编码基因和应用”. Patent NO: ZL201310455321.6.

4.Gong Cheng,Yang Liu. “一种用于登革热预防和/或治疗的疫苗”. Patent NO:ZL201310181920.3.(Applied for PCT international patent protection)

5.Gong Cheng,Jianying Liu,Yang Liu. “一种登革热双效疫苗的制备方法及其应用”. Patent NO:ZL201510830549.3.( Applied for PCT international patent protection)

6.Zhaoxin Zheng,Weiyao Yan,Gong Cheng,Mingqiu Liu. “一种口蹄疫基因工程多肽疫苗佐剂及其制备方法和应用”. Patent NO:ZL200610147664.6.

7.Zhaoxin Zheng,Xin Zhao,Gong Cheng,Weiyao Yan,Mingqiu Liu. “猪干扰素基因家族及其作为抗猪蓝耳病药物及疫苗佐剂的应用”. Patent NO:ZL201010208935.0.

8.Gong Cheng,Senmiao Du. “ZIKV-NS1蛋白及其在制备寨卡病毒传播阻断疫苗中的应用”. Patent NO:201711327739.3.

9.Gong Cheng,Yibin Zhu. “调控GABAA受体的物质在调控昆虫虫媒病毒载量中的应用”. Patent NO:201710803946.5.

10.Gong Cheng,Wanbo Tai,Shengyong Feng,Mujia Pang. “一种靶向激活体液免疫和细胞免疫的核酸疫苗载体构建及应用”. Patent NO:202110655890.2.