The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) has been putting great emphasis on translational research and innovation. In the past two months, a number of CUHK scholars received international accolades and recognitions for their substantial contributions in the research fields of medicine, mathematics and geophysics. Some were also named “Highly Cited Researchers” with the research papers being extensively cited.

(From left) Professor Rossa Wai Kwun CHIU, Professor Dennis Yuk Ming LO and Professor Allen Kwan Chee CHAN

Professor Dennis Yuk Ming LO, Director of the Li Ka Shing Institute of Health Sciences, Associate Dean (Research) and Chairman of the Department of Chemical Pathology of the Faculty of Medicine at CUHK (CU Medicine), Professor Rossa Wai Kwun CHIU, Associate Dean (Development) of CU Medicine, and Professor Allen Kwan Chee CHAN, Assistant Dean (External Affairs) of CU Medicine, have been named among the “Top 20 Translational Researchers of 2020” by the world-renowned scientific journal Nature Biotechnology. They are the only scholars from Hong Kong on the list, and it is also the fifth consecutive year for Professor Lo to receive the honour.    

The top-cited patent of the three professors in the past five years is “Non-invasive determination of methylome of fetus or tumour from plasma”. Professor Lo reported the presence of cell-free fetal DNA in maternal plasma in 1997 and instrumentally made DNA based non-invasive prenatal testing (NIPT) for Down syndrome a clinical reality being widely adopted in dozens of countries. Professor Rossa Chiu and Professor Allen Chan have been working closely with Professor Lo in the development of non-invasive plasma DNA tests for Down syndrome screening, as well as developing a new class of prenatal and cancer diagnostic markers that are based on DNA methylation. Based on the analysis of the epigenetic mechanism, the team has opened up many new applications of circulating nucleic acids, from elucidating the origin of an aberrant signal in NIPT to detecting myocardial damage and liver damage, investigating the causes of anemia and tracing the tissue of origin of cancer.

Apart from achieving excellence in translational research in medicine, CUHK scholars from multiple disciplines had published papers that rank top by citations, while some received honours in the fields of mathematics and geosciences.

(From left, upper row) Professor Henry Lik Yuen CHAN, Professor Tony MOK, Professor Joseph Jao-yiu SUNG, Professor Vincent Wai Sun WONG, Professor David Shu Cheong HUI
(From left, lower row) Professor Siew Chien NG, Professor Po Keung WONG, Professor Jimmy YU, Professor Mei-Po KWAN

Ten CUHK professors have demonstrated significant and broad influence in their field of study. Their multiple highly cited papers which ranked in the top 1 % by citations during the last decade brought them into the list of Highly Cited Researchers of 2021 by Clarivate Analytics. The list includes:

Category Researcher Department / Faculty and Titles Research Areas
Clinical Medicine Professor Henry Lik Yuen CHAN Clinical Professor (honorary), Faculty of Medicine Hepatitis, fatty liver, cirrhosis, liver cancer
Professor Tony MOK Chairman of the Department of Clinical Oncology and Li Shu Fan Medical Foundation Professor of Clinical Oncology, Faculty of Medicine Lung cancer, targeted therapy, immunotherapy and biomarker
Professor Joseph Jao-yiu SUNG CUHK Emeritus Professor of Medicine Gastrointestinal ulcer bleeding, gastric cancer, hepatitis, colon cancer
Professor Vincent Wai Sun WONG Mok Hing Yiu Professor of Medicine and Head of the Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Department of Medicine and Therapeutics, Faculty of Medicine Fatty liver
Cross-Field Professor David Shu Cheong HUI Professor of Respiratory Medicine, Department of Medicine and Therapeutics, Faculty of Medicine Respiratory failure and sleep disordered breathing, management of emerging severe acute respiratory infections, safety of respiratory therapy and prevention of nosocomial infections in the post SARS era, common airway diseases
Professor Siew Chien NG Professor, Department of Medicine and Therapeutics, Faculty of Medicine Inflammatory bowel disease, gut microbiota, microbiota transplantation, colorectal cancer
Professor Po Keung WONG Emeritus Professor, School of Life Sciences, Faculty of Science Photocatalytic treatment for environmental / water purification, environmental technology, environmental microbiology / biotechnology
Professor Jimmy YU Research Professor, Department of Chemistry, Faculty of Science Preparation and characterisation of novel nano-structured materials, environmental applications of photocatalysis
Social Sciences Professor Mei-Po KWAN Choh-Ming Li Professor of Geography and Resource Management, Faculty of Social Science Environmental health, human mobility, transport and health issues in cities, geographic information science

* A professor from the Department of Electronic Engineering, Faculty of Engineering, is among the list.

Professor Lin LIU (right) and the late Professor John WAHR (left) at the graduation ceremony for doctoral degree at the University of Colorado Boulder in 2011.

Professor Lin LIU, Associate Professor of the Earth System Science Programme in the Faculty of Science at CUHK, received the 2021 John Wahr Early Career Award from the American Geophysical Union (AGU) and is the first in Hong Kong to receive this honour. His research has contributed to the advances of space geodesy by precisely measuring the subtle deformation in frozen ground in the Arctic and Tibetan Plateau, and adopting global satellite navigation systems such as GPS and satellite radar to continuously monitor the permafrost thaw.

Professor Jun ZOU

Professor Jun ZOU, Chairman of the Department of Mathematics and Choh-Ming Li Professor of Mathematics at CUHK, was honoured as a Fellow of the 2022 Class by the American Mathematical Society (AMS) in recognition of his significant contributions to the numerical methods and analyses of direct and inverse problems of partial differential equations. He is one of the few non-US mathematicians who have been honoured with both AMS and Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (SIAM) Fellowships, which are among the most significant and prestigious accolades for mathematicians.

Professor Raymond TONG

Professor Raymond TONG, Chairman of the Department of Biomedical Engineering at CUHK and inventor of the exoskeleton robotic hand for stroke rehabilitation “Hand of Hope” has been honoured with the “Global Ageing Influencers 2021” award at the 9th Asia Pacific Eldercare Innovation Awards Ceremony held by the Ageing Asia in Singapore, in recognition of his outstanding achievements in rehabilitation innovations, programmes and services that advance the standard of living for older adults on a global scale. On the same occasion, the “HOPE 4 Care” programme led by Professor Tong’s team and the Faculty of Medicine, CUHK, took home the “Best Rehabilitation Programme” award.

The “HOPE 4 Care” programme delivers four innovations invented by Professor Tong’s team for stroke rehabilitation.