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04 Oct 2021

HKU-Pasteur Research Pole Fellowship 2022 – CALL FOR APPLICATION NOW OPEN

The HKU-Pasteur Research Pole is pleased to announce the launch of the second edition of the HKU-Pasteur Research Pole Fellowship for Summer-Autumn 2022!

CALL FOR APPLICATION– 04/10/2021-20/12/21

Application / Tips for Application / Hosting Laboratories Booklet

The HKU‐Pasteur Research Pole Fellowship Programme provides a unique opportunity for postgraduate students and postdoctoral fellows in Hong Kong and Macau to pursue their research projects in an outstanding scientific environment, at the Institut Pasteur in Paris.

In current times of global pandemic, the research conducted by both the HKU-Pasteur Research Pole and the Institut Pasteur are crucial to advance global scientific knowledge, notably regarding emerging infectious diseases. Ensuring continuity in scientific training for the next generation of scientists is more important than ever.

Louis Pasteur famously said that “Chance favors invention only for minds prepared for discoveries by patient study and persevering efforts." In line with this belief and with the Pasteurian values that science belongs to mankind and should be shared with altruism, HKU-Pasteur, with the support of the Pasteur Foundation Asia (PFA) and the Consulate General of France, is pleased to announce the launch the “HKU-Pasteur Research Pole Fellowship Programme” for up to two scholarships.

This fellowship offers a grant to undertake a 2 to 3-month research internship at the Institut Pasteur, Paris, France between July and November.

Eligibility:

·       Postgraduate student or Postdoctoral Fellow

·       Enrolled in a Hong Kong or Macau university

Scholarship:

·       Round-trip air ticket between Hong Kong/Macau and France

·       Housing

·       Monthly living allowance

Hosting laboratories at Institut Pasteur:

·       Be part of a leading laboratory working on Cancer, Cell Biology, Immunology, Neuroscience, Parasitology or Virology research.

·       Choose an internship location amongst 40ies of the most renowned laboratories in the world.

Please be aware that in view of the current pandemic situation, the internship might be postponed if the applicant home institution or if the hosting laboratories’ regulations requires it. As the host institution of the Fellowship, the Institut Pasteur will ensure a safe working environment through the implementation of all necessary social-distancing requirements and sanitary measures.

For any question related to the HKU-Pasteur Research Pole Fellowship, please contact hkuip@hku.hk.

For further information related to the HKU-Pasteur Research Pole Fellowship, please visit the HKU-Pasteur website dedicated webpage.

15 Nov 2021

[Where Are They Now?] Nancy Leung: “My Best Memory Was Attending The Various Advanced Pasteur Courses”

HKU-Pasteur is launching a new section, Where Are They Now?, to catch up with its MPhil and PhD alumni. In more than 20 years, about 100 students joined the HKU-Pasteur Research Pole to develop their research under a world renown faculty. 
 
For the first entry, we have asked a few questions to Nancy Leung, 2012 MPhil graduate, alumnus of the 2009 Immunology course and now Research Assistant Professor at the School of Public Health:
 
HKU-PRP: What is your best memory at HKU-Pasteur and what makes this place special for you? 
Nancy Leung: My best memory was attending the various advanced Pasteur courses to learn from and interact with international leading experts in the field, as well as other international students to know about their research lives. The research training on virology/immunology that I received from HKU-Pasteur has significant impacts on how I think about my current research as an epidemiologist.
 
HKU-PRP: What did you do after graduating from HKU-Pasteur and what are you doing now? 
Nancy Leung: After graduating with a MPhil from HKU-Pasteur, I did a PhD on infectious disease epidemiology to study the aerosol transmission of influenza, continue further research and now regard myself as an infectious disease epidemiologist. I'm currently a Research Assistant Professor at the School of Public Health, The University of Hong Kong, designing epidemiologic studies and vaccine trials to understand the transmission, burden, individual and population immunity, and vaccine immunogenicity of influenza and coronavirus infections.
 
HKU-PRP: In one word, how would you define your experience at HKU-Pasteur?
Nancy Leung: Eye-opening 
 
 
 
 

12 Nov 2021

Diversify your research skills with Peng Ye, intern at the Institut Pasteur in Paris

Ye Peng  is year-3 PhD candidate at the HKU-Pasteur Research Pole, School of Public Health, LKS Faculty of Medicine. The topic of his current research is gut microbiota in health and disease.

He is a laureate of the HKU-Pasteur Research Pole Fellowship 2021 and is currently an intern at the Biological Image Analysis Laboratory, directed by Dr Elisabeth Labruyère at the Institut Pasteur in Paris. 

He shared with us his first feedbacks on pursuing his research project for 3 months at the Institut Pasteur in Paris! 

What is your training background?

I received training in genetic engineering especially for synthetic biology in the first two years of my undergraduate study. From the third year of undergraduate to the end of my Master degree, I was trained as a bioinformatician specialized in metagenomics. Now in the HKU-Pasteur Research Pole, a joint laboratory between the University of Hong Kong and the Institut Pasteur, I receive training from my supervisor, Dr. Hein Min TUN, in microbiome studies using statistical, epidemiological, as well as experimental approaches. On the one hand, I study impacts of perinatal exposures on early-life programming of gut microbiota and associated health consequences. On the other hand of my research, I investigate the role of baseline gut microbiota in colonization resistance against opportunistic pathogens and in immune responses to vaccination.

Why did you choose the Institut Pasteur Biological Image Analysis Lab with Dr Elisabeth Labruyère for this research internship?

In the past few years, my research work was mostly bioinformatic and statistical analyses done on computers. As my projects progress, I identified gaps of experimental evidence to establish causality of my findings. Additionally, as a Ph.D. student, I gradually realised the need to diversify my skill set ranging from the desktop to the bench, so as to better generate and test hypotheses. I learned there is a cutting-edge “Gut-on-a-chip” technology implemented in Institut Pasteur, that mimics human guts physiology and can be colonised by complex microbiota. This technology interests me because it overcomes barriers to translating microbiota research findings from animal models to humans. Fortunately, my supervisor is in collaboration with Dr. Elisabeth Labruyère at BIA for a project named Mechabiome using this technology and advanced live imaging. So I chose this lab to learn these technologies, and to extend the original proposal and test hypotheses generated from my previous findings.

Can you tell us a little bit more about what you are doing on a daily basis at the laboratory?

My research program during these three months is commensal microbes colonizing in the gut-on-a-chip. This includes 1) experiment design and ad hoc adjustment; 2) chip preparation and cell culture; 3) bacteria culture and colonization on the chip; 4) image data acquisition and 5) image data analysis. The first four steps take one week. To maximize the number of experiments we can do to test my hypotheses, I do experiments in parallel, meaning preparing chip and cell culture for the next round while acquiring and analysing image data for the current round. Currently, as I am still green in this field, experiments in the lab are done with guidance/supervision of our collaborators to ensure security and quality.

How this new research environment can contribute to developing your ongoing research project?

I am learning mainly experiment design and image data analyses on organ-chips; I am also practicing cell culturing and chip preparation. These practices will lead to data generation for the current project. Dr. Elisabeth Labruyère, my hosting PI, shared with me an important note in experimental science, that is to think (carefully) before and after, but not during experiments. This is helpful to me because, in contrast to that in my previous bioinformatic analyses, I cannot do much ad hoc adjustment during the experiments. Beyond this project, the technologies and strategy will be applicable to and really useful for my future projects.

What has the most surprised you about this internship so far?

The most surprising part is the way people make things work out here. On the one hand, people plan their vacations long beforehand and do not let work interfere personal life. On the other hand, people work with efficiency and flexibility, and work together to progress. Members from the same lab and other labs are readily available to share their opinions and to help. Thus, questions can be answered and problems can be solved timely. The balance between work and life is well maintained, and so are energy, creativity and good mood, essential elements to advance science.

Is there any upcoming step / event in the research internship you are looking forward to?

The upcoming event I am looking forward to is the Departmental Retreat, which will be held in a Parc in holiday park in Normandy. There will be a scientific program including oral presentations, poster sections given by researchers and around table discussion. I expect to learn what are going on in the department and discuss with the presenters on interested projects. There will also be free time in between these sections for entertainments and sight-seeing in the nearby field and forest. I believe it would be a great chance to learn things and to relax.

HKU-Pasteur Fellowship Call for Application 2022 is now open: apply before December 20th!

To receive the latest HKU-Pasteur Research Pole research news and upcoming events,  follow us on Facebook & Instagram and subscribe to our Newsletter!   

28 Oct 2021

“Learn how to develop your own research style!” Terence Lee, intern at the Institut Pasteur in Paris

Terence Lee is a PhD candidate at the University of Hong Kong School of Biomedical Sciences. His current research project focuses on autophagy and more specifically LC3, a marker of autophagosomes. He is a laureate of the HKU-Pasteur Research Pole Fellowship 2021 and is currently an intern at the Membrane Biochemistry and Transport Laboratory, directed by Dr Thomas Wollert at the Institut Pasteur in Paris. 

He shared with us his first feedbacks on pursuing his research project for 3 months at the Institut Pasteur in Paris! 

 

What is your training background?

I received scientific training from Prof. Dong-Yan Jin who is a seasoned virologist. The laboratory focuses on studying the molecular pathology of viral diseases. Viruses have evolved strategies to bypass host immune response in order to establish an efficient infection, studying the molecular mechanism viruses employ to circumvent immune response would provide clues to restore immune response in infection. The ultimate aim of the laboratory is to identify host factors that could serve as therapeutic targets to reduce the severity of viral diseases.

In my project, I am studying a viral protein called PB1-F2 from Influenza A virus. My research aims to characterize the role of an Influenza A virus protein PB1-F2 in Influenza A virus infection and its interaction with host. 

Why did you choose the Institut Pasteur Membrane Biochemistry and Transport Laboratory with Dr Thomas Wollert for this research internship?

I am interested in understanding how does autophagy work and the consequence of autophagic failure. Thomas is an expert in autophagy, so I would be able to learn advanced techniques in his laboratory as well as analytical skills on microscopic work. Autophagy is an evolutionary conserved process that targets cellular components for degradation. It is vital to the homeostasis of our body as it functions to remove cytotoxic materials and recycle cellular components to serve as energy or build blocks of macromolecules. Autophagic failure has been implicated in many human diseases like cancers, neurodegenerative diseases etc. Since my work in Hong Kong is focused on pathogen biology, Thomas’s way of thinking as a molecular biologist would provide new insights for me to think through a problem.

Can you tell us a little bit more about what you are doing on a daily basis at the laboratory?

My project here focuses on LC3, a marker of autophagosomes. I have generated LC3 mutants and I currently perform confocal microscopy to identify determinants of selective and non-selective autophagy.

How this new research environment can contribute to developing your ongoing research project?

Before arriving in Paris, I was usually more triggered by the fear of making a mistake or failing an experiment, which was sometimes refraining me from being more creative . Here the lab encourages us to embrace mistakes, the trusting environment allows me to review steps that may have gone wrong and revise accordingly. In Hong Kong, I was used to arranging a tight schedule in order to deliver the project as soon as possible according to deadlines. This left myself little time to review my data and prioritize important experiments. The new research culture encourages us to take break for the body to recover physically and for the mind to refresh mentally to stay creative and efficient. So I think the new research environment here allows me to understand that change takes time and I have to be patient and more forgiving to my mistakes. After all I am not a superhero, a little step back would probably go a long way!

What has the most surprised you about this internship so far?

Coffee breaks and work life balance! Everyday after lunch, the group would have a coffee break at the balcony before going back to work. We will have a moment to talk about whatever we want such as our frustrations in failed experiments. Coffee breaks provide a nice opportunity for team bonding as well as get to know every member personally!

It is no surprise that France places a heavy emphasis on work life balance. We all know it is good to have a break from time to time, but what is the reason behind that? The time here in Institut Pasteur has taught me that rests can keep us creative and attain efficiency. Make use of your free time! Have a look at the city, do some exercise, talk with family and friends and come back as a better researcher. French certainly knows better!

Is there any upcoming step / event in the research internship you are looking forward to?

I have received scientific training on a very different field to cell biology. Even I have kept myself updated to advancements in autophagy through reading research articles, I am still unfamiliar to the approach, techniques and statistical analysis in this new field.  To test by hypothesis of the project, I would perform confocal imaging and statistical analysis of data. I am thrilled to learn the routinary and essential procedures in confocal microscopy, the training would come in handy when I continue my ongoing project in HKU as well as pursue a career in cell biology in future.

I am always amazed with how cell biologists come up with ideas to discover unknown secrets in cells. By working in Institut Pasteur, I would have the privilege to sit down and listen to stories and ideas told by Thomas and my colleagues, I am sure the experience would inspire me to develop my own research interest and style in the future!

 

HKU-Pasteur Fellowship Call for Application 2022 is now open: apply before December 20th!

To receive the latest HKU-Pasteur Research Pole research news and upcoming events,  follow us on Facebook & Instagram and subscribe to our Newsletter!   

24 Sep 2021

Institut Pasteur Vaccinology Course

This four-week course presents an integrated overview of vaccinology, from public health data and scientific results justifying the development of a vaccine up to its delivery to the populations in the context of industrialized and developing countries.

Dates: February 7 - March 4, 2022
Registration deadline: November 2, 2021
Language: English
 
 
With sessions on theory and hands-on practicals, the courses held at the Teaching Center are grouped into three themed areas: Epidemiology and Public Health, Mechanisms of Living Organisms, and Biology of Microorganisms.