9th HKU-Pasteur Virology Course Kick Off

The 9th HKU-Pasteur Virology Course on Viral Zoonoses has started on July 11th with a public open lecture on ecological and epidemiological viral riddles in Chicago and Unganda by Tony GOLBERG from the University of Wisconsin (check the programme of open public lectures here).

The course also started with the students' self presentation and the welcome party in the iconic Hong Kong tram: squeeze 45 students, directors and lecturers in a shaking passenger tram in the heart of the city to initiate interactions (check the photos of the party here).

This year the practical course encompasses the scope of virological disciplines with workshops on:

  1. Epidemiology: "Investigation of acute outbreak events" by Dr Hiroshi NISHIURA, infectious disease modeler (School of Public Health, The University of Hong Kong) and Dr Huiling YEN, influenza transmission and pathogenicity virologist (School of Public Health and HKU-Pasteur Reseach Centre, The University of Hong Kong). This workshop is prepared for those who do not have solid background and experience in outbreak investigations. Through introductory lecture, group discussion, hands-on exercise and presentation, participants are expected to have an exciting learning opportunity to investigate some actual outbreak events. Hiroshi's interests span the areas of statistical epidemiology of infectious diseases, epidemiological modeling and biomathematical formulation of the transmission dynamics of infectious diseases. Huiling's interests focus on understanding the viral and host determinants that conferinfluenza transmission and pathogenicity using relevant animal model such as the ferret model.

  2. Cellular and molecular virology: "Influenza virus infection of human respiratory epithelial cells" by Dr Michael CHAN and Dr Renee CHAN, influenza virus-host interactions and pathogenesis virologist (School of Public Health, The University of Hong Kong). The goal of this workshop is to investigate the replication kinetics of influenza virus and the innate host immune response in primary respiratory epithelial cells upon infection in vitro. Indeed, Renee and Michael has successfully developed several physiological primary respiratory epithelial cells in vitro and respiratory organs ex vivo culture models to study the host and influenza interactions.

  3. Science and Humanities: "Science, society, biosecurity and zoonotic risks: from animal experimentation to public debate about zoonotic risks" by Thomas ABRAHAM, risk communication expert (Journalism and Media Studies Centre, The University of Hong Kong) and Frédéric KECK, anthropologist (Collège de France, Paris, France). With the recent dual-use research debate we thought it would be useful to organize a workshop that looks at how the language of risk transforms the conditions of scientific research, and how society and the media raise issues that cannot be addressed only in the lab. It also looks at how the notion of biosecurity has intervened in the study of zoonoses and emerging infectious diseases. Thomas is a consultant for the World Health Organization and other international organisations on risk communication, and worked at WHO headquarters in Geneva during the influenza pandemic. Frédéric is Chargé de Recherches at the CNRS in Paris and has worked at HKU-PRC on a project entitled "When animals make humans sick. A comparative anthropology of Avian Flu".