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)


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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. 



Sophie VALKENBURG (Assistant Professor)


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Dr Sophie Valkenburg is a junior group leader in the international HKU Pasteur Research Pole, School of Public Health. Her research team is focussed on immune correlates of protection from influenza infection. Using a combination of mouse and human models with cellular assays and flow cytometry the team is poised to study the the effects of vaccination in the elderly of Hong Kong, correlation of immunity with infection and patterns of immune escape. 
She obtained her PhD from training at the University of Melbourne, Australia on CD8 T cell immunity to influenza infection with Dr Katherine Kedzierska. Dr Valkenburg joined the University of Hong Kong for her postdoctoral training with Dr Leo LM Poon to explore universal influenza vaccines.

Prathanporn KAEWPREEDEE (Post-doctoral Fellow)


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Dr. Kaewpreedee obtained her PhD in Medical Microbiology from Chulalongkorn University, Thailand in 2018. During her PhD, she was working on immune correlates to protection particularly on T cell in HIV patients. She also has experience on adoptive T cell therapy in virus-associated malignancies.  Dr. Kaewpreedee joined the University of Hong Kong in 2019. Her research focus involves in immunological correlates of influenza transmission potential.

Xiaoman WEI (Post-doctoral Fellow)

Xiaoman WEI

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Xi ZHANG (Post-doctoral Fellow)


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Dr. Zhang received her bachelor’s degree from Zhejiang University majoring in Veterinary Medicine, and then she obtained her PhD degree from the Department of Microbiology, the University of Hong Kong in 2021. Her thesis studied the coronavirus-host interactions and the host dependency factors for MERS-CoV pathogenesis. She joined the HKU-Pasteur Research Pole, School of Public Health, as a Post-doctoral Fellow in 2021. Her current research focus concerns the impact of antibiotic administration and microbiota determinants in association with the development of metabolic illnesses.