Dhanasekaran, Vijaykrishna



  • BSc, MPhil, PhD

Dr Vijaykrishna (Vijay) Dhanasekaran is an infectious disease scientist, and faculty in the HKU School of Public Health since 2020. Vijay has a BSc MSc and MPhil from University of Madras, India and a PhD (2005) in Microbial ecology and evolution from University of Hong Kong. In 2006, he joined HKU Li Ka Shing Faculty of Medicine as a Postdoctoral Fellow in Virology with Professor Yi Guan, and was promoted to Research Assistant Professor in 2009. In 2010, Vijay joined Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School Singapore as Assistant Professor, before joining Monash University, Australia as Associate Professor in 2016 to establish a group in computational biology, build capacity in infectious disease research and computational biology within the Monash Biomedicine Discovery Institute; and held an adjunct faculty position in the Melbourne WHO Collaborating Centre for Reference and Research on Influenza in the Victorian Infectious Diseases Reference Laboratory(VIDRL).

The overarching goal of Vijay lab 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, perform genomics using next-generation sequencing methods to study virus-host-environment interactions, and apply a wide range of computational methods to describe within-host and population scale dynamics. The lab uses phylogenetics, population genetics and mathematical models to integrate genomics with clinical, epidemiological and immunological data generated from disease surveillance and laboratory experiments.

These include investigating 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 Vijay lab has expanded to study the evolutionary mechanisms of Klebsiella pneumoniae, a bacterial pathogen that readily develop antimicrobial resistance.

  1. Perlaza-Jiménez L, Torres VVL, Rocker A, Lithgow T, Zhou T, Vijaykrishna D. 2020. Forensic genomics of Klebsiella from an NICU outbreak in China reveals patterns of genetic diversity, evolution and epidemiology. Microbial Genomics In press; medRxiv; doi.org/10.1101/2020.03.07.20032706
  2. Deng Y-M, Wong FW, Spirason N, Kaye M, Beazley R, Grau M, Shan S, Stevens V, Sullivan S, Barr IG, Vijaykrishna D. 2020. Locally Acquired Human Infection with Swine-Origin Influenza A (H3N2) Variant Virus, Australia, 2018. Emerging Infectious Diseases 26(1):143-147.
  3. Virk RK, Jayakumar J, Mendenhall IH, Moorthy M, Lam P, Linster M, Lim J, Lin C, Oon LLE, Lee HK, Koay ESC, Vijaykrishna D, Smith GJD, Su YCF. 2020. Divergent evolutionary trajectories of influenza B viruses underlie their contemporaneous epidemic activity. PNAS 117 (1) 619-628.
  4. Zou Q, Wang X, Liu S, Bao J. Yu F, Wu W, Wang X, Shen, B, Zhou T, Zhao Z, Wang Y, Chen R, Wang W, Ma J, Li Y, Wu X, Shen W, Xie F, Zheng S, Vijaykrishna D, Yu Chen. 2020. Influenza A-associated severe pneumonia in hospitalized patients: risk factors and NAI treatments. International Journal of Infectious Diseases 92:208-213.
  5. Vijaykrishna D, Holmes EC, Joseph U, Fourment M, Su YCF, Halpin R, Chuen RLT, Deng Y-M, Gunalan V, Lin X, Stockwell T, Federova NB, Zhou B, Spirason N, Kühnert D, Veronika B, Stadler T, Costa A-M, Dwyer S, Huang QS, Jennings L, Rawlinson W, Sullivan S, Hurt A, Maurer-Stroh S, Wentworth D, Smith GJD, Barr IG. 2015. The contrasting phylodynamics of influenza B viruses. eLife 4:e05055.
  6. Vijaykrishna D, Mukherji R, Smith GJD. 2015. RNA virus reassortment: An evolutionary mechanism of immune evasion and host jumps. PLoS Pathogens 11(7):e1004902.
  7. Bahl J*, Lau M*, Smith GJD*, Vijaykrishna D*, Cary S, Lacap D, Lee C, Papke R, Warren-Rhodes K, Wong F, McKay C & Pointing SB. 2011. Ancient origins determine global biogeography of hot and cold desert cyanobacteria. Nature Communications 2: 163.
  8. Vijaykrishna D, Smith GJD, Pybus OG, Zhuhua C, Bhat S, Poon LLM, Riley S, Bahl J, Ma SK, Cheung CL, Perera RAPM, Chen H, Shortridge KF, Webby RJ, Webster RG, Guan Y & Peiris JSM. 2011. Long-term evolution and transmission dynamics of swine influenza A viruses. Nature 473: 519–522.
  9. Vijaykrishna D, Poon LLM, Zhu HC, Ma SK, Li OTW, Cheung CL, Smith GJD, Peiris JSM, Guan Y. 2010. Reassortment of pandemic H1N1/2009 viruses in swine. Science 328: 1529.
  10. Smith GJD*, Bahl J*, Vijaykrishna D*, Zhang JX, Poon LLM, Chen H, Webster RG, Peiris JSM, Guan Y. 2009. Dating the emergence of pandemic influenza viruses. PNAS 106: 11709–11712.
  11.  Smith GJD*, Vijaykrishna D*, Bahl J*, Lycett SJ*, Worobey M*, Pybus OGP*, Ma SK, Cheung CL, Raghwani J, Bhatt, S, Peiris JSM, Guan Y, Rambaut A*. 2009. Origins and evolutionary genomics of the 2009 swine-origin H1N1 influenza A epidemic. Nature 459: 1122–1126.
  12. Vijaykrishna D, Bahl J, Riley S, Duan L, Zhang J, Chen H, Peiris JSM, Smith GJD, Guan Y. 2008. Evolutionary dynamics and emergence of panzootic H5N1 influenza viruses. PLoS Pathogens 4: e1000161.
  13. Vijaykrishna D, Smith GJD, Zhang JX, Peiris JSM, Guan Y. 2007. Evolutionary insights into the Ecology of Coronaviruses. Journal of Virology 81: 4012–4020.