Dr. Kok-Keng Tee obtained his PhD in molecular virology and evolutionary biology in 2009 under the mentorship of Professors Adeeba Kamarulzaman (University of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur), Yutaka Takebe (National Institute of Infectious Diseases, Tokyo), and Oliver G. Pybus (Oxford University, UK). He completed his postdoctoral fellowship at Columbia University, New York with world renowned virologists Professors Thomas Briese and W. Ian Lipkin prior returning to Kuala Lumpur and established the Pathogen Genetics & Evolution Laboratory at the University of Malaya, conducting evolutionary biology research on medically important human viruses.
He is presently an Associate Professor in the Department of Medical Microbiology, Faculty of Medicine in UM and an adjunct Associate Professor at the School of Medical and Life Sciences, Sunway University in Malaysia. His research interest focuses on the genetic and evolutionary characterization of blood-borne (HIV, HCV, HBV, HPgV) and respiratory viruses (RV, MPV, CoV, PIV, EV, RSV, AdV, influenza viruses). With years of experience in pathogen surveillance, genomic technology and microbial diversity, his research team has discovered more than a dozen novel virus strains (or genotypes) circulating in the region. He also developed computational tools for phylodynamic and transmission networks that allow for regular monitoring of the spread of infectious diseases, designing evidence-based strategies for effective disease management, control and prevention. He is also involved in innovating cutting-edge diagnostic assays for rapid viral detection and studying the impact of viral diversity in disease pathogenesis. To date, he has secured fourteen research grants, both internally and externally, with a total of RM7.28 million in funding. Recently, his scientific perspectives on the COVID-19 pandemic have been regularly featured in China Press, Sin Chew Jit Poh, Nanyang Press, The Economist and Astro Awani.
He has been serving as a contributing member or expert panel for several regional and international societies and research networks, including the WHO-UNAIDS Network for HIV Isolation and Characterisation, Stanford Transmitted Drug Resistance (TDR) Surveillance Working Group, International Network for the Sequencing of Respiratory Viruses (INSPIRE), International AIDS Society (IAS), TREAT Asia HIV network, and the ASEAN Research Network.
Dr. Tee has published over 110 research articles in peer-reviewed indexed journals, with an h-index of 29 and over 2,900 citations. He has delivered over ten plenaries and invited lectures and presented over 50 papers in local as well as international conferences. His work has also produced six patents, copyright and utility innovation. He is currently the Section/Academic/Associate Editor for various international journals including PLoS One, ASM Science Journal, Virology Journal, Current HIV Research, and Frontiers in Microbiology.
His achievements have been recognized through several national and international awards, including the Top Research Scientists Malaysia (TRSM) by the Academy of Sciences Malaysia (2022), American Society for Microbiology (ASM) Country Ambassador (2022), UM Excellence Award (Outstanding Young Researcher) (2017), 10th National Academic Award (nomination) (2016), Daiwa Adrian Prize (2010), UM Excellence Award (Outstanding PhD Student) (2009), 15th CROI Young Investigator Award (2008), and the 57th Meeting of Nobel Laureates in Physiology and Medicine, Lindau (2007). He was selected as Fellow by the Malaysian Scientific Association (MSA) and the Ministry of Higher Education in the CEO Faculty Programme 2.0 with the Malaysia Airports Holdings Berhad (MAHB).