For the past 150 years, vertebrate palaeontologists have focused on the study of bones of dinosaurs and other prehistoric life. There are a lot of gaps to be filled in understanding prehistoric ecology, and the lack of data has given rise to speculations and myths. At CUHK, Professor Michael Pittman, a leading scientist in the field of vertebrate palaeontology, has been using innovative technology to revolutionise our understanding of pre-historic life.
Applied geographers use a variety of techniques to understand and explain human-environment relationships and solve real-world problems. The rapid development of geographic information systems (GIS) and other technologies in the past few decades has greatly expanded the reach of applied geography. Professor Kwan Mei-po, internationally recognised for her ground-breaking work that advanced GIS techniques, is dedicated to finding innovative ways to accurately assess people’s environmental exposures and the impact on their health, with an emphasis to capture individual experience.
Two CUHK professors are collaborating on technology solutions for Cantonese speakers in Hong Kong who suffer from dysarthria, which affects the articulation of sounds and words, and have since expanded their research to neurological diseases such as dementia. Their cross-disciplinary research combines multilingual speech processing, artificial intelligence, neuroscience and language learning.
Chemical Pathology Professor Dennis Lo Yuk-ming, often referred to as the “father” of Non-invasive Prenatal Testing (NIPT), is one of leading researchers at CUHK who contribute extraordinary expertise to Hong Kong’s public healthcare system. Last year, he was awarded America’s top biomedical research prize for his discovery, which has revolutionised prenatal testing for Down syndrome. That clinical breakthrough has also laid foundations for the early detection of multiple types of cancer, creating life-changing impacts on patients around the world.
The CUHK research group led by Professor Tony Mok Shu-kam has decoded the common mutated genes in lung cancer and developed targeted therapies that have successfully increased patients’ lifespans. These innovative therapies redefined global paradigms in lung cancer treatment, providing patients with fresh hope. Professor Mok has established himself as one of the leading oncologists of the world, with his work on targeted EGFR inhibitors marking a significant milestone in the use of immunotherapy.
Cancers of the stomach, colon and liver are among the top causes of death globally. CUHK’s world-leading multi-disciplinary research in gastroenterology and hepatology has helped save countless lives by revolutionising early detection of gastrointestinal cancers, fatty liver disease and liver cancer. Breakthroughs in this field by Professor Jun Yu, Director of both the Institute of Digestive Disease and the State Key Laboratory of Digestive Disease at CUHK, have already been translated into clinical applications across China and Southeast Asia.
The UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are an important framework for CUHK to organise its research enterprise. Life Sciences Professor Lam Hon-ming’s research into climate smart soybean cultivation on marginal land is impacting multiple SDGs – from ending hunger, to improving nutrition and food security, to halting and reversing climate change, restoring degraded land and promoting gender equality. As Director of the State Key Laboratory of Agrobiotechnology at CUHK, he is also leading groundbreaking experiments in space.