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Leo Poon received his doctoral training in Sir William Dunn School of Pathology in University of Oxford between 1996-1999. After his graduation, he returned to Hong Kong and worked as a postdoctoral fellow in the Chinese University of Hong Kong. He joined The University of Hong Kong in 2001. Dr Poon has strong interests that are related to emerging viruses, ranging from studying very basic biology of RNA viruses to developing molecular diagnostic tools for infectious diseases. He is also interested in using molecular techniques to understand the pathogenesis of animal influenza viruses of zoonotic potential (e.g. H5N1). He has over 130 peer-reviewed publications, and he is a ISI top 1 % of most cited scientist (Clin Med,no. of Citations: 4,774; Microbiology,no. of Citations:2,358; H-index: 49). Currently, he has 47peer-reviewed articles which have been cited for more than 50 times.
In 2003, Dr Poon involved in the discovery of SARS coronavirus as the aetiology of the disease. He is one of the firsts who decoded the first SARS coronavirus sequence. These findings allowed him to develop several useful molecular tests for the diagnosis of SARS. The identification of SARS coronavirus in humans and animals also prompted him to hunt for novel viruses in wildlife and this leaded to the discovery of the first and many others coronaviruses in bats. In 2009, he played an active role in pandemic H1N1 researches. Recently, he identified a reassortant of pandemic H1N1/2009 virus in pigs. In addition, he is also currently focusing on developing new strategies for creating universal influenza vaccines.
Dr Poon serves a virology expert in several international organizations. He is a committee member in the Coronavirus Study Group under the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses (2006-now), a WHO expert in the Influenza Molecular Diagnosis Working Group, WHO (2009-now), an ad hoc consultant in the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (2013). He is also an editor of PLoS One (2010-now). He also regularly serves as a reviewer in many top tier journals.
Dr Poon has received fund as a PI from various research organizations, including NIAID (USA), European Commission (EU), HMRF (Hong Kong), GRF (Hong Kong) and Area of Excellence Scheme (Hong Kong). He has trained 11 postgraduate research students, with one received a Butterfield-Croucher Studentship and one received an Outstanding Research Postgraduate Student Award).