28 Apr 2021

Vijay Dhanasekaran: “Bioinformatics is fundamental to modern scientific research, including in our fight against infectious diseases”

HKU-Pasteur celebrates its 20th anniversary this year, it is the occasion to show you a little bit more about the people who make this lab a major research pole on infectious diseases, an innovative teaching center and a very special place for us all.

Today, meet Dr Vijay Dhanasekaran, Principal Investigator at HKU-Pasteur Research Pole whose research applies computational and experimental methods at the intersection of medicine, epidemiology and population genetics to identify factors that shape the emergence and evolution of rapidly evolving pathogens:

“I believe the HKU-Pasteur Research Pole is an ideal place for my research owing to its long tradition in studying host-pathogen interactions of emerging respiratory pathogens and its growing focus on antimicrobial resistance.

Its location within the HKU School of Public Health provides a unique opportunity to conduct infectious disease research combining laboratory, field and computational sciences.

Even though I am not a bioinformatician technically, I am something of a computational biologist who uses computers to study infectious diseases.

In my view bioinformatics is fundamental to modern scientific research, including in our fight against infectious diseases. 

As we have seen throughout 2020, when SARS-CoV-2 emerged and spread globally, computational scientists working with laboratory and clinical scientists in several areas, including virology, epidemiology and immunology, have developed a number of invaluable methods and tools to diagnose infections, monitor the virus’s evolution and spread, and develop control measures against the virus.”

To know more about the research he conducts at HKU-Pasteur and other researchers from the Pole, browse the HKU-Pasteur Research Pole 20th Anniversary Book, 60 pages tracing back 20 years of  research, teaching, activities and more!

26 Apr 2021

HKU-Pasteur Research Pole x French International School 20th Anniversary Events

On the occasion of the HKU-Pasteur Research Pole 20th Anniversary, and in light of the Pole’s longstanding partnership with the French International School, the French International School and the Pole have team up in the past few weeks to co-organize a series of events. For about a month, the French International School’s students had the opportunity to discover the world of biomedical science and why doing science matters more than ever in the current pandemic context.

Join us online on April 30 at 18h30 for a live round table with Prof. Ben Cowling and Dr. Sophie Valkenburg!

This live roundtable, organized and filmed by French International School students, will explore the topic of the importance of scientific research in the Covid-19 pandemic and the impact on our daily lives.


* Join us online on Firday 30 April from 18h30 to 20h*



Researchers interviews by the French International School students

In March, 9 students from the School visitied the pole and interviewed 4 researchers from the Pole and the school of public health: Prof. Leo Poon, Prof. Ben Cowling, Dr Vijaykrishna Dhanasekaran, and Dr Sophie Valkenburg.

20 videos have been produced from these interviews and will be displayed on our social media in May, stay tuned!

The accuracy of science in the news and in movies

In mid-April, Dr Vijaykrishna Dhanasekaran had two discussions with two groups of 15 students at the School about the accuracy of Covid-19 and other scientific facts in the news and in movies.

A huge thanks to the French International School "Pasteur/LFIS Task Force" for organizing these amazing events, to the researchers for their involvement and to the students for their interest and creativity!

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15 Apr 2021

Chris Mok: “In the Covid-19 pandemic, our previous knowledge on MERS and other viruses has definitely been an asset”

HKU-Pasteur celebrates its 20th anniversary this year, it is the occasion to show you a little bit more about the people who make this lab a major research pole on infectious diseases, an innovative teaching center and a very special place for us all.

Today, meet Dr Chris Ka Pun Mok, Principal Investigator at HKU-Pasteur Research Pole in a research group aiming at  understanding the interplay between the host and the viral determinants of respiratory viruses such as influenza viruses and coronaviruses:

"I was originally trained as a chemist, and I developed a strong interest for virology when completing my MPhil. I have then decided to complete a PhD on the molecular mechanisms underpinning viruses’ pathogenicity in Prof. Malik Peiris’ team.

This is him who introduced me to HKU-Pasteur Research Pole: I have attended the 2nd Cell Biology Course organized by the pole, before doing my postdoc there, and becoming a group leader in 2013, so I have seen many of the evolutions of the Pole!

The H7N9 outbreak in 2013 in China marks a turning point for my career as a researcher. At that time, I was introduced to clinicians working in the First Affiliated Hospital of Guangzhou Medical University, in order to conduct research on this specific outbreak by observing how the virus behave in humans. A collaboration agreement was signed with the hospital in 2015, and, since then, I have expand my research scope to clinical studies related to different infectious diseases such as dengue, MERS and others.

Within our team, we are trying to understand why zoonotic viruses infect humans and how humans manage to establish an immune response to these new viruses. In order to explore in depth this question, we have to build interdisciplinary collaborations with diverse research fields such as structural biology with the SCRIPPS Institute in the United States, or epidemiology with the School of Public Health at HKU. Interdisciplinary is key to understand an issue from multiple angles.

In the Covid-19 pandemic, our previous knowledge on MERS and other viruses has definitely been an asset. For instance, a decisive study completed in 2019 on MERS and camel owners in Nigeria has enabled us to understand the impact of asymptomatic patients on an infection landscape, which shows us the importance of massive testing in this new outbreak."

08 Apr 2021

Malik Peiris Awarded With The Prestigious John Dirks Canada Gairdner Global Health Award

Professor Malik Peiris, Director of the Centre for Immunology & Infection (C2I), Honorary Director of HKU-Pasteur, received the 2021 John Dirks Canada Gairdner Global Health Award alongside his long-time collaborator Professor Yi Guan for his significant contributions to understanding the origins and options for control of newly emerging infectious disease outbreaks in Asia, notably zoonotic influenza and severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS).
More specifically, Malik Peiris and Yi Guan have identified the emerging coronavirus responsible for SARS in 2003 and described its emergence from wild animal markets in Guangdong, China. 
Additionally, they have published numerous papers on avian influenzas (such as H5N1, H9N2 and H7N9), and developed a highly effective monitoring and surveillance program of avian and swine influenza strains.
Their work led to drastic measures in live poultry markets to limit animal to human transmission, establishing new protocols for periodic live poultry market closures, emptying markets of poultry overnight to reduce virus amplification within these markets and the appropriate use of poultry vaccines to protect both poultry and people.
The John Dirks Canada Gairdner Global Health Award recognizes the world’s leading researchers who have used rational, scientifically based research to improve the wellbeing of those facing health inequalities worldwide. While a single significant scientific discovery would continue to be sufficient evidence to select a nominee, the Award will also recognize outstanding researchers who apply rational scientific approaches to successful implementation, evaluation and policy interventions.

08 Apr 2021

[SAVE THE DATE] HKU-Pasteur Research Pole Exhibition “20 Years Fighting Emerging Infectious Diseases”

To celebrate its 20th anniversary, the HKU-Pasteur Research Pole organised an exhibition tracing back more than 20 years of ground-breaking research.

“20 Years Fighting Emerging Infectious Diseases” is a touring exhibition starting on April 12th at the University of Hong Kong Centennial Campus in the LG/F corridor. The exhibition will stay until April 26th before touring to other venues.

Visitors will go through the unique genesis of the laboratory, before learning more about its parents institutions, the Institut Pasteur in Paris and the University of Hong Kong, and the colossal history that let to this partnership.

In the following panels visitors are invited to dive in the exciting life of Louis Pasteur, the French scientist at the origin of the Institut Pasteur, as well as in the crucial discovery of one of its pupils, Alexandre Yersin.

The exhibition continues with an in-depth description of the research conducted at HKU-Pasteur, dealing with pressing challenges such as COVID-19, and the international courses that made it a major training centre in biomedical research.

Visit the exhibition at HKU Centennial Campus LG/F from April 12th to April 26th to learn more about the unique history of the HKU-Pasteur Research Pole!


LG Floor, The Jockey Club Tower Podium, The University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong

The exhibition is free of charge and open to HKU staff and students as well as general public.



To know more about what you will see in the exhibition or to have more details about what you’ve watched during your visit, browse the HKU-Pasteur Research Pole 20th Anniversary Book

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About HKU-Pasteur Research Pole: HKU-PRP is a joint laboratory of HKU and IP, established in 2000 with the aim to developing programmes of excellence in research and education that will generate biological knowledge and advance the understanding and treatment of infectious diseases.  HKU-PRP benefits from the outstanding scientific environment offered by the School of Public Health of the LKS Faculty of Medicine, with its significant contributions, both locally and internationally, to research on emerging viral diseases and improving health.  Moreover, HKU-PRP is part of the IP International Network, a unique model for health cooperation to further science, medicine and public health with more than 100 years of history.