Influenza, MERS and other infections of public health significance

Hong Kong, a densely populated city, is an epicentre for pandemic influenza emergence. The city provides an ideal location to study influenza ecology, transmission, public health interventions, and other emerging viral pathogens, for example the Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) coronavirus. Our integrated multidisciplinary research programme includes internationally recognised expertise supported by the best laboratory and field resources with a network of excellent international collaborations. Our research programme has six foci: 

  1. Ecology, evolution and the origin of pandemic and zoonotic influenza, MERS coronavirus and other important emerging viruses:
    • Explore ecological factors favouring interspecies transmission and the drivers of the emergence of pandemic influenza and other emerging viruses.
    • Conduct animal influenza (e.g. H5N1 and H7N9) and other emerging virus surveillance to understand virus evolution and zoonotic events.
    • Integrate viral genetic information with viral functionality to identify critical molecular signatures to facilitate identification of field isolates.
  2. Efficient public health interventions for the control of influenza, MERS coronavirus and other emerging viruses:
    • Transmission control within communities.
    • Interventions to control influenza epidemics.
    • Epidemiology and control of influenza viruses.
    • Novel “universal” vaccine strategies for influenza.
  3. Development and spread of antimicrobial resistance
  4. Influenza, MERS coronavirus and other emerging virus pathogenesis:
    • Viral and host factors related to virus pathogenesis, replication and virus-host interactions.
    • Viral tropism.
    • Innate and adaptive host immune responses.
    • Viral determinants of interspecies transmissions.
    • Acute lung injury and novel therapeutic options.
  5. Modes of influenza virus transmission and transmission dynamics:
    • Large community-based studies of aerosol transmission.
    • Experimental transmission using animal models.
    • Aero-biological studies on airborne particles and virus viability.
    • Contact tracing within different population subgroups.
    • Seroepidemiological studies to parameterise mathematical models of influenza transmission dynamics.
  6. Infectious disease modeling:
    Infectious disease modeling entails developing mathematical models to assimilate various streams of clinical, virologic, demographic, mobility, social and economic data to inform epidemic preparedness, nowcasting, forecasting and response.
Professor Bruzzone, Roberto

(cell biology of host-pathogen interactions)

Professor Cowling, Benjamin John

(epidemiology and transmission dynamics)

Professor Fukuda, Keiji

(epidemiology and public health)
Professor Guan, Yi

(ecology, evolution, transmission and pathogenesis)

Professor Leung, Gabriel Matthew

(epidemiology and public health)

Professor Peiris, Joseph Sriyal Malik

(Influenza virus, MERS coronavirus, pathogenesis, transmission, ecology sero epidemiology and control)

Professor Poon, Lit Man Leo

(virology, pathogenesis and diagnostics)

Professor Wu, Tsz Kei Joseph
(epidemiology, modelling and transmission dynamics)
Dr Chan, Chi Wai Michael

(virus-host interaction and pathogenesis)

Dr Grépin, Karen

(policy response to control infectious disease outbreaks)

Dr Ip, Ka Ming Dennis

(epidemiology, surveillance, and control of infectious diseases)

Dr Lam, Tsan Yuk Tommy

(ecology, evolution, epidemiology and bioinformatics)

Dr Tun Hein Min

(microbiome, multi-omics and systems microbiology, AMR in One Health)

Dr Wu, Peng

(infectious disease epidemiology and AMR)

Dr Yen, Hui Ling

(pathogenesis and transmission)

Dr Zhu, Huachen Maria

(ecology, evolution, pathogenesis and transmission)