Highlights of Research Achievements


  • Conducted leading research on adipokines and adipose-derived hormones, and developed new drugs for the treatment of obesity and diabetes mellitus
  • Leading research on adipokines and adipose-derived hormones
  • Research on metabolic diseases: identification of novel biomarkers for risk prediction and drug development in prevention and management of diabetes mellitus, obesity, cardiovascular diseases and thyrotoxic periodic paralysis
  • Pioneered cell-based therapy in the treatment of human heart diseases


  • Developed an oral arsenic preparation to treat leukaemia, a first patented prescription drug developed entirely in Hong Kong
  • Identified and characterised cancer stem cells responsible for metastasis in colorectal cancer, and the development of liver cancer
  • Discovered a new mechanism causing Lynch Syndrome that has become a diagnostic test adopted worldwide
  • Hepatitis B virus infection and hepatocellular carcinoma: from diagnosis and treatment of chronic carrier status, mechanisms of hepatocellular carcinogenesis, to development of novel treatment modalities including live-donor liver transplantation
  • Comprehensive genomic study of gastric and liver cancers

Development and Growth

  • Critical insights into the disease mechanisms of premature ageing, deafness, and digit development, through functional genomics and genetics
  • Generation of a mouse model for Brachydactyly type A1 by the TCF providing new insights into the development and formation of joints
  • Genetic and sequence analyses in the identification of a novel risk factor linked to degeneration of the spine and back pain

Infection and Immunology

  • Discovered the SARS coronavirus in 2003; pivotal in the fight against SARS
  • Influenza and other emerging viruses : from pathogen evolution, mode of transmission, clinical presentation, to drug development and prevention through national and global policy formulation and evaluation
  • Discovered the H5N1 virus (avian influenza) outbreak in migratory birds, through the Joint Influenza Research Centre of Shantou University and HKU
  • Discovered the source of human inflection and virus genesis of the H7N9 influenza, and confirmed that the closure of live poultry markets was effective in the control of human risk of H7N9 virus infection

Public Health

  • Extensive cohort studies using a theoretical perspective and cutting edge methods to explicate etiology and evaluate contextually specific prevention strategies
  • Defined the risk and predictors of relapse in patients with early psychosis in remission; ensuring favourable clinical outcome