B.Sc., M.Sc., M.Phil., Ph.D
Division of Public Health Laboratory Sciences
Tel: +852 2831 5516
Address: 7/F Hong Kong Jockey Club Building for Interdisciplinary Research, 5 Sassoon Road, Hong Kong
Main Objectives and Strategy
Dr Vijay Dhanasekaran’s lab research has been to apply 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.
To achieve this goal, the lab conducts virus surveillance in animal, humans and the environment, characterises virus genomes and virus-host interactions using next-generation sequencing methods, and apply computational methods to describe within-host and population scale dynamics by integrating genomics with clinical, epidemiological and immunological data generated from disease surveillance and laboratory experiments.
These include investingating factors affecting the diversity and evolution of pathogens in their natural reservoirs such as birds and bats, in livestock production systems, to elucidate origins of human pandemics, to infer factors affecting the transmission of human pathogens, as well as their within-host dynamics. The primary organisms of study of the lab are Influenza and Coronaviruses due to the enormous threat they pose to public health, although it also has ongoing projects in several respiratory, gastroenteric and vector-borne pathogens, such as Rotavirus, Enterovirus, Dengue, Ross River. Most recently Dr Vijay Dhanasekaran’s lab has expanded to study the evolutionary mechanisms of Klebsiella pneumoniae, a bacterial pathogen that readily develop antimicrobial resistance.
Dr Vijaykrishna Dhanasekaran started his scientific career in his hometown of Chennai, India, where he obtained an MPhil from the Utniversity of Madras studying the ecology of fungal endophytes. He arrived in Hong Kong in 2002 to pursue a PhD in Microbial ecology and evolution at HKU where his interest in infectious diseases arose after the SARS crisis, inspiring him to join the LKS Faculty of Medicine as a postdoctoral fellow in 2005 to study virus ecology and evolution.
Dr Dhanasekaran’s postdoctoral studies lead to the discovery that bats harboured a wide range of Coronaviruses, and that livestock played a major role in pandemic influenza emergence.
He was later appointed as Assistant Professor in Duke-NUS Medical School, Singapore and in 2016 moved to Melbourne, Australia to take up an Associate Professor position in Monash University.
Vijay comes back to HKU in 2020 to take an Associate Professor position and joins HKU-Pasteur to pursue his research as principal investigator.
2016-2020: Associate Professor, Department of Microbiology, Monash University, Melbourne, Australia
2010-2016: Assistant Professor, Duke-NUS Medical School Singapore
2009–2010: Research Assistant Professor, Department of Microbiology, The University of Hong Kong
2006-2009: Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Microbiology, The University of Hong Kong
2005 PhD The University of Hong Kong, Department of Ecology and Biodiversity
2001 MPhil University of Madras, VINSTROM
1999 MSc (1997) BSc University of Madras,
Vijay Dhanasekaran, Associate Professor
Kimberly Edwards, Project Manager
Sonia Younas, PhD Student
Ruopeng Xie, Mphil Student
Shreya G Gurung, Mphil Student