Research Strategy

"There is science and the application of science, bound to each other like fruit to the tree that bears it"

Louis Pasteur

The mission of HKU-PRP is to foster an interdisciplinary approach to generate information on fundamental processes of infectious diseases that may be translated into clinical applications. We focus on burden of diseases in the region, with particular emphasis on influenza and other viruses that are both global and regional threats.

Three questions are of particular interest to us, as they complement each other in scientific goals and technical approaches.

How do viruses invade, replicate and escape infected cells?

This question encompasses both the cellular view of the infectious process – by understanding which molecules, compartments and machinery of the host cells are utilized during the virus life cycle, as well as the virus point of view – to dissect novel functions of viral genes.

What makes a microbe pathogenic?

This question addresses the genetic determinants of virulence in the context of emerging threats from zoonotic viruses and the acquisition of traits that favor crossing of species barriers.

How do pathogens withstand the host immune response?

This question zooms in on the first lines of defense of the host and the complex strategies devised by viruses to foil them through specific molecular switches.

These are central biological questions, all of which share the unifying theme of host-pathogen interactions using influenza and dengue as model viruses, that need to be addressed in integrated fashion to delineate how viruses function and interact with their hosts in the cellular environment that constitutes their battleground. These projects will contribute fundamental knowledge that will be applied to mitigate risk factors associated with number of infectious diseases that are of public health concern not only in the Western world but also in Low and Middle Income Countries.