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System Microbiology & Antimicrobial Resistance @Tun (SMART) Lab
Faculty of Medicine, The Chinese University of Hong Kong
Antimicrobial Resistance in One Health (AMRiOH)
The growing number of infections caused by antibiotic resistant bacteria and limited discovery of new antibiotics are jeopardizing public health globally. To address this rising global threat, a holistic and multisectoral approach (referred to as One Health) is needed because AMR is a common problem for both humans and animals. In 2015, the World Health Organization (WHO) developed a Global Action Plan for AMR with one of its strategic objectives being to strengthen knowledge through surveillance and research. My research group is also part of an ambitious initiative that has been launched by the School of Public Health of HKU under the leadership of Professor Keiji Fukuda, who developed the Global Action Plan on AMR at WHO. Our current research projects involve surveillance of resistant bacteria and the resistome in neonates, livestock animals, food, and the environment. The goal is to better understand the development and spread of AMR in the complex ecosystem.
Microbiome in health and diseases (MiHaD)
Studying the microbiome is an exciting and rapidly expanding research field in both humans and animals. Over the past decade, the biological relevance of host’s microbiome has become evident. The microbiome is a complex collection of microorganisms, their genes, and their metabolites, colonizing different body niches, and interacting with the host to assist in nutrient bioconversion and detoxification, promoting immunity, protecting against pathogens, and maintaining health. The human microbiome has been shown to interact substantially with the nervous system and the lung, in addition to its primary function in the gastrointestinal tract. In fact, there is increasing evidence that the microbiome can be influenced by several factors such as diets, genetics, age, environmental contaminants, and drugs. The disruption of its balance - that is, dysbiosis - can lead to the development of many non-communicable diseases. Research into host-microbiome interaction has changed clinicians’ perspectives about its role in our health. Our microbiome research ranges from studies on the role of the microbiome in the developmental origins of health and disease (DOHaD) to studies on the role of the microbiota-gut-brain axis in mental health.
Emergence and dissemination of AMR in Hong Kong Travelers
The aim of this study is to apply an epidemiological approach to prospectively study AMR acquisition in healthy Hong Kong travelers in order to gain insight into the emergence and dissemination of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) and to identify targets for prevention.
We are inviting you to participate in a study related to the association between international travel and antimicrobial resistance.
- Aged 18 or above
- Hong Kong resident (native/non-native) who planned for international travel during December 2018 - October 2019
- Complete a questionnaire about your personal and traveling information
- Provide your stool samples before and after traveling
To apply, please register in the form below:
Applicants will be contacted in person, and need to attend a short introduction session after registration.
Bacteriophages, which are viruses that infect bacteria, have garnered interest as a tool to modulate bacterial populations without disrupting the entire microbiota. In the SMART lab, we aim to discover and characterize bacteriophages which target bacteria of biomedical interest. Bacterial targets of interest include antibiotic resistant pathogens, taxa implicated in chronic gastrointestinal conditions (e.g., colorectal cancer & IBD) and keystone gut commensals. We are hoping to further phage research through both experimental and bioinformatic approaches, including the development of a viromics database, and an experimental phage isolation platform. In the long run, we hope to establish an online and physical phage library, upon which future phage-therapy based research in Hong Kong will be founded.
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