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23 Oct 2019

HKU-Pasteur In Guangzhou To Pursue Collaboration With SKLRD

HKU-Pasteur was in Guangzhou, at the State Key Laboratory of Respiratory Disease (SKLRD) of the Medical University, where James Di Santo, Professor at Institut Pasteur, visiting Progfessor at HKU-Pasteur, gave a talk, Innate Lymphoid Cell Differentiation - From a T Cell Perspective, before the one he will give in Hong Kong on the 25th of October.

SKLRD and HKU-Pasteur benefit from a close collaboration that led to a joint research symposium last year.

17 Oct 2019

[Seminar] Innate Lymphoid Cell Differentiation - From a T Cell Perspective by James Di Santo

James Di Santo, from Inserm and Institut Pasteur, France, will be in Hong Kong on the 25th of October for a seminar:
 
 Innate Lymphoid Cell Differentiation - From a T Cell Perspective 
 
 
Date: Friday, 25th of October, 2019
Time: 11:00 am
Venue: HRI-S1B, Ground Floor HKJC Building for Interdisciplinary Research 5 Sassoon Road, Pokfulam, Hong Kong
 
Abstract
Innate lymphoid cells (ILCs) and natural killer (NK) cells have garnered considerable interest due to their functional properties in immune defense and tissue homeostasis. Our current understanding of how these develop has been greatly facilitated by knowledge of T cell biology. Established models of T cell differentiation have provided the conceptual basis for a classification of ILCs and NK cells as innate homologues of adaptive T helper cells and cytotoxic T cells, respec- tively. Furthermore, NK cell and ILC activation finds parallels with known regulatory mechanisms within the T cell system. Here, I will examine the process of NK cell and ILC biology from a ‘T cell perspective’ in an attempt to extend the analogy between adaptive T cells and their innate ILC and NK cell counterparts.
 
Biosketch
James Di Santo received a combined MD/PhD from Cornell Medical College and the Sloan Kette- ring Institute in NYC, pursued postdoctoral training with Pr Alain Fisher (Necker Hospital, Paris) and Pr Klaus Rajewsky (Institute for Genetics, Cologne) and have more than 30 years of experience in fundamental and translational immunology. The main interests of his laboratory at the Institut Pasteur (Paris) are in the areas of lymphocyte biology, cytokines, transcription factors and signaling pathways in the development and function of both adaptive (T and B cell) and innate lymphoid cells (ILC, NK cells) in mice and man. In parallel, over the last 20 years, his team has developed a series of humanized mouse models for the immune system that allows us to probe fundamental questions in human immunology especially in relation to infectious diseases. While largely fundamental in nature, his projects have a transla- tional aim to impact in the clinics.
 
ALL ARE WELCOME!
 

18 Sep 2019

HKU-Pasteur well represented at the Option X meeting in Singapore

The Options for the Control of Influenza meeting in Singapore, or Option X, was held a few days ago in the Lion City. This key event welcomes every three years more than 1500 influenza and public health specialists.  

HKU-Pasteur’s teams were once again well represented during this major event to showcase their essential work, starting with Malik Peiris, Co-director at HKU-Pasteur, who gave an opening keynote lecture the first day untitled Pandemic and Seasonal Influenza: The Known Unknowns, and our researchers with several poster presentations: 

Sophie Valkenburg’s team presented 3 posters: Sophie with Assessing Antibody Function In Responses To Twice-Annual Vaccination Due To 2014/2015 H3N2 Antigenic Mismatch In Hong KongAthena Li with Enhanced Annual Influenza Vaccination Strategies Generate Higher Quality Immune Responses In Older Adults and Maireid Bull with Investigation Of T Cell Immune Pressure On The Influenza Genome Within A Universal Vaccination Model.

Chris Mok, presented the poster Establishment Of Avian Influenza Virus/Acinetobacter Baumannii Co-Infection Model In Mice, and his Research Assistant Tomas Lyu presented their work that gave a major publication in Cell Host & Microbe in June 2019, Preventing An Antigenically Disruptive Mutation In EGG-Based H3N2 Seasonal Influenza Vaccines By Mutational Incompatibility.

Gabriel Leung, Dean of Medicine, HKU, attended the closing plenary talk with the lecture Mitigating Against Geopolitical Determinants of Global Public Health and Envisioning Counterfactual Futures for Outbreak Preparedness and Response. 

This Options X was a great event and a truly essential meeting to further advance the global fight against Influenza. We will still be there in three years in Milan for the next edition! 

From left to right: Ian Wilson (Scripps Research), Tomas Lyu, Nicholas Wu (Scripps Research), Chris Mok, co-authors of the Preventing An Antigenically Disruptive Mutation In EGG-Based H3N2 Seasonal Influenza Vaccines By Mutational Incompatibility publication

Niloufar Kavian and Sophie Valkenburg. 

05 Sep 2019

[Seminar] Host interactions and pathogenesis of emerging human viruses: Zika and Influenza in focus

Dr Shashank Tripathi, Assistant Professor, Wellcome-Trust India Alliance Intermediate Fellow, Center for Infectious Disease Research, Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru, India, will be in Hong Kong on 9 September, 2019, to give the following lecture:
 
 
 
Date: 9 September 2019 (Monday)
Time: 11:30 a.m. – 13:00 p.m.
Venue: Room S1A, G/F, Jockey Club Building for Interdisciplinary Research, 5 Sassoon Road
 
Please register online on or before noon of 6 September 2019 (Friday) to facilitate arrangement. 
 
Abstract:
With increasing globalization, urbanization, deforestation and climate change there has been alarming increase in emergence of new human viral pathogens and reemergence of old ones. Zika virus is the latest example which caused global emergency in 2016. Influenza on the other hand is constantly remerging and continues to be a grave concern for public health across the globe. In this talk speaker will discuss his published research on Zika virus, which will include antagonism of host cellular innate immunity by ZIKV NS5 mediated targeting of STAT2, development of Stat2-/- mouse as a model to study Zika virus pathogenesis, ZIKV strain specific differences in the virulence and role of preexisting anti-flavivirus immunity in antibody dependent enhancement of Zika virus infection. Further, speaker will discuss his work on systems level analysis of Influenza A virus RNAi and Proteomics datasets to chart the functional landscape of IAV-Host interaction network, which led to identification of multiple host directed therapy targets. Speaker will conclude with discussing new research on regulation of intracellular trafficking of IAV structural proteins.
 
Bio-sketch:
Dr. Shashank Tripathi is currently an Assistant Professor in the Microbiology & Cell Biology Department of Indian Institute of Science, which is India’s no.1 research and education Institute. He was awarded Wellcome Trust India Alliance Intermediate fellowship in 2018 and Infosys young investigator award in 2019. Earlier, he worked as Research Assistant Professor (2017-2018) and as Post-Doctoral Researcher (2012-2016) in Microbiology Department of Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York. There he worked in world renowned virologist Prof. Adolfo Garcia-Sastre’s lab, studying influenza A virus-host interactions at systems level and immune evasion and pathogenesis of Zika viruses. Dr. Tripathi did his PhD (2012) in supervision of Dr. Sunil Lal in the Virology Group of International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (ICGEB), New Delhi in collaboration with Influenza Division, Centers for Disease Control, Atlanta.
 
ALL ARE WELCOME!
 
Should you have any further queries, please do not hesitate to contact Ms Karen Lau at 3917 9928 or [email protected].

17 Jun 2019

Preventing an Antigenically Disruptive Mutation in Egg-Based H3N2 Seasonal Influenza Vaccines by Mutational Incompatibility

Chris Mok, team leader at HKU-Pasteur, and Tomas Lyu, research assistant, just signed a major publication in Cell Host & Microbe with Professor Ian Wilson, Scripps Research, and Nicholas Wu, Scripps Research and 2017 HKU-Pasteur Virology Course alumnus: 
 
Chris Mok and Ian Wilson, who co-led the study, have found that a mutation called G186V could be a useful addition to the H3N2 influenza vaccine. Preparing a seasonal flu vaccine with the G186V mutation may prevent a vexing problem that commonly occurs during the vaccine manufacturing process.
 
Summary
Egg-based seasonal influenza vaccines are the major preventive countermeasure against influenza virus. However, their effectiveness can be compromised when antigenic changes arise from egg-adaptive mutations on influenza hemagglutinin (HA). The L194P mutation is commonly observed in egg-based H3N2 vaccine seed strains and significantly alters HA antigenicity. An approach to prevent L194P would therefore be beneficial. We show that emergence of L194P during egg passaging can be impeded by preexistence of a G186V mutation, revealing strong incompatibility between these mutations. X-ray structures illustrate that individual G186V and L194P mutations have opposing effects on the HA receptor-binding site (RBS), and when both G186V and L194P are present, the RBS is severely disrupted. Importantly, wild-type HA antigenicity is maintained with G186V, but not L194P. Our results demonstrate that these epistatic interactions can be used to prevent the emergence of mutations that adversely alter antigenicity during egg adaptation.
 
 
Authors: Wu NC, Lv H, Thompson AJ, Wu DC, Ng WWS, Kadam RU, Lin CW, Nycholat CM, McBride R, Liang W, Paulson JC, Mok CKP, Wilson IA (2019)
 
Cell Host Microbe pii: S1931-3128(19)30216-1. doi: 10.1016/j.chom.2019.04.013.
 
Chris Mok, team leader at HKU-Pasteur, and Tomas Lyu, research assistant

14 Jun 2019

[Seminar] Cryptic transmission risk factors in HIV transmission networks by Manon Ragonnet

Manon Ragonnet, MRC Fellow, Imperial College London will give a talk at HKU-Pasteur on July 9, 2019 about Cryptic transmission risk factors in HIV transmission networks:

Date: 9 July 2019
Time: 16:00 - 17:30
Venue: HRI-1B, Ground Floor, HKJC Building for Interdisciplinary Research 5 Sassoon Road, Pokfulam, Hong Kong
 
Abstract
HIV combination antiretroviral therapy prolongs the lives of people living with HIV and significantly reduces onward transmission. Yet, HIV continues to spread through increasingly concentrated populations and poorly understood contact networks. The UK and the USA have accumulated large datasets of HIV sequences from patients and anonymised genetic analysis of these sequences can elucidate transmission patterns within and between key risk groups.
 
In the UK, these analyses have highlighted the existence of a group of men who self-report as hete- rosexual but whose viruses link only to men who have sex with men. Further inquiry into the posi- tion of these men in reconstructed networks suggests that their behaviour may differ from that of both heterosexual men and men who have sex with men.
In Los Angeles County, California, we specifically looked at the position of transgender women (individuals assigned the male sex at birth, but who identify as women) in HIV transmission networks and developed a framework for increasing diagnosis rates among transgender women based on network structure.
 
Our results provide a more thorough understanding of local HIV transmission dynamics with the aim of improving targeted HIV intervention strategies.
 
Biosketch:
Manon Ragonnet is a Research Fellow at Imperial College London. She studies the evolution and spread of RNA viruses (mostly HIV with a little hepatis C) using phylodynamic analysis. Her research interests stem from both the challenge presented by HIV’s formidable adaptive capacity and its public health implications. She has previously worked on HIV transmission in Canada, the US, Uganda, and South Africa and currently works in the UK and Botswana. Her current research focuses on estimating meaningful epidemic parameters during HIV outbreaks (such as the recent HIV out- break among people who inject drugs in Glasgow) and on quantifying the impact of imports into regional epidemics.
 
ALL ARE WELCOME! 
 

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