Peter Cheung 張栢恒

  • Butterfield Croucher Studentship in 2010 at University of Hong Kong

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 obtained 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. He was a research assistant professor at the Chemistry Department at The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, working in the transcriptional mechanisms of eukaryotes and viruses. Since May, 2021, he is an assistant professor at the department of chemical pathology at the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK). He also serves as the assistant dean (research) for the Faculty of Medicine at CUHK and the director of the Lee Hysan Clinical Research Laboratories at the Li Ka Shing Health Sciences Center at CUHK.


My current interests lie in three main directions that focus on RNA viruses, with an emphasis on influenza and coronaviruses: (1) Viral Replication(2) Diagnostics, (3) Vaccine, (4) Antivirals

(1) Viral Replication:

RNA viruses encode their RNA polymerases to replicate the viral genome. The error-prone transcription process of RNA polymerases is the main driving force for viral genetic diversity essential for adaption to and infection of the host. However, the accuracy of virus transcription must be maintained at a certain threshold for faithful gene expression and protein production. I am interested in understanding the structural basis of how viral polymerases regulate transcription accuracy in RNA viruses and the biological consequences of transcriptional errors during infection by developing a novel genomics platform and using Cryogenic Electron Microscopy (Cryo-EM). These fundamental insights are essential in the basic understanding of gene transcription and virus evolution and the biomedical research for the development of antiviral drugs and vaccines for emerging infectious diseases.

Representative Publications:

1. Cheung, P.P., Watson, S.J., Choy, K.T., Fun Sia, S., Wong, D.D., Poon, L.L., Kellam, P., Guan, Y., Malik Peiris, J.S., and Yen, H.L. Generation and characterization of influenza A viruses with altered polymerase fidelity. Nature Communications 5, 4794, (2014). [Impact Factor: 17.521]

2. Cheung, P.P., Rogozin, I.B., Choy, K.T., Ng, H.Y., Peiris, J.S., and Yen, H.L Comparative mutational analyses of influenza A viruses. RNA 21, 36, (2015). [Impact Factor: 5.636]

3. Tse, K.M., Xu, J., Xu, L., Sheong, F.K., Wang, S., Chow, H.Y., Gao, X., Li, X., Cheung, P.P.H.*, Wang, D.*, Zhang, Y.*, Huang, X*. Intrinsic cleavage of RNA polymerase II adopts a nucleobase-independent mechanism assisted by transcript phosphate, Nature Catalysis, 2, 228–235, (2019). [Impact Factor: 40.706] * denotes co-corresponding authors

4. Cheung, P.P.H., Jiang, B., Booth, G.T., Chong, T.H., Unartar, I.C., Wang, Y., Suarez, G.D., Wang, J., Lis, J.T., Huang, X., Identifying Transcription Error-Enriched Genomic Loci Using Nuclear Run-On Circular-Sequencing Coupled with Background Error Modeling, Journal of Molecular Biology, S0022-2836(20)30284-9, (2020). [Impact Factor: 6.151]

5. Xu, X., Zhang, L.*, Chu J.T.S., Wang, Y. Chin, A.W.H., Dai, Z., Poon, L.L.M., Cheung, P.P.H.*, Huang, X.*. A Novel Mechanism of Enhanced Transcription Activity and Fidelity for Influenza A Viral RNA-dependent RNA Polymerase, Nucleic Acids Research, 49 (15), 8796, (2021). [Impact Factor: 19.160]

(2) Diagnostics:

We employ statistical and experimental approaches to evaluate and improve the diagnostic performances of the clinical detection of nucleic acids of influenza viruses and SARS-CoV-2.

Representative Publications:

1. Cheung, P.P., Leung, Y.H., Chow, C.K., Ng, C.F., Tsang, C.L., Wu, Y.O., Ma, S.K., Sia, S.F., Guan, Y., and Peiris, J.S., Identifying the species-origin of faecal droppings used for avian influenza virus surveillance in wild-birds. Journal of Clinical Virology 46, 90, (2009). [Impact Factor: 14.481]

2. Au, W.Y., Cheung, P.P.H.*, Diagnostic performances of common nucleic acid tests for SARS-CoV-2 in hospitals and clinics: a systematic review and meta-analysis. The Lancet Microbe, DOI:10.1016/S2666-5247(21)00214-7, (2021). [Impact Factor: 86.208]

3. Suarez, G.D., Suarez D.A., Tang Y.Y.K., Zhang J.-X., Li, J., Nagl, S., Cheung P.P.H.*. Uncovering Mechanisms of RT-LAMP Colorimetric SARS-CoV-2 Detection to Improve Assay Reliability, Analytical Methods, DOI: 10.1039/D1AY01395E, (2022). [Impact Factor: 3.532]

(3) Vaccine:

We employ statistical and experimental approaches to determine the efficacy of COVID-19 vaccine regimens in SARS-CoV-2 and its variants of concerns.

Representative Publications:

1. Au, W. Y., Ye, C., Briner S.L., Suarez, G.D., Han, J., Xu, X., Park, J.G., Brindley, M.A., Martinez-Sobrido*, L., Cheung, P.P.H*. Systematic comparison between BNT162b2 and CoronaVac in the seroprotection against SARS-CoV-2 Alpha, Beta, Gamma, and Delta variants, Journal of Infection, DOI: 10.1016/j.jinf.2022.02.030, (2022). [Impact Factor: 38.637]

2. Au, W. Y. and Cheung, P.P.H*. Effectiveness of heterologous and homologous COVID-19 vaccine regimens: a living systematic review with network meta-analysis. The British Medical Journal (BMJ), 377: e069989, (2022). [Impact Factor: 96.216]

(4) Antivirals:

We elucidate the mechanisms of inhibition of gene replication by NTP analog antiviral drugs

Representative Publications:

1. Cheung, P.P., Watson, S.J., Choy, K.T., Fun Sia, S., Wong, D.D., Poon, L.L., Kellam, P., Guan, Y., Malik Peiris, J.S., and Yen, H.L. Generation and characterization of influenza A viruses with altered polymerase fidelity. Nature Communications 5, 4794, (2014). [Impact Factor: 17.521]

2. Zhang, L., Zhang, D., Wang X., Yuan, X., Li, Y., Jia, X., Gao, X., Yen, H.L., Cheung, P.P.*, Huang, X.*, 1’-Ribose Cyano Substitution Allows Remdesivir to Effectively Inhibit both Nucleotide Addition and Proofreading during SARS-CoV-2 Viral RNA Replication, Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics, 23, 5852, (2021). [Impact Factor: 3.945]

3. Wang, Y., Yuan, C., Xu, X., Chong, T.H., Zhang, L., Cheung P.P.H.*, Huang, X.*. The mechanism of action of T-705 as a unique delayed chain terminator on influenza viral polymerase transcription, Biophysical Chemistry, 277, 106652, (2021). [Impact Factor: 3.628]