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Dr Tommy Tsan Yuk Lam

Interdisciplinary Quick Talks: Open Data Open Possibilities

Dr Tommy Tsan Yuk Lam

Dr Tommy Tsan Yuk Lam
Assistant Professor
School of Public Health

Open Genomic Data for Studying Infectious Diseases


Determining the genome sequences of pathogens is an important task in outbreak investigation to shed light on the identity of the disease-causing agent. Furthermore, the genomes of pathogens contain the genetic footprints of their past transmission events. By integrating temporal and spatial data of the infection cases with the pathogens’ genomic data using advanced statistical models, we could estimate the spatiotemporal trajectory of the disease spread in the host population, which can provide valuable information to the control strategies of disease outbreaks. Several examples of such investigations using open genomic data of emerging viruses will be demonstrated and discussed in this talk.


Dr Tommy Lam is a genomic scientist with research interest on emerging infectious diseases. He has worked with field virologists to trace the animal origins and inter-species transmission of novel H5N1 and H7N9 avian influenza viruses and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) coronavirus. By integrating the multidisciplinary disease data including genome sequences of the pathogens, his research aims to reveal the transmission dynamics and evolution of the pathogens in the outbreaks in different dimensions.

Presentation slides