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HKU-PRP News

17 Mar 2015

Suki Lee recognized for her contribution to the understanding of influenza A virus pathogenesis

Suki Lee, a Group Leader of HKU-Pasteur Research Pole has recently received the Most Promising Young Researcher Award from Hong Kong Food and Health Bureau, in recognition of her contribution to the understanding of influenza A virus pathogenesis. 

12 Mar 2015

The Great Escape: Ming Yuan Li and co-workers find that dengue virus uses cellular receptors to move outside of the cell.

The paper, “KDEL Receptors Assist Dengue Virus Exit from theEndoplasmic Reticulum”, published in the journal Cell Reports and the feature was on the cover of the current issue.

Dengue, a mosquito-borne viral disease, is a major health concern in Asia and South America. Clinical manifestations range from flu-like symptoms to a more severe dengue hemorrhagic fever (DHF), and there are currently no vaccines or specific medications for the treatment of the infection. Up to 50-100 million infections are now estimated to occur annually in over 100 endemic countries, putting almost half of the world’s population at risk.

Although dengue cases in Hong Kong are mainly imported and local transmission is extremely rare, HKU-Pasteur Research Pole has been working on this pathogen for many years, after developing a robust cell biological system to study intracellular trafficking of dengue virus.

The life cycle of dengue virus is a complex process relying on specific interactions with host factors that in turn, represent potential targets for functionally interfering with viral replication and pathogenesis. It is unknown whether trafficking and secretion of progeny virus require host intracellular receptors.

Ming Yuan, who carried out this research during her PhD thesis and is now a Research Assistant at HKU-Pasteur Research Pole,asked a crucial question: how does a virus that is assembled inside the cell finds its way out of it?

Her study demonstrates that host KDEL receptors serve as internal receptors that interact with dengue virus structural protein for trafficking from Endoplasmic Reticulum to Golgi of newly formed DENV progeny virions.  These results were obtained in collaboration with teams at Institut Pasteur (Paris) and Institut Pasteur du Laos, with support from BNP-Paribas Corporate and Investment Banking.

This study provides new insight into the molecular mechanisms responsible for dengue progression and pathogenesis during last stage of dengue virus life cycle.

The publication is available here and has been featured in a Research Highlight by Nature Structural and Molecular Biology.

09 Mar 2015

The Institut Pasteur launches the “2020 Pasteur Global Health initiative” in Hong Kong

Speaking at a packed press conference, Christian Brechot, President of the Institut Pasteur, explained that “The world is currently facing unprecedented health concerns with infectious diseases that are spreading fast. The 2020 Pasteur Global Health Initiative strives to find treatments of diseases, to increase the surveillance of emerging infections, and to pursue cutting-edge training for tomorrow’s brightest minds in the medical field, expanding further scientific knowledge”.

The target of this campaign is to raise US$ 120 million by 2020 from the private sector.  The funds will be used to conduct collaborative research through the Institut Pasteur International Network of 33 institutes present in 5 continents, in order to respond to these challenges and improve understanding of major global health challenges through research and public health actions.

In this context, the Institut Pasteur and the Institut Pasteur International Network have established the Center for Global Health Research and Education that aims to improve the health of populations worldwide, reinforce scientific knowledge and technical skills in the five continents, and provide a comprehensive educational program that will train and equip the next generation of researchers and global health leaders.

Acclaimed French actress, screenwriter and director Ms Sophie Marceau was the Ambassador of this event and joined the press conference alongside with Hong Kong actor, director and producer Mr Michael Wong, and painter and sculptor Mr Georges-Pascal Ricordeau, who presented a sculpture work especially conceived for this event, using his famed ‘tresse’ process which references viruses and anti-viruses.

“Institut Pasteur’s belief in the power of scientific teamwork and international collaboration to curing life-threatening viruses fast and efficiently is an inspiration,” said Ms Marceau.  The three creative individuals from the world of art and entertainment will help bring the urgent and critical medical researches to the attention of the global public.

Roberto Bruzzone, Co-Director, HKU-Pasteur Research Pole emphasized the collaboration with the University of Hong Kong and the pivotal role of HKU-Pasteur as the Asian hub of the 2020 Pasteur Global Health Initiative.  “Building on the strengths of the 33 institutes of the Institut Pasteur International Network, the Center for Global Health Research and Education of the Institut Pasteur will be in a unique position in the field of public health and biomedical science to lead ambitious research projects encompassing human, animal health, and environmental concerns” he added.

The grand launch of the 2020 Pasteur Global Health Initiative was closed with a gala dinner at the Asia Society, with the Honorable Carrie Lam, Chief Secretary for Administration of Hong Kong Government and Mr. Arnaud Barthelemy, Consul General of France in Hong Kong and Macau, as Guests of Honor.

From left to right: Mr Michael Wong, Prof Roberto Bruzzone, Ms Sophie Marceau, Prof Christian Brechot and Mr Georges-Pascal Ricordeau

 

Video on Youtube "2020 Pasteur Global Initiative": see the link