HKU-Pasteur Research Pole turns 20: A celebration of two decades of outstanding partnership between HKUMed and the Institut Pasteur
HKU-Pasteur Research Pole (HKU-PRP), School of Public Health, LKS Faculty of Medicine at The University of Hong Kong (HKUMed), celebrated its 20th anniversary today (October 21, 2020) with a symposium on the medical campus of HKU, which was officiated by The Hon Mrs Carrie Lam, the Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, and Mr Alexandre Giorgini, Consul General of France in Hong Kong and Macau.
Established in 2000, HKU-PRP aims to develop programmes of excellence in biomedical research and education to understand the biology of emerging viruses and mitigate their impact on health. With the outstanding scientific environment offered by the School of Public Health at HKUMed and its significant contributions to research on viral diseases and improving health, HKU-PRP leverages excellent expertise from the Institut Pasteur (IP) and its International Network, a unique model with more than 100 years of history for research cooperation to further science, medicine and public health. In 2018, HKU, Institut Pasteur and Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in Paris to set up a joint biomedical research centre for immunology, infection and personalised medicine. Today, HKU-PRP has positioned itself at the forefront of research on emerging threats and has become an indispensable component of HKUMed.
The global vision of HKU and the Institut Pasteur revolves around two pillars: the generation of biological knowledge to understand and treat infectious diseases; and the diffusion of knowledge through education to extend the impact of research for society.
Over the past two decades, HKU-PRP has developed a strong identity to promote a “One-Health” approach to support the agenda of HKU and the Institut Pasteur. Given the increasing convergence and interdependence of the determinants of health, adopting a “One-Health” approach enables the pole to design and implement research projects and teaching programmes in which multiple sectors communicate and work together to achieve better public health outcomes. HKU-PRP has implemented interdisciplinary international research projects that have generated important contributions to the global responses to influenza, the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome and Ebola viruses. Since the SARS outbreak in 2003, HKU-PRP has been heavily involved in research on coronaviruses, contributing to the standing of HKUMed as a leading institution in this research area.
HKU-PRP is committed to supporting comprehensive scientific training in biology and has established a worldwide network of trainees. Valuable education opportunities and support are offered to outstanding young scientists, who can capitalise on the opportunities offered by the local and international environment while enjoying the freedom to initiate innovative research programmes. International master classes have been offered to outstanding students and young scientists from Hong Kong and around the world, and new research and training programmes were designed to train health personnel from South East Asian countries which are involved in surveillance activities and outbreak investigation.
Professor Gabriel Leung, HKU’s Dean of Medicine, said, “The research output of HKU-PRP has been excellent and continues to be a point of pride for the HKUMed and our university at large. It has grown into a genuine nexus for research on infectious diseases in Asia. An excellent example of these successes is the tripartite partnership among HKU, the Institut Pasteur and Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation.”
Professor Roberto Bruzzone, Co-Director of HKU-PRP, said, “HKU-PRP is committed to training the new generation of scientists who will be at the forefront of biomedical and public health research in countries facing different priorities and challenges, helping to empower young scientists, clinicians, technical staff and public health officials to keep pace with fast-evolving scientific methods.”
Professor Leo Poon Lit-man, Co-Director of HKU-PRP, expressed, “In the context of the current global pandemic, the collaboration between HKUMed and the Institut Pasteur with its international network has proven to be an additional asset for public health and research worldwide.”
The symposium kick-starts a one-year celebration with upcoming events, including exhibitions, international courses, seminars, film screenings and roundtables, which will be scheduled according to COVID-19 regulations. For latest information about HKU-PRP celebration activities, please visit: http://hkupasteur.hku.hk
About HKU-Pasteur Research Pole
HKU-PRP is a joint laboratory of HKU and IP, established in 2000 with the aim to developing programmes of excellence in research and education that will generate biological knowledge and advance the understanding and treatment of infectious diseases. HKU-PRP benefits from the outstanding scientific environment offered by the School of Public Health of the LKS Faculty of Medicine, with its significant contributions, both locally and internationally, to research on emerging viral diseases and improving health. Moreover, HKU-PRP is part of the IP International Network, a unique model for health cooperation to further science, medicine and public health with more than 100 years of history. http://www.hkupasteur.hku.hk/
About the School of Public Health, HKUMed
The School of Public Health of the LKS Faculty of Medicine of The University of Hong Kong has a long and distinguished history in public health education and high impact research. With world leading research in infectious diseases as well as on non-communicable diseases of both local and global importance, the School has made significant contributions through its research and advocacy to improve the health of populations and individuals, both locally and globally. The School is a leading research and teaching hub in public health on influenza and other emerging viruses, control of non-communicable and infectious diseases, tobacco control, air pollution, psycho-oncology, behavioural sciences, exercise science, life-course epidemiology, and health economics, health services planning and management. This work has informed international (e.g. the US Food and Drug Administration, Health Canada, the World Health Organization), national and local public health policies. https://sph.hku.hk
About LKS Faculty of Medicine, The University of Hong Kong (HKUMed)
The LKS Faculty of Medicine of The University of Hong Kong (HKUMed) is the oldest local institution of higher education in Hong Kong. It was founded as the Hong Kong College of Medicine for Chinese in 1887, was renamed the Hong Kong College of Medicine in 1907 and became the premier founding Faculty when the University was established in 1911. From its modest beginnings, the Faculty has grown to become the largest faculty of the University.
HKUMed admits about 560 students to our six full-time undergraduate programmes each year. They are part of the contingent of about 2,900 undergraduate students studying in our Faculty. We also count about 1,700 postgraduate students in our student body.
Teaching is conducted by more than 400 full-time, highly-qualified teaching staff, alongside about 3,000 honorary teachers, most of whom are doctors in public hospitals or private practitioners. The excellence of the education we provide can be seen in our graduates, who have gone on to be leaders in their fields, in Hong Kong and the world.
HKUMed is comprised of 14 departments and 4 schools -- namely, School of Biomedical Sciences, School of Chinese Medicine, School of Nursing, School of Public Health (home of HKU-Pasteur Research Pole (PRP)) -- and a number of strategic centres of research excellence. For more information about LKS Faculty of Medicine, please visit www.med.hku.hk.
About Institut Pasteur
The Institut Pasteur, a private foundation with officially recognized charitable status set up by Louis Pasteur in 1887 and inaugurated on November 14th, 1888, has been, for the past 130 years, an internationally renowned center for biomedical research with a network of 32 institutes worldwide. In the pursuit of its mission to prevent and fight against diseases in France and throughout the world, the Institut Pasteur operates in four main areas: scientific and medical research, public health and health monitoring, teaching, and business development and technology transfer. More than 2,500 people work on its Paris campus. The Institut Pasteur is a globally recognized leader in infectious diseases, microbiology, and immunology. Its 130 units also focus their research on certain cancers, genetic and neurodegenerative diseases, genomics and developmental biology. This research aims to expand our knowledge of living organisms in a bid to lay the foundation for new prevention strategies and novel therapeutics. Since its inception, 10 Institut Pasteur scientists have been awarded the Nobel Prize for Medicine, including two in 2008 for the 1983 discovery of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) that causes AIDS. https://www.pasteur.fr/en
About the Institut Pasteur International Network
Located in 25 countries on five continents, the Institut Pasteur International Network includes 32 institutions, which are united by shared values and missions for the benefit of populations. Present in numerous endemic areas, the International Network has, time and time again, demonstrated its major role as a sentinel for emerging infectious diseases. The role of the Institut Pasteur International Network is to help improve public health, particularly by dealing with infectious agents, through, biomedical research, public health activities, education, innovation and technology transfer. These activities are carried out with a view to sustainable development. This is achieved by building up local capabilities while respecting human rights and the environment. https://www.pasteur.fr/en/international-en
The attendance of the ceremony to celebrate HKU-Pasteur Research Pole’s 20th Anniversary includes (from left to right): Professor Roberto Bruzzone, Co-Director at HKU-Pasteur Research Pole, Mr Alfred Sit, Secretary for Innovation & Technology, Mr Alexandre Giorgini, Consul General of France in Hong Kong and Macau, the Honorable Mrs Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor, the Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, Professor Alfonso Ngan, Acting Vice-President & Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Research) of the University of Hong Kong, Professor Keiji Fukuda, Director of the School of Public Health, Li Ka Shing Faculty of Medicine of the University of Hong Kong, Mr Leo Kung, Executive Vice President, Bangkok Bank (former Chairman, Pasteur Foundation Asia) and Professor Leo Poon, Co-Director at HKU-Pasteur Research Pole.