HKU-Pasteur Research Pole
Confronting the Challenges of Infectious Diseases
Through Biomedical Research and Teaching
In 1999 the Institut Pasteur and the University of Hong Kong joined forces to establish a common research center through an innovative model of scientific collaboration. The two prestigious institutions signed an agreement to study microbial genomics within the framework of new scientific and technologic orientations, offering an ideal environment for innovative projects of medical relevance.
The adventure of HKU-Pasteur began on 24 October 2000 under the direction of Professor Antoine Danchin, from the Institut Pasteur and the French National Center for Scientific Research (Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, CNRS) and Professor Yuen Kwok-yung, Professor in the Department of Microbiology of the University of Hong Kong. Three years later, the outbreak of SARS, with its epicentre in Hong Kong, changed the scientific trajectory of HKU-Pasteur, re-orienting its research towards emerging viral infections under the direction of Dr Ralf Altmeyer from the Institut Pasteur.
In 2006, Professor Roberto Bruzzone and Professor Malik Peiris were appointed as co-directors of HKU-Pasteur, with a mission to expand its activities along three axes: study the interactions between pathogens and host cells, develop novel approaches to confront the challenges posed by infectious diseases; and foster education through a program of teaching & training in biomedical research.
In 2013, HKU-Pasteur Research Center became the HKU-Pasteur Research Pole, a laboratory fully integrated into the School of Public Health of the University of Hong Kong. Four years later, in 2017, both institutions renew their partnership with a new agreement, which will run over a 10-year period, extending the Pole's successful research and training activities in the long term. Professor Malik Peiris stepped down from his position as co-director in 2020 to pursue his Pasteurian adventure in Hong Kong as co-director of the newly inaugurated Centre for Immunology & Infection (C2I). His long-time collaborator Professor Leo Poon has succeeded him co-director of HKU-Pasteur alongside Roberto Bruzzone to start a new chapter of this exciting scientific journey.
With unwavering support from the Consulate General of France in Hong Kong and Macau and the Government of the Hong Kong SAR, HKU-Pasteur Research Pole has shapen its identity to build strong scientific and academic collaborations, both regionally and globally, becoming in the process a significant example of the impact of long-term international partnerships to advance our understanding of mechanisms of disease.
Heading off the beaten path to explore novel modes of collaboration necessitates guardian angels. The accomplishment of this project would not have been possible without the constant support of Dr James Kung, who catalysed this joint venture serving as the first Chairman of the Board of Management of the HKU-Pasteur Research Center, and later on of his son Mr. Leo Kung, who accompanied its integration into HKU to fulfil its core missions as the HKU-Pasteur Research Pole.