Photo of Benjamin Chen
Benjamin K Chen, MD, PhD
    • Positions
    • ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR | Medicine, Infectious Diseases
    • ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR | Microbiology
    • ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR | Pharmacological Sciences
    • Language
    • English
The Benjamin K. Chen Laboratory studies the fundamental mechanisms of HIV assembly and transmission between cells. During infection of human cells with HIV-1, the causative agent of AIDS, each viral protein interacts with and utilizes cellular factors to propagate the infection. We are interested in the molecular interactions that occur between virus and host during viral assembly and transmission. To produce virus particles, one protein called Gag coordinates HIV assembly so that it occurs at a specific time and location. In infected T cells we find that assembly is triggered to occur when T cells contact one another, a phenomenon that greatly enhances propagation of HIV from cell to cell. The adhesive structures that form between infected and uninfected cells have been called virological synapses. We are working to understand how viral assembly and transmission are coordinated to facilitate HIV dissemination. Our studies are designed to uncover key cellular factors and events in assembly and transmission during HIV infection. An understanding of virological synapse-mediated transfer will aid in the development of new drug, vaccine and microbicide approaches.

In The News
Transfer of HIV Between T Cells Captured on Video
Mount Sinai researchers and colleagues have for the first time captured on video the transfer of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) from infected to uninfected T cells.
Find out more here

Research Topics

Antivirals, Cell Adhesion, Cell Motility, Cytoskeleton, HIV/AIDS, Image Analysis, Imaging, Immune Deficiency, Immunology, Infectious Disease, Integrins, Lymphocytes, Lysosomes/endosome, Macrophage, Migration, Molecular Biology, Protein Trafficking & Sorting, RNA Transport & Localization, Retrovirus, Synapses, T Cells, Trafficking, Two-Photon Imaging, Vaccine Development, Viruses and Virology

Multi-Disciplinary Training Areas

Biophysics and Systems Pharmacology [BSP], Immunology [IMM], Microbiology [MIC]


BAS, Stanford University

MD, Weill Medical College of Cornell University

PhD, The Rockefeller University

, Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research, Massachusetts Institute of Technology