Leung, Sze Man Kathy

Assistant Professor

Division of Epidemiology and Biostatistics

  • BS&BA (Peking U), MPhil (HKU), PhD (HKU), FFPH

Kathy Leung received her BS in Biological Sciences from School of Life Sciences and BA in Economics from China Center for Economic Research at Peking University, MPhil, and PhD from School of Public Health at The University of Hong Kong.

Kathy was initially a wet-bench trainee in biochemistry working to elucidate the signalling pathways of innate immunity against virus infections. Later she found her interest lies more in mathematics and statistics involved in biological processes. In recent years, Kathy is interested in mathematical modelling of a wide range of diseases such as influenza, RSV, MERS, COVID-19, polio, invasive pneumococcal disease, hand-foot-and-mouth disease, HPV, cervical cancer, colorectal cancer, and breast cancer. She also conducts epidemiological and economic evaluations of disease intervention strategies, such as HMFD vaccination, public health and social measures against COVID-19, and risk-based breast cancer screening. Leveraged on the latest development of data science, she also uses machine learning to interpret SARS-CoV-2 genomic data and participates in the development of tools to tackle misinformation about vaccination with natural language processing.   

She is the principal investigator or co-investigator of research studies funded or commissioned by the General Research Fund and Health and Medical Research Fund. She is a co-investigator of Programme 1 of the Laboratory of Data Discovery for Health (D²4H) at the Hong Kong Science Park and an investigator of HKU Global Health Institute.

Kathy is one of the core developers of HKU's first Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) Epidemics. She is an editorial board member of Epidemics and BMC Medicine. She is also a member of the WHO Advisory Committee on Immunization and Vaccines-related Implementation Research (IVIR-AC)


  1. Clarivate Highly Cited Researcher (2023)
  2. HKUMed Outstanding Research Output Award (2017, 2018, 2021, 2022)

ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-4777-388X

Google Scholar: https://scholar.google.com.hk/citations?hl=en&user=Ki1eg2UAAAAJ
Selected Publications



Leung K*, Lau EH, Wong CK, Leung GM, Wu JT. Estimating the transmission dynamics of SARS-CoV-2 Omicron BF. 7 in Beijing after the adjustment of zero-COVID policy in November-December 2022. Nature Medicine. 2023 Jan 13:1-. First and corresponding author.


Leung K*, Wu JT*, Leung GM*. Effects of adjusting public health, travel, and social measures during the roll-out of COVID-19 vaccination: a modelling study. The Lancet Public Health. Co-first author and corresponding author.


Leung K*, Wu JT*, Wong IO*, Shu XO, Zheng W, Wen W, Khoo US, Ngan R, Kwong A, Leung GM. Using Risk Stratification to Optimize Mammography Screening in Chinese Women. JNCI Cancer Spectrum. 2021. Co-first author


Wu JT, Leung K, Lam TT, Ni MY, Wong CKH, Peiris JSM, Leung GM. Nowcasting epidemics of novel pathogens: lessons from COVID-19. Nature Medicine 27(3):388-95. Co-author


Leung K*, Wu JT*, Leung GM Real-time tracking and prediction of COVID-19 infection using digital proxies of population mobility and mixing. Nature Communications 12, 1501 (2021). Co-first author


Leung K, Shum MH, Leung GM, Lam TT, Wu JT. Early transmissibility assessment of the N501Y mutant strains of SARS-CoV-2 in the United Kingdom, October to November 2020. Eurosurveillance. 2021 Jan;26(1):2002106. First author


Leung K*, Wu JT*, Liu D, Leung GM. (2020) First wave COVID-19 transmissibility and severity in China outside Hubei after control measures and second wave scenario planning: a modelling impact assessment. The Lancet, 395(10233), pp1382-1393. Co-first author


Wu JT*, Leung K*, Bushman M, Kishore N, Niehus R, de Salazar PM et. al. (2020) Estimating clinical severity of COVID-19 from the transmission dynamics in Wuhan, China. Nature Medicine, 26(4), pp.506-510. Co-first author


Wu JT*, Leung K*, Leung GM. (2020) Nowcasting and forecasting the potential domestic and international spread of the 2019-nCoV outbreak originating in Wuhan, China: a modelling study. The Lancet, 395(10225), pp.689-697. Co-first author


Ni MY, Yao XI, Leung KSM, Yau C, Leung CMC et al. (2020) Depression and post-traumatic stress during major social unrest in Hong Kong: a 10-year prospective cohort study. The Lancet, 395: 273–84. Co-author


Leung K*, Jit M*, Lau EHY, Wu JT. (2017) Social contact patterns relevant to the spread of respiratory infectious diseases in Hong Kong. Scientific Reports, 7(1): 7974
Co-first author


Leung K, Lipsitch M, Yuen KY, Wu JT. (2017) Monitoring the fitness of antiviral-resistant influenza strains during an epidemic: a mathematical modelling study. The Lancet Infectious Diseases, 17(3): 339-347. First author.


Wu JT, Jit M, Zheng Y, Leung K, Xing W, Yang J, et al. (2016) Cost-effectiveness of routine pediatric enterovirus 71 vaccination in China. PLoS Medicine 13(3), e1001975. Co-first author


Wu JT, Leung K, Perera RAPM, Chu DKW, Lee CK, Hung IFN, et al. (2014) Inferring Influenza Infection Attack Rate from Seroprevalence Data. PLoS Pathogens 10(4), e1004054. Co-author