Croucher Studentship in 2010
Peter Cheung received his Bachelor of Science degree from Queen's University and his Master of Science from the University of Western Ontario in Canada, studying the molecular mechanism of breast cancer carcinogenesis. With support from the Butterfield-Croucher scholarship, he is pursuing his PhD degree in virology, working with influenza viruses, under the supervision of Dr. Hui-Ling Yen and Professor Malik Peiris at the Center of Influenza Research.
Common to many RNA viruses, influenza viruses exist as viral quasispecies, with similar genetic composition but composed of minor mutational variants. Current research in influenza has been studying the genetic changes contributing to virus phenotype, and an under-explored area has been understanding the functional role of quasispecies in influenza in pathogenesis and transmission. We developed bioinformatic techniques and applied novel technologies including next-generation deep sequencing to analyze the mutational spectrum of influenza viruses. We attempt to generate study models, such influenza virus with altered polymerase fidelity as an important experimental tool to assess the role of mutational rate and quasispecies in related research topics such as antigenic drift, pathogenesis, drug resistance, and transmission.