Healthy Human Global Project - Hong Kong
The complexity of individual immune responses is such that it has not yet been possible to define the genetic and environmental parameters that determine either a healthy immune system or its natural occurring variability. Yet, knowledge of these parameters is essential to establish personalized and precision medical care.
The HHGP-Hong Kong is based on the success of the Milieu Intérieur consortium which was established by the Institut Pasteur in Paris in 2011. We are applying this technological platform to develop an Immune Report Card that will provide a personalized patient management strategy that takes into account individual genetics, previous infection history, resident microbiota, as well as personal lifestyle and environmental factors to define immune ‘health.
Establishment of a healthy reference population cohort and technological transfer of a standardized immunophenotyping platform;
Assessing the genetic and environmental determinants of immune response variation from the healthy donor cohort and data analysis and integration (link with Program 2);
Application of the HHGP-Hong Kong approach for management of public health challenges.
Transfer of technological know-how from Institut Pasteur to establish a standardized immunomonitoring platform;
Establishment of healthy reference Asian populations for systems immunology studies;
Development of new biomarker discovery tools new insights into human responses to adjuvants;
Creation of a nucleating space for global sharing of technology, methods, expertise, resources and data to accelerate access to innovations in Hong Kong and across the region;
Creation of technology-based startups for commercialization and translation into global healthcare solutions;
Training opportunities for young scientists and educators;
Proof of concept studies to establish an Immune Report Card for personalized medicine monitoring and demonstrate its public health value for vaccine response monitoring (link with Program 2) and age associated immune dysfunction.
KEY RESEARCH STAFF IN THE TEAM
The PI and Co-PIs are highly trained immunologists with high impact publications in recent years. A key advantage of this proposal is that it leverages a highly multi-disciplinary expertise, developed during the previous 7 years at IP, and validated through several clinical studies in viral and bacterial infection, healthy aging, auto-immunity, therapeutic and vaccination responses.
This solid foundation will allow us to implement an optimal HHGP-Hong Kong platform for precision medicine strategies and applications with minimal delay.
Darragh Duffy (IP) is the co-coordinator (with Lluis Quintana-Murci) of the Milieu Interieur consortium and leads many of the clinical studies.
James Di Santo (IP) is one of the leading scientists in the field of human innate immunity.
Milena Hasan (IP) is the Senior Scientist who manages the Translational Research Platform (core platform for Milieu Interieur) which has validated a number of the assays that will be used in the HHGP-Hong Kong.
Additional staff from IP (RAP, Scientific and Research Officers) will be deployed to support the project and train locally recruited personnel.
Michael Y NI (HKU) is a public health physician and the Program Director for the FAMILY Cohort, a large population-based cohort study in Hong Kong.
Roberto Bruzzone (HKU-PRP) studies host-pathogen interactions.
Sophie A Valkenburg (HKU-PRP) is an immunologist who studies adaptive immunity in mice/humans.
Hein Min Tun (HKU-PRP) is a public health veterinarian who studies the role of animal and human microbiome in health and disease.
James Di Santo
James Di Santo received a combined MD/PhD from Cornell Medical College and the Sloan Kettering Institute in NYC, pursued postdoctoral training with Pr Alain Fischer (Necker Hospital, Paris) and Pr Klaus Rajewsky (Institute for Genetics, Cologne) before creating his own laboratory in 1999 at the Institut Pasteur. He currently holds the position of Professor in the Immunology Department at Institut Pasteur, Director of Research within the French Medical Research Institute (Inserm) and head the Innate Immunity Research Unit.
His laboratory studies general lymphocyte biology: the main interests are in the development and function of both adaptive (T and B cell) and innate lymphoid cells (ILC, NK cells) in mice and man. The laboratory also develops and uses mouse models with a humanized immune system to probe fundamental questions in human immunology especially in relation to infectious diseases. Recently, the team has developed an integrated systems immunology approach using nasal swab samples to assess biology of an active mucosal site in healthy individuals and patients suffering from respiratory diseases. James Di Santo's projects have a clear translational aim to impact in the clinics.
Dr Darragh Duffy leads the Translational Immunology lab at the Institut Pasteur, Paris and is co-coordinator of the LabEx Milieu Interieur project. The overall goal of his research is to better understand the fundamental mechanisms behind inter-individual differences in immune responses, and apply these discoveries to relevant clinical questions.
To do this his team uses cellular mechanistic models, population immunology cohorts, and experimental clinical studies in infection and autoimmunity. They work closely with clinical collaborators with the goal that the research findings will help to develop new patient management strategies. For fundamental questions related to understanding immune variability they apply systems immunology approaches to diverse phenotypes and integrate with genetic and environmental factors.
Honorary Clinical Consultant
Dr Rex Hung serves as Honorary Clinical Consultant since October 2023. Previously, Dr Hung has joined C2i in July 2021 as Principal Medical Consultant leading the clinical aspects and implementation of the Heathy Human Global Project - Hong Kong. He also serves as Honorary Assistant Professor of the School of Public Health at the University of Hong Kong. He is both a registered pharmacist and a registered physician in Hong Kong.
Dr Hung worked in the field of pharmacy benefit management in the United States after graduating from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor with Bachelor of Science in Pharmaceutical Science and Doctor of Pharmacy in 1997 and 1999, respectively. In Hong Kong, he had worked at the University of Hong Kong Clinical Trials Centre assisting establishment of a research pharmacy. He subsequently obtained his medical degree from the University of Hong Kong and underwent internal medicine training at the Queen Mary Hospital acquiring the MRCP (UK) qualification in February 2015. He was awarded a distinction by the Queen Mary University of London for the postgraduate diploma in clinical dermatology in 2020.
Before joining C2i, Dr Hung worked as a private primary care practitioner in group and institution practice. He engaged as members of medication safety committee, and drug and therapeutics committee of the respective private hospital during his service. Given the clinical exposure in both pharmacy and medicine, Dr Hung as a clinician-scientist has a broad range of research interests from precision medicine, relationship of immunophenotyping, genetics and epigenetics to dermatological diseases, mental health/ mindfulness, artificial intelligence in health database mining and cohort linkage analysis, to application of wearable health data in health care.