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Hong Kong Baptist University Alumni Affairs Office
Award Recipients

Prof. Leo Poon Lit-man, PhD

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Prof. Leo Poon graduated from the Department of Biology at HKBU in 1994, and he subsequently obtained a master’s degree from The Chinese University of Hong Kong. He received his doctoral education in the Sir William Dunn School of Pathology at the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom. He joined The University of Hong Kong as a Research Assistant Professor in 2001, and currently serves as a Professor in the University’s School of Public Health, and he is Division Head of the Division of Public Health Laboratory Sciences. He is also a Co-Director of the HKU-Pasteur Research Pole of the University.

Prof. Poon has made remarkable contributions in the medical and academic fields. He is dedicated to studying emerging viruses and related topics, focusing primarily on influenza viruses and coronaviruses. Over the years, he has published more than 270 peer-reviewed articles and has been named as a top 1% most-cited scientist. Having made a significant impact in the field, he has repeatedly been named a Highly Cited Researcher since 2015. In recognition of his outstanding achievements, he was awarded a Senior Research Fellowship by the Croucher Foundation in 2017 and a Distinguished Science Alumni Award for Lifetime Achievement by the Faculty of Science at HKBU in 2022. He is also a founding member of the Hong Kong Young Academy of Sciences.

In 2003, Prof. Poon was involved in the discovery of a novel coronavirus that caused Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), an epidemic that hit Hong Kong hard. He helped decode the genetic sequence of the SARS coronavirus for the first time in the world. During the recent COVID-19 pandemic, his research led to several key discoveries about SARS-CoV-2. His findings assisted the development of evidence-based measures to control the pandemic. An Outstanding Project Team on COVID-19 Research Award was presented to him and his team by the Food and Health Bureau of the HKSAR Government in 2021 in recognition of their tremendous contributions to combating COVID-19.

Prof. Poon participated actively in international public services through serving as an expert in several international organisations. He is a committee member in the Coronavirus Study Group under the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses, and an expert in various World Health Organization Working Groups for SARS-CoV-2 and influenza viruses. He is also an ad hoc consultant for the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and the World Organisation for Animal Health.

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