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Current insights on the origin of SARS-CoV2

Dong-Yan JIN, The University of Hong Kong

Dong-Yan Jin did his PhD study with Prof. Yun-De Hou at the State Key Laboratory for Molecular Virology in Beijing in 1986-1991. He received postdoctoral training with Dr. Kuan-Teh Jeang at the NIAID, NIH in 1994-1999. He joined the University of Hong Kong in 1999 and is now Clare and Lawrence Fok Professor in Precision Medicine and a Professor in the School of Biomedical Sciences. Prof. Jin’s research is focusing primarily on the molecular basis of viral diseases and cancer. He uses a combination of biochemical and genetic approaches to conduct basic research with the aim of applying the knowledge gained to prevention and control of human diseases. Two key issues that his team is addressing concern viral oncogenesis and innate antiviral immune response. Their previous work has broken new grounds to understand how viruses cause abnormal division of cells, promote cell survival and evade host innate immunity. In his study of a viral oncogenic protein named Tax produced by human T-cell leukemia virus type 1, which causes a highly lethal blood cancer known as adult T-cell leukemia, he identified in 1998 a cellular protein named MAD1, a key component of the mitotic checkpoint. In 2011, his group found that the virus sensor RIG-I needs an RNA-binding protein partner called PACT to initiate and sustain innate antiviral immune response. In 2008 and 2012, they also identified and characterized novel viral interferon antagonists in SARS coronavirus and MERS coronavirus, respectively. Their findings have unraveled novel disease mechanisms, revealing new targets and strategies for precision treatment. Therefore, they might impact future practice of medicine. He is the recipient of numerous awards including a National Natural Science Award of China (2001), a Scholar Award from the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (2001-2006), and a Croucher Senior Research Fellowship (2014). He was elected to American Academy of Microbiology in 2020. He is on the Editorial Board of Journal of Virology, Retrovirology, Journal of Leukocyte Biology and Nucleic Acid Therapeutics. He is a Reviewing editor of Emerging Microbes and Infections and Deputy Editor-in-Chief of Cell and Bioscience, official journal of the Society for Chinese Bioscientists in America.

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