Career Opportunities

Student position

Post-graduate student to join Dr. Sophie A Valkenburg’s team

Posted: 18 Jul 2018

Group leader: Dr. Sophie A Valkenburg

Email. sophiev@hku.hk

Join an international team with exciting influenza immunology projects involving animal models and human samples. Projects are available for one post-graduate student in either MPhil or PhD stream. Prospective candidates need to submit an application for admission to the MPhil/PhD programs of HKU and fulfil the specified requirements (https://www.med.hku.hk/rpg/admission.php).

Seasonal influenza vaccines are updated yearly due to antigenic drift, and outbreak strains are not covered sufficiently by current available vaccines. Our group has a main interest in the adaptive immune response to influenza during infection, by looking for universal immune correlates of protection to develop broadly reactive vaccines.


Research areas

         Antibody responses towards influenza can be directed to functionally conserved domains of the virus, such as the internal NP and difficult to access HA2 stem. The mechanism of action of antibodies that do not neutralize the virus, yet offer immune protection will be investigated using mouse vaccination models and human serum samples.

         T cells kill virus-infected cells, placing immune pressure on the virus to adapt and evade recognition. The situations where immune escape can occur will be investigated by sequencing virus during infection.

         Testing the protective efficacy and mode of protection of designer vaccines

Most of our work is performed on mouse and human models of influenza infection.  We use techniques such as mouse models, influenza virus isolation and characterization techniques, Flow cytometry, single cell RT-PCR, and various immune assays such as ICS, ELISA and VNA.


Related publications

1.     Valkenburg SA, Li OTW, Li A, Bull M, Waldmann TA, Perera LP, Peiris M, Poon LLM. Protection by universal influenza vaccine is mediated by memory CD4 T cells. Vaccine. 2018 Jul 5;36(29):4198-4206. doi: 10.1016/j.vaccine.2018.06.007. Epub 2018 Jun 7. PMID: 29887326

2.     Tam YH, Valkenburg SA, Perera RAPM, Wong JHF, Fang VJ, Ng TWY, Kwong ASK, Tsui WWS, Ip DKM, Poon LLM, Chau CKV, Barr IG, Peiris JSM, Cowling BJ. Immune Responses to Twice-Annual Influenza Vaccination in Older Adults in Hong Kong. Clin Infect Dis. 2018 Mar 5;66(6):904-912. doi: 10.1093/cid/cix900. PMID: 29069368

3.     Valkenburg SA, Mallajosyula VVA, Li OTW, Chin AWH, Carnell G, Temperton N, Varadarajan R, Poon LLM. Stalking influenza by vaccination with pre-fusion headless HA mini-stem. Sci Rep. 2016 Mar 7;6:22666.

4.     Valkenburg SA, Li OT, Mak PW, Mok CK, Nicholls JM, Guan Y, Waldmann TA, Peiris JS, Perera LP, Poon LL. IL-15 adjuvanted multivalent vaccinia-based universal influenza vaccine requires CD4+ T cells for heterosubtypic protection. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 2014, 15;111(15):5676-81.

Key Responsibilities


Student position

Post-graduate student (MPhil or PhD) to join Dr. Hein Min Tun’s team

Posted: 18 Jul 2018

Principal Investigator: Dr. Hein Min Tun, HKU-Pasteur Research Pole

We are currently looking for enthusiasts and motivated students to join our international team of microbiome and resistome research in animal models and human epidemiology settings. Projects are available for one post-graduate student in either MPhil or PhD stream. Prospective candidates need to submit an application for admission to the MPhil/PhD programs of HKU and fulfill the specified requirements (https://www.med.hku.hk/rpg/admission.php).

Our group uses conventional microbiology and molecular biology techniques, cutting-edge sequencing technologies, coupled with bioinformatics, statistical and epidemiological approaches 1) to improve understanding on emergence and spread of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) in the interface of human-animal-environment using holistic One Health approach, and 2) to determine the role of microbiome in health and disease.

1)    Emergence and Spread of Antimicrobial resistance (AMR)

Growing antibiotic resistant infections and limited discovery of new antibiotic are jeopardizing public health at global scales. My research group is also part of an ambitious initiative that has been launched by the School of Public Health of HKU under the leadership of Professor Keiji Fukuda, who developed the Global Action Plan on AMR at WHO. Our current research projects involve;

1)    The emergence and spread of AMR in Hong Kong travelers: a prospective cohort study

2)     The impact of early-life antibiotic exposure on the emergence of antimicrobial resistance in newborns  

2)    Microbiome in health and diseases

Studying microbiome is an exciting and rapidly expanding research filed in both humans and animals. Research into host-microbiome interaction has changed clinicians’ perspectives about its roles in health and diseases. Our current microbiome research ranges from the role of microbiome in the developmental origins of health and disease (DOHaD) to the role of microbiota-gut-brain axis in mental health.

Related Publications (*co-first author):

1.    Tun HM, Bridgman SL, Chari R, Field CJ, Guttman DS, Becker AB, Mandhane PJ, Turvey SE, Subbarao P, Sears MR, Scott JA, Kozyrskyj AL; CHILD Study Investigators. 2018. Roles of birth mode and infant gut microbiota in intergenerational transmission of overweight and obesity from mother to offspring. JAMA Pediatr. 172(4):368-377.

2.    Forbes JD, Azad MB, Vehling L, Tun HM, Konya TB, Guttman DS, Field CJ, Lefebvre D, Sears MR, Becker AB, Mandhane PJ, Turvey SE, Moraes TJ, Subbarao P, Scott JA, Kozyrskyj AL; CHILD Study Investigators. 2018. Association of exposure to formula in the hospital and subsequent infant feeding practices with gut microbiota and risk of overweight in the first year of life. JAMA Pediatr. 172(7):e181161.

3.    Koleva PT, Tun HM, Shestopaloff K, Konya T, Guttman DS, Becker AB, Mandhane PJ, Turvey SE, Subbarao P, Sears MR, Scott JA, Kozyrskyj AL; CHILD Study Investigators. 2017. Sex-specific impact of asthma during pregnancy on infant gut microbiota. Eur Respir J. 50(5):pii: 1700280.

4.    Liu R*, Tun HM*, Jahan M, Farenhorst A, Kumar A, Fernando DW, Khafipour E.  2017. Comparison of DNA-, PMA-, and RNA-based 16S rRNA illumina sequencing for detection of live bacteria in water. Sci Rep. 7:5752.

5.    Tun HM, Konya T, Takaro TK, Brook JR, Chari R, Field CJ, Guttman D, Becker AB, Mandhane PJ, Turvey SE, Subbarao P, Sears MR, Scott JA, Kozyrskyj AL; CHILD Study Investigators. 2017. Exposure to household furry pets influences the gut microbiota of infant at 3-4 months following various birth scenarios. Microbiome. 5(1):40.

6.    Yasmin F, Tun HM, Dinu I, Azad MB, Konya T, Guttman DS, Field CJ, Chari RS, Sears MR, Subbarao P, Mandhane PJ, Turvey SE, Becker AB, Scott JA, Kozyrskyj AL; CHILD Study Investigators. 2017. Cesarean section, formula feeding, and infant antibiotic exposure: separate and combined impacts on gut microbial changes in later infancy. Front Pediatr. 5:200.

7.    Fernando D, Tun HM, Poole J, Patidar R, Li R, Mi R, Amarwansha G, Fernando D, Khafipour E, Farenhorst A, Kumar A. 2016. Detection of antibiotic resistance genes in source and drinking water samples from a first nation community in Canada. Appl Environ Microbiol. 82(15):4767-4775.

Principal Investigator:

Dr. Hein Min Tun

HKU-Pasteur Research Pole

Tel: 2831 5491

Email: heinmtun@hku.hk

Website: http://www.thetunlab.com

Key Responsibilities