Modern medicine has made major advances in treating and controlling many human diseases. These advances have improved the quality of life and longevity of the population. With increasing aging population, the spectrum of the medicine needed include new therapeutics for specific diseases and for prevention and improvement of the quality of life. The public and medical communities have been increasingly interested in the use of Chinese medicine (CM) due to its long history of use and its perceived safety.

For a list of diseases, CM is an age-old proven remedy. The theory and practice of CM have evolved over several thousand years and the approach taken is an integrated and systematic one in its own right. For example, CM has long been used as multiple combinations of processed natural products, primarily medicinal herbs, to treat human diseases. In contrast, western medicine employs pure, single and definable compounds.

CM's focus on combination therapy is time-honored, and it deserves to have scientific recognition as evidenced by recent successes in using combination therapy for the treatment of cancer, tuberculosis and AIDS. Additionally, the public perceives that CM may have fewer and less severe adverse effects than western medicine, making CM especially attractive to the public.

To foster the universal application of CM in Hong Kong, China and beyond, we have developed and applied state-of-the-art biological and chemical analysis technologies to investigate and identify bioactive molecules, and to delineate their mechanisms of action. We consider these as the initial steps necessary for the development of Chinese medicinal herbs for evidenced-based clinical trials to become safe and effective world-class therapeutics.

Mission Statement

The HKU Molecular Chinese Medicine Program was established by the Faculty of Medicine in 2006 following the initiation by Professor Paul Tam, Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Research) and late Professor Allan Lau, with advice from Professor YC Cheng. This represents part of a University-wide effort involving various faculties to conduct scientific research on medicinal herbs. The Program aims to perform scientific research on Chinese Medicinal herbs and natural products and contribute to the development of evidence-based and high standard therapeutics, through multi-disciplinary approaches combining basic sciences and sophisticated technologies encompassing the fields of genomics, proteomics, cell biology and molecular pharmacology.


Collaborative projects are welcome. We will provide our collective experience to work with colleagues in chemical authentication and biological fingerprinting of medicinal herbs, in addition to genomics and cell signaling technologies. Our expertise in using high content cell imaging by Cellomics System can be beneficial for collaborative programs.


Professor Godfrey Chan

Assistant Professor
Dr. James Li

Post-doctoral Scientist
Dr. Cindy LH Yang

Technology Officer
Mr. Stanley CC Chik

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