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Prof. Yi Guan
Prof. Yi Guan
Division of Public Health Laboratory Sciences
Daniel CK Yu Professorship in Virology

Professor Guan is the Director of the State Key Laboratory of Emerging Infectious Diseases and the Centre of Influenza Research, The University of Hong Kong. His research focuses on the ecology, evolution and pathogenesis of influenza and other emerging respiratory viruses. Over the past decade, his research team has made distinguished contributions to research in virology and to the control of emerging infectious diseases in China and the world. His contribution to the field is reflected in his publication record of over 280 peer-reviewed articles with more than 26,000 citations and an h-index of 79.

Professor Guan’s research on influenza has 1) identified all the major precursors and transmission pathways of the H5N1 influenza viruses that currently circulate in Southeast Asia, Europe and Africa and provided most of the WHO recommended pre-pandemic H5N1 vaccine strains; 2) initiated the systematic study of H9N2 viruses, which, along with H5 viruses, are now regarded as the most likely novel influenza subtypes to cause a pandemic; 3) defined the critical role of domestic ducks in harbouring and spreading influenza viruses; 4) made a major contribution to recognising the emergence, evolutionary history and development of the 2009 H1N1 pandemic virus; and 5) revealed the genesis, infection source, evolutionary pathway and possible transmission route of the recently-found H7N9 influenza virus.

His work on SARS led to the successful identification of the SARS-Coronavirus and its infectious source in live animal markets and helped the Chinese government to successfully avert a second SARS outbreak in early 2004.

Professor Guan was recently ranked as a highly cited researcher (2014) and is ranked 11th in the world in the field of microbiology (Thomson). He has obtained substantial grant funding from the NIH in the USA, the Wellcome Trust fund and the WHO, as well as from local government sources and private foundations. Time magazine has twice featured him, first as one of 18 “Global Health Heros” and later as an “Asian Hero”.