Research News

22 Feb 2018

[Seminar] In vitro models of Hepatitis B and Ebola viruses replication: Applications for drug discovery

HKU-Pasteur Research Pole invites Marc Windisch in Hong Kong for a seminar on in vitro models of Hepatitis B and Ebola viruses replication in February. Marc Windisch is a professor from the Institut Pasteur Korea (IPK) where he as established the Applied Molecular Virology Laboratory dedicated to drug discovery and early drug devlopment, we are pleased to welcomes him for this seminar: 

In vitro models of Hepatitis B and Ebola viruses replication: Applications for drug discovery


Date: Tuesday, 27 February 2018

Time: 16:30

Venue: Room 7-03, 7th Floor, HKJC Building for IR, 5 Sassoon Road, Pokfulam



Dr. Windisch received his Master- and Ph.D. degrees at the Center for Molecular Biology Heidelberg and at the Medical University of Heidelberg in Germany working on hepatitis B- and hepatitis C viruses (HBV & HCV), respectively. Since 2007, he is Principal Investigator at the Institut Pasteur Korea (IPK), a translational research organization, where he has established the Applied Molecular Virology Laboratory dedicated to drug discovery and early drug development. In 2018, Marc became acting Executive Director of the Discovery Biology Division at IPK overseeing RnD efforts of 7 teams. In his function as Viral Drug Discovery Project Leader, Marc developed a pre-clinical drug candidate with a novel mechanism of action for chronic HCV which was licensed out. In addition, he devised strategies for cell-based, phenotypic, target-free high content/throughput screening (HCS/HTS) campaigns to identify drugs and/or novel host targets for HIV, HCV, Dengue, HBV, Zika, Ebola, MERS-CoV, and hepatitis E virus. Furthermore, in collaboration with international and local companies, he conducted HTS campaigns and structure-activity relationship studies.  Since 2016, Dr. Windisch is Professor at the University of Science & Technology in Korea at the Department of Chemical Biology guiding Master and Ph.D. students, investigating the spread of HBV in vitro, the transmission of the virus from cell-to-cell, the involvement of lipids in viral entry, etc. Marc has interest in RnD of viral interventions (small molecule, peptide, antibody, RNAi), innate immunity, lipids, disinfectants, and he has a start-up mindset.




06 Feb 2018

Sophie Valkenburg [HKU-PRP], Ben Cowling [School of Public Health] and co-workers to publish on Influenza vaccination in older adults in Hong Kong

The paper “Immune Responses to Twice-Annual Influenza Vaccination in Older Adults in Hong Kong“ has been published in Clinical Infectious Diseases by the Oxford University Press for the Infectious Diseases Society of America.

Many health authorities recommend influenza vaccination of older adults to reduce diseases burden. The team hypothesized that in tropical and subtropical areas with more prolonged influenza seasons, twice-annual influenza vaccination might provide older adults with improved immunity against influenza.

In 2014-2015, Hong Kong experienced a substantial A(H3N2) winter epidemic with a mismatched vaccine. Local authorities procured and administered to older adults the 2015 southern hemisphere influenza vaccine, which included an updated and matching A/Switzerland/9715293/2013(H3N2) strain. They compared immune parameters in pre- and post vaccination sera from older adults ⩾75 of age who received 1 vs 2 influenza vaccines per year.

The team enrolled 978 older adults with 470 vaccinations for summer 2015 and 827 vaccinations for winter 2015-2016. Recipients of southern hemisphere vaccination had higher geometric mean titers (GMTs) by the hemagglutination inhibition assay against all 3 vaccine strains. When receiving influenza vaccination for the subsequent winter, the southern hemisphere vaccine recipients had higher revaccination GMTs but lower post vaccination GMT’s, compared to those who had not received the southern hemisphere vaccine. Furthermore, cellular immunity was impacted by biannual vaccination, with reduced influenza-specific CD4 T-cell responses in the second season of vaccination.

They observed some reductions in immune responses in the twice-annual vaccination group compared with the once-annual vaccination group, in the context of unchanging vaccine strains, while protection was likely to have been improved during the summer and autumn for the twice-annual vaccination group due to the continued circulation of the A/Switzerland/9715293/2013(H3N2) virus.The study is being continued with support from the CDC to test over a longer time period.

The publication is available on the Oxford Academic website.