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HKU-PRP News

29 Jun 2021

Leo Poon: “The second generation of vaccine won’t happen in the next few months”

Professor Leo Poon, Co-Director at HKU-Pasteur and Principal Investigator for the Centre for Immunology & Infection (C2i) answered TVB's question about the second generation of COVID-19 vaccine and the need for early vaccination in the community.

>>> Watch the interview on TVB's website

22 Jun 2021

Sumana Sanyal: “The strength of collaborative research has become even more obvious in the current pandemic”

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 Professor Sumana Sanyal, former Principal Investigator at HKU-Pasteur Research Pole.  Prof Sanyal’s lab combines methods of molecular biology and immunology to address aspects of host-pathogen interactions.

“I have benefited enormously from working with different research groups to answer biological questions that we are interested in.

The strength of collaborative research has become even more obvious in the current pandemic. Collaborations have been an essential ingredient for me to move research projects forward, since a single team is fairly limited in the expertise they can have.

From a medical perspective, our work on Dengue and Influenza is crucial. These are important human pathogens which take a significant toll on human health. For Dengue in particular, there are no effective vaccines or therapies that are currently available. Therefore, studying these viruses are important to develop strategies to block infection.

Our main interest is more on the fundamental aspects of host cell biology and how these viruses operate within a cell to suppress immune responses and make an environment conducive to replication. Understanding these mechanisms provides insight into universal features of host pathogen biology.”

 

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!

15 Jun 2021

[SAVE THE DATE] Unseen Enemy Film Screening with Asia Society Hong Kong: Insights and Lessons Learned From Pandemic

In the midst of its 20th Anniversary Year Celebrations, HKU-Pasteur Research Pole has team up with Asia Society Hong Kong to organize a film screening and debate featuring public health experts

Join us on Friday July 2nd for the film screening of Unseen Enemy, followed by a 30-minute Q&A session. Professor Leo Poon, Co-Director of HKU-Pasteur Research Pole and Professor in the HKU School of Public Health and Dr. Hui-ling Yen, Associate Professor at the Division of Public Health Laboratory Sciences of the HKU School of Public Health, will discuss the insights and lessons learned from the global pandemic and answer questions from the public. Professor Lau Chak Sing, Head and Chief of Service of the Department of Medicine at Queen Mary Hospital and Professor at the HKU LKS Faculty of Medicine will be the moderator for this event.

Friday, July 2, 2021

Registration 18:00, Program 18:15, Close 20:30

Asia Society Hong Kong Center, 9 Justice Drive, Admiralty

Register here!

Free admission upon successful registration

Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, experts are paying more attention to the possible diseases that can cause a global outbreak. Apart from coronavirus, there are many other possible bacteria and viruses that can be a potential threat to people’s health.

Award-winning director Janet Tobias, together with some of the world’s best experts in public health, explore some viruses that can create the next global pandemic on Unseen Enemy. The film focuses on three case studies: Ebola, influenza, and Zika - all local outbreaks that became widespread epidemics.

In the film, doctors, public health academics, and many people’s lives are deeply changed by the impact of the epidemic. From the Ebola epidemic in West Africa to the Zika outbreak in Brazil, the film investigates the reason why a virus can spread across people speedily. Back to Hong Kong, how can we learn from the pandemic of the century to prevent a future outbreak?

Got Questions? Ask them here in advance (beginning June 26 ) or during the program (code: #unseenenemy).

Free Public Presentation on Facebook and YouTube.

More information on Asia Society Hong Kong website.

 

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11 Jun 2021

Congratulations to Professor Roberto Bruzzone!

On Thursday 10 June 2021, a ceremony was organized at the Residence of France by Mr Alexandre Giorgini, Consul General of France in Hong Kong and Macau, during which Professor Roberto Bruzzone was awarded the insignia of Officer in the National Order of Merit (Officier dans l’Ordre National du Mérite).

This constitutes a further acknowledgement of his dedication to France after he had already been nominated “Chevalier dans l’Ordre National du Mérite” in 2012.

Through this honour, the French Republic pays tribute to Roberto’s key role in the scientific cooperation between Hong Kong and France and to his support to strengthen the relationship between the University of Hong and the Institut Pasteur.

This award highlights his outstanding work in the development of the HKU-Pasteur Research Pole for 15 years, in terms of research strategy and training, and his dedication in the establishment of the Centre for Immunology & Infection.

 

For more information on the ceremony, visit the Consulate General of France website

10 Jun 2021

5th Interdisciplnary Course on Antibiotics and Resistance (ICARe)

Octobre 16-24, 2021, Les Pensières, Annecy (France)
 
Course Director: P. Courvalin, Institut Pasteur
Scientific Advisors: M. Gilmore, Harvard Medical School, G. Wright, McMaster University
Scientific Committee: G. Challis, T. Dougherty, E. Duffy, D. Hughes, S. Lahiri,
F. Lebreton, S. Lory, A. Myers, S. Projan, J. Rex, H.-G. Sahl, M.-W. Tan, U. Theuretzbacher
 
 
Objective: The emergence and spread of bacteria resistant to many drug classes seriously threaten all branches of modern medicine. There is currently no course providing advanced instruction on antibiotics and resistance. The specific goal of ICARe is to bring leaders in academics and industry together with trained scientists at the dawn of their careers. Cutting- edge approaches for the study of resistance and antibiotic discovery will be examined.
 
Course: The faculty, composed of 40 internationally recognized scientists and physicians who have made important contributions to antibiotic development, infectious diseases and resistance management will be in residence for a minimum of two days for informal interactions. Graduates will emerge with a state-of-the-art understanding of existing antibiotics: modes of action, mechanisms of resistance, approaches for mining chemical space, advancing hits to leads, the application of next generation nucleic acid-based technologies for antibiotic discovery and resistance detection. The course aims to build an international cadre of collaborative, well networked, and highly trained specialists.
 
Audience: ICARe is designed for assistant professors, post-doctoral and ID fellows, new scientists from diagnostic, pharmaceutical industry, or from biotech, either working in or contemplating entering the field of antibiotics. Decision-makers involved in the discovery, development, and approval of new antibiotics, in the elaboration of programs for better use of antibiotics and reducing the development of resistance. From both the public and private sectors. Attendance will be limited to 40 students.
 
Selection criteria: Participants will be selected by the Scientific Committee that will ensure that the participants reflect the global nature of the problem with a special attention to gender equality, according to their educational background, involvement in the field of antibiotics (research projects, scientific or industrial, which could be presented during the course are welcome), decision-making responsibility in the finding of new antibiotics and of their appropriate use
 
Format: The course will be administered over 9 days and will consist of formal instruction and hands-on bioinformatics.
 
Online registrationhttp://icarecourse.org
 
Deadline for application: July 14th, 2021

09 Jun 2021

The Touring Exhibition “20 Years Fighting Emerging Infectious Diseases” now in Science Park!

To celebrate its 20th anniversary, the HKU-Pasteur Research Pole organised an exhibition tracing back more than 20 years of ground-breaking research, in partnership with the Centre for Immunology & Infection (C2i).
 
“20 Years Fighting Emerging Infectious Diseases” is a touring exhibition that started in April at the University of Hong Kong Centennial Campus. The exhibition will now be held at the Hong Kong Science Park's Atrium Link on 8-18 June and at Inno2 (17W Building, Science Park) on 19-25 June. 
 
Visitors will go through the unique genesis of the laboratory, before learning more about its parents institutions, the Institut Pasteur in Paris and the University of Hong Kong, and the colossal history that let to this partnership.
 
In the following panels visitors are invited to dive in the exciting life of Louis Pasteur, the French scientist at the origin of the Institut Pasteur, as well as in the crucial discovery of one of its pupils, Alexandre Yersin.
 
The exhibition continues with an in-depth description of the research conducted at HKU-Pasteur, dealing with pressing challenges such as COVID-19, and the international courses that made it a major training centre in biomedical research.
 
Visit Science Park to learn more about the unique history of the HKU-Pasteur Research Pole!
 
 
 

08 Jun 2021

“This internship allowed me to considerably broaden my horizons in biology”, French International School Student at HKU-Pasteur

Uma, a 16 year old student from the French International School of Hong Kong, spent a week at the HKU-Pasteur Research Pole for an internship to learn more about working in the scientific field. 

In the context of the HKU-Pasteur 20 th Anniversary, Uma is one of the students from the School who interviewed Prof Leo Poon, Prof Ben Cowling, Dr Vijaykrishna Dhanasekaran, and Dr Sophie Valkenburg earlier in March 2021. In addition, as for every year, other students from the French International School of Hong Kong will conduct a one-week internship at the end of June as a first step in the work world, we are always very happy to welcome in our lab those who choose to learn more about how we work at HKU-Pasteur. 

Why did you come to the HKU-Pasteur Research Pole for your Internship? What motivated you and how did you hear about the lab?

The HKU-Pasteur Research Pole is one of the most renowned biomedical research centers in the world. As I plan on studying a biology related course after high school, immersing myself in the everyday life of this pole’s scientists was the perfect way to discover more about this scientific field. It was my Biology teacher who suggested that I should ask for an internship at the HKU-Pasteur Research Pole, otherwise I would never have imagined that such opportunities could happen to me!

What did you learn during your week here? What was the most interesting thing you did?

The week I spent here among the professors, Phd researchers and assistants, was one of the best learning experiences I ever had. This internship allowed me to considerably broaden my horizons in biology as I had the unique chance to participate in current scientific research, notably in an Intracellular Cytokine Staining experiment comparing vaccines for the Sars-Cov-2. 

Did you have any specific expectation about working in a laboratory? What was the most surprising/unexpected thing?

I thought I would be observing all the experiments in the laboratory. Instead, I was offered the opportunity to manipulate some materials and machines that I have never even seen before, such as a centrifuge. I did not expect this at all which made my internship even more fascinating. 

After this experience, would you consider a career in this field? If yes, would it be in Immunology, since you were in Sophie Valkenburg’s team for a week, or in another field?

Seeing scientists working everyday to contribute to our world’s development with their research definitely encouraged me to pursue my studies in this field in the future. Immunology is such an exciting discipline with so many mysteries that have yet to be understood. I am not sure whether I will be working on it or not, but I do know that I would like to at least study it further.