09 Sep 2019

Sophie Valkenburg is looking for a new Research Assistant to work in her fast-growing lab!

HKU-Pasteur Research Pole is looking for a new Research Assistant to work in Sophie Valkenburg's team, on a one-year temporary basis or two-year fixed-term basis, with the possibility of renewal subject to satisfactory performance.

Applicants should possess a Bachelor’s degree or above in medical sciences or a relevant discipline, with an established level of laboratory experience. They should have a good command of written and spoken English, a strong sense of responsibility, the ability to work independently, and attention to details. Knowledge of human blood processing and experience in small animal handling and flow cytometry are highly preferred.
The appointee will carry out routine blood processing for a longitudinal study, provide technical support in the laboratory, and handle inventory record keeping. He/She will also perform day-to-day administrative duties and other duties as assigned. Enquiries about the duties of the post should be sent to [email protected].
A highly competitive salary commensurate with qualifications and experience will be offered, in addition to annual leave and medical benefits. The appointment on fixed terms will attract a contract-end gratuity and University contribution to a retirement benefits scheme totaling up to 10% of basic salary.

24 May 2019

Congratulations to Akhee Sabiha Jahan for her Croucher Foundation Fellowship!

Great news! Akhee Sabiha Jahan has been awarded with a Croucher Foundation fellowship for postdoctoral research in the investigation on influenza A virus strain-specific differences in RIG-I activation and evasion, their impact and potential therapeutic for boosting host immune response. 

Supervised by Sumana Sanyal and Roberto Bruzzone, Akhee has been part of the HKU-Pasteur team since 2014. She will soon leave Hong Kong for Denmark to join the Proteomics division of the Novo Nordisk Foundation of Protein Research in Copenhagen and the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry in Germany, under the supervision of Professor Chunaram Choudhary.

Congratulations Akhee! 

Roberto Bruzzone, Akhee Sabiha Jahan, Sumana Sanyal.

12 Apr 2019

Sophie Valkenburg awarded at the ISIRV symposium in Italy

Sophie Valkenburg, research assistant professor at HKU-Pasteur, and team members Maireid Bull and Athena Li, attended the last symposium organized by the International Society for Influenza and other Respiratory Virus Diseases (Isirv) in Siena, Italy. 

The focus of this event that brought together key opinion leaders and decision makers in influenza research/policy was Immunological Assays and Correlates of Protection for Next Generation Influenza Vaccines:

"As next generation influenza vaccine technologies are developed and undergo clinical evaluation, new immunological assays and immune correlates of protection will be needed to estimate the immunogenicity and protective efficacy of these vaccines. This conference aims to bring together scientists from academia, industry, and government public health, standardisation and regulatory agencies that develop and evaluate seasonal and pandemic influenza vaccines with the following objectives:
- to identify the most relevant immunological assays needed for evaluation of next-generation influenza vaccines
- to discuss the path forward for development, harmonization and standardization of new assays
- to develop strategies to investigate the immune correlates of protection for next-generation vaccines"
HKU-Pasteur had the opportunity to shine in Siena thanks to Sophie Valkenburg, who was awarded for her short talk entitled "Reduced antibody function correlates with influenza infection in a household model of transmission" and Maireid Bull and Athena Li presented their posters. 

25 Mar 2019

[JOB OPENING] Tenure-Track Assistant Professor in Public Health Integrative and Computational Biology at HKU-Pasteur

Applications are invited for appointment as Tenure-Track Assistant Professor in Public Health Integrative and Computational Biology in the School of Public Health, to commence as soon as possible on a three-year fixed-term basis, with the possibility of renewal and with consideration for tenure before the expiry of a second three-year Fixed-term contract, subject to satisfactory performance.
Applicants should possess a doctoral degree in molecular biology, genomics, computational biology, public health or a related field, and have a track record of high-quality research in the field of biomedical sciences. Preference will be given to those with proven experience in applying cutting-edge approaches to explore biological questions that can be translated into public health practice, and who are within 5 years of obtaining their doctoral degree. The primary selection criterion will be scientific excellence and the perceived ability to augment the intellectual creativity and innovation potential of the School of Public Health. The appointee will work in the HKU-Pasteur Research Pole under the School of Public Health. He/She will spearhead quantitative biology research programmes at the intersection of molecular biology, virology, immunology, genetics and public health; teach related courses at undergraduate/postgraduate levels; and conduct relevant knowledge exchange (KE) activities for the community. He/She is expected to harness the use of the School’s long-running cohorts in building biobanks for promoting precision public health, and advance the translation of discoveries into disease prevention and population health strategies. Information about the School can be obtained at http://sph.hku.hk.
A highly competitive salary commensurate with qualifications and experience will be offered, in addition to annual leave and medical benefits. At current rates, salaries tax does not exceed 15% of gross income. The appointment will attract a contract-end gratuity and University contribution to a retirement benefits scheme, totalling up to 15% of basic salary. Housing benefits will also be provided as applicable.
The University only accepts online application for the above post. Applicants should apply online and upload:
- a cover letter describing your most significant scientific accomplishment and the qualifications that make you particularly well suited for this job;
- a C.V. and publication list highlighting the most important papers (maximum 5);
- a statement of scientific achievements (1 page); 
- a brief description of your future research plan (2 pages).
Further particulars can be obtained at http://jobs.hku.hk/. Review of applications will start as soon as possible and continue until April 30, 2019, or until the post is filled, whichever is earlier.

18 Mar 2019

HKU-Pasteur is now on Instagram!

HKU-Pasteur launched its Instagram account this week: @hkupasteur!

Stay tunned on Instagram to follow the latest news of the Pole, our publications and events, HKU-Pasteur courses, and of course, the life of the Lab. 

Follow us, share the news, and see you soon!

09 Jan 2019

Congratulations to Fionn Ma!

Another graduation at HKU-Pasteur! Supervised by Roberto Bruzzone, Fionn Ma got her MPhil with her thesis titled “Investigation on the Functional Roles of Interaction between Human Karyopherin Isoforms and Nucleoprotein of Influenza B Virus“.

She will now work as a Research Assistant in Sophie Valkenburg’s team to continue her journey in HKU-Pasteur Research Pole.

Summary of her thesis:

Influenza B viruses are capable of causing disease with severity similar to that of influenza A. Nonetheless, unlike influenza A viruses that naturally exits in waterfowls, influenza B does not have an established animal reservoir and is largely restricted to humans. Factors determining the host specificity of influenza B virus have not been well studied. To establish interspecies transmission, a virus must be able to propagate efficiently in host cells of both species. The nuclear translocation of viral proteins of the ribonucleoprotein complex (vRNP) is a crucial step during virus replication, which relies on a group of cellular protein called karyopherin subunit α (KPNAs). These KPNA isoforms recognize nuclear localization sequences (NLS) on vRNP components and other cargo proteins and facilitate their transportation across nuclear pore complexes (NPC).

In this study, we showed that the nucleoprotein (NP) of influenza B virus interacted with human KPNA 1, 2, 3, 4, and 6. KPNA silenced human cells were employed to determine the roles of each KPNA on viral polymerase activity, transcription efficiency and virus replication. We showed that absence of KPNA2 decreased the polymerase activity of influenza B for 60%. However, KPNA2 silencing did not affect viral transcription and replication in our infection model. From our transcriptomic analysis, distinctive cellular responses were triggered between the cells infected by influenza A and B viruses suggesting that the two viruses may adapt to different strategies upon infection.

Given that studies on influenza B viruses are relatively limited compared to those on influenza A, our study gained a better understanding on the interplay between the host factors and NP of influenza B virus.

We wish you all the best Fionn! 

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