About
HKU-PRP

About HKU-PRP

Staff

Senior Scientists and Postdoctoral Scientists

Professor Roberto BRUZZONE (Co-Director)

Professor Roberto BRUZZONE

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Professor Roberto BRUZZONE was born in Italy and studied medicine at University “La Sapienza” in Rome.  After work at the University of Geneva and Harvard Medical School, he joined Institut Pasteur in 1995.  Roberto is a cell biologist widely recognized for his work on direct cell-cell communication through connexins and their associated human diseases.  In October 2006, Roberto was appointed as Visiting Professor in the Li Ka Shi Faculty of Medicine and served as the CEO of the HKU-Pasteur Research Pole.  Since coming to Hong Kong he has held positions of scientific and administrative leadership in teaching programs and major international networks to combat infectious diseases.  He was decorated in 2012 as Knight of the National Order of Merit in France for his prominent contribution to the advancement of biomedical research in infectious diseases, and for his commitment to fostering the exchange and dialogue in research and teaching between France and Hong Kong.  He joined the School of Public Health in November 2012.

Lit Man Leo POON (Co-Director)

Lit Man Leo POON

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Professor Leo Poon received his doctoral training in Sir William Dunn School of Pathology in University of Oxford (1996-1999). After his graduation, he returned to Hong Kong and worked as a postdoctoral fellow in the Chinese University of Hong Kong (1999-2001). He joined the University of Hong Kong as a Research Assistant Professor in 2001 with strong interests related to emerging viruses, ranging from studying basic biology of RNA viruses to developing molecular diagnostic tools for infectious diseases. In 2003, he is one of the firsts who decoded the first SARS coronavirus sequence. These findings allowed him to develop several useful molecular tests for the diagnosis of SARS. He currently serves as a Professor in the School of Public Health, HKU and was appointed as Co-Director of the HKU-Pasteur Research Pole in 2020.

Professor Malik PEIRIS (Honorary Director)

Professor Malik PEIRIS

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Professor Malik PEIRIS, Fellow of the Royal Society, Légion d’Honneur and Silver Bauhinia Star was born in Sri Lanka and studied medicine at the University of Ceylon. This was followed by the award of a PhD at the William Dunn School of Pathology, University of Oxford, U.K., where he made significant discoveries on the mechanism of dengue virus pathogenesis. After further work in the U.K. and Sri Lanka, he joined the University of Hong Kong in 1995 and developed a multi-disciplinary research program with strong international collaboration that made a major impact in understanding the ecology, epidemiology, pathogenesis and control of animal and human influenza viruses. Since 2007, he serves as the Scientific Director of HKU-PRP.

Vijaykrishna DHANASEKARAN (Associate Professor)

Vijaykrishna DHANASEKARAN

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Dr Vijaykrishna (Vijay) Dhanasekaran is an infectious disease scientist, and faculty in the HKU School of Public Health since 2020. Vijay has a BSc MSc and MPhil from University of Madras, India and a PhD (2005) in Microbial ecology and evolution from University of Hong Kong. In 2006, he joined HKU Li Ka Shing Faculty of Medicine as a Postdoctoral Fellow in Virology with Professor Yi Guan, and was promoted to Research Assistant Professor in 2009. In 2010, Vijay joined Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School Singapore as Assistant Professor, before joining Monash University, Australia as Associate Professor in 2016 to establish a group in computational biology, build capacity in infectious disease research and computational biology within the Monash Biomedicine Discovery Institute; and held an adjunct faculty position in the Melbourne WHO Collaborating Centre for Reference and Research on Influenza in the Victorian Infectious Diseases Reference Laboratory(VIDRL).

Hein Min TUN (Assistant Professor)

Hein Min TUN

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Dr Hein Tun is a public health veterinarian and received his Ph.D. degree from the University of Hong Kong. He then moved to Canada to pursue his postdoctoral research at the Gut Microbiome Laboratory of the University of Manitoba where he held an additional role as a lab manager.  After 2 years working for microbiome and resistome research in food animals, human and the environment, he joined with the SyMBIOTA research team at the Department of Pediatrics in the University of Alberta to study roles of infant gut microbiome in health and diseases using the Canadian Healthy Infant Longitudinal Development (CHILD) birth cohort.

His research interests range from studies on the role of human and animal microbiome in health and diseases to surveillance of antimicrobial resistant bacteria (resistome) in the interface of human, animals and the environment. His research findings have been frequently featured in major international media and also highlighted in Nature Outlook.

Dr Tun received several awards, scholarships, and fellowships including the Dik Zwart Award during his Ph.D. study. He is also the winner of two prestigious fellowship awards of Canada including the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) fellowship and the Alberta Innovates (AI) Postdoctoral Fellowship. 

 



 

Chris MOK (Research Assistant Professor)

Chris MOK

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Dr MOK received his PhD and did his post-doctoral training under the tutelage of Professor Malik Peiris. Since the launch of his academic career in 2010, Dr MOK has already published over 30 papers in peer-reviewed international journals.  His main research interests include the basic and clinical virology of avian influenza virus in mammalian hosts as well as developing new anti-viral drugs against the infection.

In the HKU-Pasteur Research Pole, Dr MOK has set up his independent lab with the aim of understanding the behaviour and pathogenicity of emerging viruses by combining clinical studies that span the areas of serology, epidemiology, pathogenicity and vaccination. With this overarching aim in mind, he has been one of the driving forces in establishing and managing a new research platform, the “Guangdong-Hong Kong Joint Research Centre for Clinical and Preventive Medicine against Emerging Infectious Diseases”, a collaboration between HKU and the First Affiliated Hospital of Guangzhou Medical University since 2015. Supported by the government of Guangdong Province, this initiative covered a wide range of research activities related to new emerging viruses identified in Guangzhou. This collaboration has greatly facilitated our study on infectious disease in China and the ongoing surveillance program in Guangdong province.


 

Sophie VALKENBURG (Research Assistant Professor)

Sophie VALKENBURG

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Dr Sophie Valkenburg has joined the lab as Research Assistant Professor following an international call.  Sophie is an immunologist who trained in Australia at the Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity, where she obtained a PhD in Viral Immunology in March 2012.  She then joined the Center of Influenza Research at HKU, working in the laboratory of Leo Poon.  Sophie studies the adaptive immune response to influenza infection in mouse and human models, by looking for universal immune correlates of protection to develop broadly reactive vaccines.  Her contributions have already been recognized with multiple awards and successful grant applications.  Postgraduate positions in her lab are available.

Iolanthe Yun LAN (Postdoctoral Fellow)

Iolanthe Yun LAN

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Dr LAN obtained her MSc degree from King’s College London and completed her PhD degree in Pharmacy and Pharmacology at The University of Hong Kong in 2015. As a trained microbiologist and molecular biologist, her research interests focus on the investigation of the host-virus interactions during virus infection, with particular emphasis on dengue virus (DENV) and zika virus (ZIKV), and their association with host lipogenesis and lipid metabolism.

Research Assistants / Technicians
Laboratory Assistants
Students

Maireid BULL (PhD Student)

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Darren CHAN (Phd Student)

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Carolyn COHEN (PhD Student)

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Athena LI (PhD Student)

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Suisha LIANG (PhD Student)

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Ye PENG (PhD Student)

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Ray SO (PhD Student)

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Qi Wen TEO (PhD Student)

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Ho Him WONG (PhD Student)

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Weiwen LIANG (Mphil Student)

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Yihan LIN (Mphil Student)

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Tomas LYU (Mphil Student)

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Honorary Staff

Professor James DI-SANTO (Visiting Research Professor)

Professor James DI-SANTO

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Professor Noёl Tordo (Honorary Professor)

Professor Noёl Tordo

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Hui Ling YEN (Associate Professor)

Hui Ling YEN

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Dr. Hui-Ling Yen received her Ph.D. in Epidemiological Science in 2005 from The University of Michigan, Ann Arbor followed by her postdoctoral training at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Memphis, TN. Her research interests focus on understanding the mechanism facilitating the transmission of influenza A virus among and between different reservoirs, exploring the potential virus-host interactions that affect viral pathogenicity and the host clinical outcome, and examining the molecular determinants that confer antiviral resistance.

The ongoing research projects aim to study the modes of influenza transmission in animal models and at the animal-human interface. We continue to study the functionality of viral proteins associated with transmissibility and pathogenicity. Those studies are in collaboration with researchers from the University of Hong Kong (Hong Kong), Guangdong Provincial CDC (China), Genomic Research Centre, Academia Sinica (Taiwan), and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital (USA).

Dr. Yen is a Full Member of the American Society of Virology. She serves as an Editorial Board Member at Antiviral Research and an Academic Editor at PLoS ONE.

Barbara GAYRAUD-MOREL (Honorary Research Associate)

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Sumana SANYAL (Honorary Assistant Professor)

Sumana SANYAL

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Dr Sumana Sanyal is a biochemist by training with an interest in aspects of host pathogen interactions including influenza, dengue and related viruses.  She obtained her PhD from Cornell University, USA and postdoctoral training from the Whitehead Institute/MIT.  Her current research includes identification and characterization of host factors important in virus pathogenesis.  Using a combination of genetics and proteomics-based approaches her research group is investigating how post translational modifications, especially the ubiquitylation machinery, are targeted and alter protein function during cellular perturbations such as in virus infections, either to facilitate replication and pathogenesis or in installing a host immune response.

Niloufar KAVIAN-TESSLER (Honorary Research Associate)

Niloufar KAVIAN-TESSLER

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Dr Niloufar Kavian-Tessler completed a PharmD at the Paris Descartes University, followed by a residency in medical pathology (specialized in Immunopathology) in Paris Hospitals. She started a research course in Immunology in 2008 and obtained her PhD in 2012 at the Paris Descartes University for studies on the pathophysiology of the auto-immune disease Systemic sclerosis. Dr Niloufar Kavian-Tessler is an Associate Professor in Immunology in the Faculty of Medicine Paris Descartes since 2013, and joined the University of Hong Kong and the Pasteur Institute of Hong Kong for a post-doctoral fellow on influenza immune responses in September 2017.

Administration

Anne LI (Office & Administration Manager)

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Jimmy LAI (Laboratory Manager)

Jimmy LAI

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Mathilde BOISSERIN (Communication Officer)

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Simon MULLER (Communication Officer)

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Karen CHAN (Executive Assistant)

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Jieying LIANG (Laboratory Assistant)

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