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HKU-PRP

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HKU-PRP News

12 May 2021

Hein Min TUN: “Antimicrobial resistance was often neglected, until recently when people realized its significant impacts to global societies”

HKU-Pasteur celebrates its 20th anniversary this year, it is the occasion to show you a little bit more about the people who make this lab a major research pole on infectious diseases, an innovative teaching center and a very special place for us all.

Today, meet Dr Hein Min TUN, a public health veterinarian who joined HKU-Pasteur Research Pole as a Principal Investigator in 2018. His group combines conventional microbiology and molecular biology techniques with cutting-edge sequencing technologies, as well as bioinformatics, statistical and epidemiological approaches, to study the composition, function, and dynamics of human and animal microbiomes in health and disease:

Being a veterinary public health researcher, one of my primary research programs at HKU-Pasteur aims to investigate the contribution of antibiotic use in animal agriculture to human AMR infections.

Besides, my lab uses different animal models to decipher the mechanistic roles of the gut microbiome in several human diseases, including obesity, diabetes, mental health, and respiratory viral infections.

Antimicrobial resistance was often neglected, until recently when people realized its significant impacts to global societies. The WHO’s 2015 Global Action Plan on AMR set out five strategic objectives that include strengthening knowledge through surveillance and research. The Director of the School of Public Health at HKUMed, Professor Keiji Fukuda, played a key role in this successful repositioning for global awareness of AMR issues.

By looking at multiple dimensions of the problem through the lens of One Health components, we may widen our perspectives on diseases/problems that we would not have otherwise seen. This will inform better interventions. I see the contrasts among different science disciplines as largely artificial. We all should attempt to explore how the approach of one discipline could be beneficial in another. Quite often, interdisciplinary scientific research leads to breakthroughs that have broader societal impacts.”

11 May 2021

HKU-Pasteur Research Pole Annual Report 2020

HKU-Pasteur Research Pole has just published his 2020 Activity Report, where you can find all information about the lab's publications, areas of research, courses and symposia, perspectives and more: 
 
 
If you want to learn more about the Pole's research axis, publications, and others, you can check our social media and subscribe to our newsletter
 
 
 
 

04 May 2021

20 Years, 20 Questions to HKU-Pasteur researchers from the French International School students!

It’s a wrap! Our anniversary event series in collaboration with the French International School has come to an end this Friday. Browse the videos below to learn more about the exciting research topics the students have been discussing with the researchers for the past month.

20 questions to HKU-Pasteur Researchers

In March, 9 students from the School visited the pole and interviewed Prof Leo Poon, Prof Ben Cowling, Dr Vijaykrishna Dhanasekaran, and Dr Sophie Valkenburg.

20 videos have been produced on diverse topics from the origin & evolution of viruses, the future of Covid-19 pandemic to vaccination and testing explanations. Watch them now by downloading the episodes below.

Episode 1: How do you know where viruses and pathogens come from ?

Episode 2: How do viruses evolve ?

Episode 3: How do you see the future of Covid-19 ?

Episode 4: Can an infected person be reinfected ?

Episode 5: Will there be new epidemics in the future ?

Episode 6: How to assess the spread of a virus ?

Episode 7: How do the different types of vaccines work ?

Episode 8: How can we be sure of the efficiency and safety of a vaccine ?

Episode 9: How do the tests work ?

Episode 10: Are current tests and vaccines effective on variants ? 

Episode 11: What are the side effects of vaccines ?

Episode 12: Will the vaccine stop the spread of the epidemic ?

Episode 13: How do you explain the reluctance of part of the population to be vaccinated ?

Episode 14: How does scientific research advise public health policies ?

Episode 15: What are the objectives of public health policies in Hong Kong ?

Episode 16: Are masks effective ?

Episode 17: How does society react to health constraints ?

Episode 18: Different strategies against the epidemic: the case of Sweden, India and Hong Kong

Episode 19: How to ensure universal access to the vaccine ?

Episode 20: How is the international scientific research organised ?

 

Covid-19 Info/Intox with Dr Vijay Dhanasekaran

In mid-April, Dr Vijaykrishna Dhanasekaran had two discussions with two groups of 15 students at the School about the accuracy of Covid-19 and other scientific facts in the news and movies.

(Re)Watch the live session here!

 

HKU-Pasteur Research Pole x French International School Live Show

On Friday April 30th , a live roundtable featuring Prof Ben Cowling and Dr Sophie Valkenburg, animated by students, focused on the importance of scientific research in the Covid-19 pandemic and the impact on our daily lives.

(Re)Watch the live session here!

 

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

28 Apr 2021

Vijay Dhanasekaran: “Bioinformatics is fundamental to modern scientific research, including in our fight against infectious diseases”

HKU-Pasteur celebrates its 20th anniversary this year, it is the occasion to show you a little bit more about the people who make this lab a major research pole on infectious diseases, an innovative teaching center and a very special place for us all.

Today, meet Dr Vijay Dhanasekaran, Principal Investigator at HKU-Pasteur Research Pole whose research applies computational and experimental methods at the intersection of medicine, epidemiology and population genetics to identify factors that shape the emergence and evolution of rapidly evolving pathogens:

“I believe the HKU-Pasteur Research Pole is an ideal place for my research owing to its long tradition in studying host-pathogen interactions of emerging respiratory pathogens and its growing focus on antimicrobial resistance.

Its location within the HKU School of Public Health provides a unique opportunity to conduct infectious disease research combining laboratory, field and computational sciences.

Even though I am not a bioinformatician technically, I am something of a computational biologist who uses computers to study infectious diseases.

In my view bioinformatics is fundamental to modern scientific research, including in our fight against infectious diseases. 

As we have seen throughout 2020, when SARS-CoV-2 emerged and spread globally, computational scientists working with laboratory and clinical scientists in several areas, including virology, epidemiology and immunology, have developed a number of invaluable methods and tools to diagnose infections, monitor the virus’s evolution and spread, and develop control measures against the virus.”

To know more about the research he conducts at HKU-Pasteur and other researchers from the Pole, browse the HKU-Pasteur Research Pole 20th Anniversary Book, 60 pages tracing back 20 years of  research, teaching, activities and more!

26 Apr 2021

HKU-Pasteur Research Pole x French International School 20th Anniversary Events

On the occasion of the HKU-Pasteur Research Pole 20th Anniversary, and in light of the Pole’s longstanding partnership with the French International School, the French International School and the Pole have team up in the past few weeks to co-organize a series of events. For about a month, the French International School’s students had the opportunity to discover the world of biomedical science and why doing science matters more than ever in the current pandemic context.

Join us online on April 30 at 18h30 for a live round table with Prof. Ben Cowling and Dr. Sophie Valkenburg!

This live roundtable, organized and filmed by French International School students, will explore the topic of the importance of scientific research in the Covid-19 pandemic and the impact on our daily lives.

 

* Join us online on Firday 30 April from 18h30 to 20h*

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=roqXLXX-bAY

 

Researchers interviews by the French International School students

In March, 9 students from the School visitied the pole and interviewed 4 researchers from the Pole and the school of public health: Prof. Leo Poon, Prof. Ben Cowling, Dr Vijaykrishna Dhanasekaran, and Dr Sophie Valkenburg.

20 videos have been produced from these interviews and will be displayed on our social media in May, stay tuned!

The accuracy of science in the news and in movies

In mid-April, Dr Vijaykrishna Dhanasekaran had two discussions with two groups of 15 students at the School about the accuracy of Covid-19 and other scientific facts in the news and in movies.

A huge thanks to the French International School "Pasteur/LFIS Task Force" for organizing these amazing events, to the researchers for their involvement and to the students for their interest and creativity!

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

15 Apr 2021

Chris Mok: “In the Covid-19 pandemic, our previous knowledge on MERS and other viruses has definitely been an asset”

HKU-Pasteur celebrates its 20th anniversary this year, it is the occasion to show you a little bit more about the people who make this lab a major research pole on infectious diseases, an innovative teaching center and a very special place for us all.

Today, meet Dr Chris Ka Pun Mok, Principal Investigator at HKU-Pasteur Research Pole in a research group aiming at  understanding the interplay between the host and the viral determinants of respiratory viruses such as influenza viruses and coronaviruses:

"I was originally trained as a chemist, and I developed a strong interest for virology when completing my MPhil. I have then decided to complete a PhD on the molecular mechanisms underpinning viruses’ pathogenicity in Prof. Malik Peiris’ team.

This is him who introduced me to HKU-Pasteur Research Pole: I have attended the 2nd Cell Biology Course organized by the pole, before doing my postdoc there, and becoming a group leader in 2013, so I have seen many of the evolutions of the Pole!

The H7N9 outbreak in 2013 in China marks a turning point for my career as a researcher. At that time, I was introduced to clinicians working in the First Affiliated Hospital of Guangzhou Medical University, in order to conduct research on this specific outbreak by observing how the virus behave in humans. A collaboration agreement was signed with the hospital in 2015, and, since then, I have expand my research scope to clinical studies related to different infectious diseases such as dengue, MERS and others.

Within our team, we are trying to understand why zoonotic viruses infect humans and how humans manage to establish an immune response to these new viruses. In order to explore in depth this question, we have to build interdisciplinary collaborations with diverse research fields such as structural biology with the SCRIPPS Institute in the United States, or epidemiology with the School of Public Health at HKU. Interdisciplinary is key to understand an issue from multiple angles.

In the Covid-19 pandemic, our previous knowledge on MERS and other viruses has definitely been an asset. For instance, a decisive study completed in 2019 on MERS and camel owners in Nigeria has enabled us to understand the impact of asymptomatic patients on an infection landscape, which shows us the importance of massive testing in this new outbreak."

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