VOLUME 28 ISSUE 1 JUL 2023 New Peaks on The Horizon


02 Figures: The Faculty in 2022 醫學院2022年回顧 04 Celebrating HKUMed’s 135th Anniversary 135周年院慶 06 Feature 專題故事 New Peaks on the Horizon 拓展研究領域 再創高峰 24 The 208th Congregation 第208屆學位頒授典禮 26 Feature+ 專題+ A Family Doctor for All: Hong Kong’s New Road Map for Primary Care 「一人一家庭醫生」: 香港基層醫療健康的新里程 32 Opening of Techmezz and Faculty Spring Reception Techmezz 開幕禮及醫學院新春團拜 34 Distinguished Lecture, MEHU 10th Anniversary Celebration and Opening of HKUMed Laboratory of Cellular Therapeutics 傑出學人講座、MEHU成立十周年誌慶及 香港大學細胞治療實驗室開幕 36 Students’ Community Services 學生社區服務 Editorial Team Editor-in-Chief Ada Leung Wing-yee Managing Editors Rachel Jie Niki Shek Executive Editor Annie Lam Feature and Feature+ Writer Kathy Griffin Photographer (Feature portraits) Paul Yeung Graphic Design Good Morning Design 38 Achievements 獎項與成就 44 Activities and Events 活動紀要 47 People 人物 Hello 新臉孔 Appointments and Promotions 任命與晉升 In Remembrance 永遠懷念 Alumni News 校友活動 Student Achievements 學生成就 Student Activities 學生活動 61 Donations 捐贈者名單 64 Art and Culture 藝文空間 All rights reserved 2023 If you wish to receive the digital version of HKUMed News, please complete the online form by scanning the above QR code 如欲接收電子版HKUMed News,請掃描二維碼並填寫網上表格 1 HKUMed News Summer 2023

Figures Professoriate Staff 教授級人員 324 Postgraduate Students 研究生 2117 Honorary Academic Staff 名譽學術人員 2976 Undergraduate Students 本科生 3261 Postgraduate Education 研究生課程 Undergraduate Programmes (Full Time) and Student Numbers本科生課程(全日制)及學生人數 Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery Bachelor of Nursing Bachelor of Chinese Medicine Bachelor of Pharmacy Bachelor of Biomedical Sciences Bachelor of Science (Exercise and Health) Bachelor of Science in Bioinformatics Bachelor of Arts and Sciences in Global Health and Development Year 1 299 211 25 42 59 - 12 23 Year 2 297 201 26 35 52 - - 26 Year 3 246 213 21 38 55 - - 20 Year 4 232 217 21 25 73 - - 17 Year 5 246 220 25 - - - - - Year 6 261 - 22 - - 1 - - Total 1581 1062 140 140 239 1 12 86 • The Faculty offers 12 taught postgraduate (TPg) programmes in 2022-23. • A total of 60 TPg students have been awarded UGC Targeted TPg Programmes Fellowships Scheme. • The Faculty admitted 295 Research Postgraduate (RPg) students in 2022-23. Twelve of our new PhD students have been awarded Hong Kong PhD Fellowships by the Research Grants Council (RGC), and 11 have been awarded the HKU Presidential PhD Scholarships. • A total of 14 postgraduate students were awarded other prizes in 2022, including the Sir Patrick Manson Gold Medal for MD students, Dr KP Stephen Chang Gold Medal for PhD students, KAN Shin Yu Chinese Medicine Postgraduate Research Prize, Chan To Haan Prize for Research Postgraduate Students in Pathology, Professor Anthony Hedley Prize for Master of Public Health, BL Wong Memorial Prize in Nursing Studies, Lau Wing Kai Memorial Prizes in Nursing Studies, Best Evidence Based Practice Dissertation/Clinical Research Project Award for Master of Nursing, Master of Science in Nursing Academic Excellence Award, Master of Science in Nursing Clinical Excellence Award and Dr Kate Cheng Memorial Prize for Postgraduate Diploma in Infectious Diseases. The Faculty in 2022 醫學院2022年回顧(as of December 2022) 2

Research grants awarded to Faculty members RGC General Research Fund/Early Career Scheme Health and Medical Research Fund (Provisional) Health and Medical Research Fund Commissioned Grant RGC Areas of Excellence/ Theme-based Research Scheme Innovation and Technology Fund Others 76 70 6 3 42 27 projects HK$82.4M projects HK$73.4M projects HK$48.1M projects HK$56.3M (2 projects as PI and 1 project as Co-I) projects HK$50.1M projects HK$64.1M Public lectures/ Symposia/Fora 公開講座/座談會/論壇 Regular newspaper columns 報章定期專欄 Media interviews and press conferences 媒體訪問及新聞發布會 Media coverage generated 傳媒報道總計 (including expertise, comments, functions and activities related to COVID-19) (包括有關新冠肺炎的專業知識、評論、場合及活動) Health programmes on television and radio 電視及電台醫療健康節目 (excluding expertise and comments related to COVID-19 on TV and radio) (不包括在電視及電台發表有關新冠肺炎的專業知識及評論) 176 107 105 12526 177 Research Grants 研究資助 Research Output 研究成果 • The Faculty’s refereed research output saw 1881 items produced in 2021-2022, accounting for 41.1% of the University’s total of 4541 refereed items. The output included important publications in top journals of impact factors over 40: Lancet & Lancet series journals (27), Nature & Nature series journals (14), Cell (3), Annals of Oncology (2), Annals of Internal Medicine (4), Journal of Clinical Oncology (4), Cell Research (2), JAMA Internal Medicine (2), Molecular Cancer (1). • According to Clarivate Analytics, our researchers have published 541 Highly Cited Papers, and 24 staff members are listed as Highly Cited Researchers. As of July 2022, among 150 HKU staff on the list of Top 1% scholar, 64 of them are from HKUMed, making up 42.7% of the Top 1% scholar in HKU. Public Education 公眾教育 in total HK$374.4M 3 HKUMed News Summer 2023

The fourth and final lecture of the 135th Anniversary Dean’s Lecture Series was successfully held on 12 December 2022, delivered by Professor Trudie E Roberts, Emeritus Professor, University of Leeds, entitled ‘Producing a 21st Century Doctor’. Professor Roberts highlighted the revolutionary influence that technology is having on healthcare delivery and why we need a similar revolution to equip our students to embrace this new technology-enabled future and continue to provide the best medical care for patients. 「群賢匯智」港大醫學院135周年院長講座系列的第四場兼壓軸講座於2022年 12月12日舉行,由利茲大學榮休教授Trudie E Roberts教授分享廿一世紀的醫學 教育。 Roberts教授強調科技對醫療保健服務的革命性影響,而醫療教育亦需要 一場類似的革命,以裝備學生在新技術驅動的未來為患者提供最佳的醫療服務。 Professor Chak-sing Lau presented a white coat from HKUMed to Professor Roberts as souvenir. 劉澤星教授致送港大醫學院白袍予Roberts教授,以作紀念。 Panellists Professor Gilberto Leung, Associate Dean (Teaching and Learning); Professor Samuel Wong, Associate Dean (Education), Faculty of Medicine cum Director, School of Public Health and Primary Care and Thomas Jing Centre for Mindfulness Research and Training, CUHK; and Dr Rex Hui, Clinical Practitioner, Department of Medicine, School of Clinical Medicine (SClinMed) cum Honorary Resident, Queen Mary Hospital exchanged their views in the panel discussion moderated by Professor Chak-sing Lau, Dean of Medicine. 副院長(教學)梁嘉傑教授、香港中文大學醫學院副院長(教育)兼任賽馬會公共衞生及基層醫療學院院長與敬霆靜觀研究與培訓中心 總監黃仰山教授,及臨床醫學學院內科學系臨床講師暨瑪麗醫院名譽駐院醫生許允軒醫生在座談環節作交流,由院長劉澤星教授擔任 主持。 135th Anniversary Dean’s Lecture Series 「群賢匯智」港大醫學院135周年院長講座系列 4

140 for 140: Great Minds for Grand Challenges 「140 for 140」全球招聘計劃 HKUMed is embarking on a major recruitment drive to support our expanding research portfolio and clinical and teaching activities. The ‘140 for 140’ recruitment campaign seeks to recruit 140 professoriate staff across multiple disciplines and ranks by 2027, when HKUMed celebrates its 140th anniversary. The recruitment campaign started in mid-April 2023 with a delegation at the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) Annual Meeting in Orlando, Florida, US. Further overseas delegations will be arranged to engage with members of the medical community across the globe. 港大醫學院正著手進行大規模的招聘活動,以配合持續擴展的研究範疇以及臨床和教學活動。「140 for 140」全球招聘計劃旨在於2027年 港大醫學院成立140周年之際,招募140名跨學科和職級的學者。招聘計劃的首站是2023年4月中在美國佛羅里達州奧蘭多舉行的美國癌症研究協會 (AACR)年會,學院將安排更多的海外代表團與全球醫學界的成員進行交流。 Since 1887: A Walking Tour 「遊.歷杏林」港大醫學院精華遊 In early January 2023, HKUMed organised guided tours as a finale of its 135th Anniversary celebration, giving the public a taste of HKUMed from past to present. The tour began at the original site of the Hong Kong College of Medicine for Chinese on Hollywood Road, where alumni including Dr Sun Yat-sen received their training, then moved on to HKUMed campus on Sassoon Road to visit innovative teaching technologies for training tomorrow’s aspiring healthcare professionals. 於2023年1月圓滿舉行的「遊.歷杏林」公眾導賞團為港大醫學院135周年誌慶 的壓軸節目。導賞團先遊歷醫學院前身、位於荷里活道的香港華人西醫書院舊址及 孫中山先生等校友的歷史足跡,再前往醫學院位於沙宣道的校園,參加者可親身體驗 嶄新教學科技,認識現今醫護學生的校園生活。 Anatomage provides an interactive 3D anatomy and physiology learning approach through virtual dissection. 虛擬解剖台以互動及立體形式輔助學生研習解剖學及生理學。 Professor Chak-sing Lau, Dean of Medicine, introduced HKUMed at a reception during AACR Annual Meeting. 院長劉澤星教授在AACR招待會介紹港大醫學院。 The Deanery had fruitful exchanges with visitors to the HKUMed booth at ACCR. 領導團隊與參觀者在學院設於ACCR的展示攤位作交流。 5 HKUMed News Summer 2023

FEATURE HKUMed’s globally-leading response to the COVID-19 pandemic saw our experts achieve many firsts in describing the disease and providing solutions. Now, as borders have re-opened and the pandemic has abated, the focus is turning back to other conditions and diseases where the Faculty excels, such as cancer research, viral hepatitis, cardiometabolic disease and stem cells, etc. and to those where there is potential for future impact, such as neuroscience and precision medicine. Fortunately, this is all coinciding with unprecedented expansion and investment in HKUMed’s development, which are equipping us for the next big challenges. ‘When COVID-19 arrived, we were able to respond very quickly because of our past track record and experience. We contributed a lot of important findings from microbiology, virology, public health, clinical research and big data because everyone focused and worked on this problem,’ said Professor Leung Wai-keung, Associate Dean (Research). ‘That same attitude and preparation can be tapped to make big impacts in other areas, too. It is time to bring that attention back to our other strengths and find new areas to develop.’ Advancing from an enviable position, HKUMed has jumped to 31st position in the 2023 Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) World University Rankings in the subject of Medicine, moving up nine places from 40th last year, and is the top-ranked medical school in Hong Kong. HKUMed also leapt 20 places in the subject of Life Sciences and Medicine, moving from 49th THE WUR by Subject in Clinical and Health (2023) QS WUR by Subject in Medicine (2023) New Peaks on The Horizon 1st in HK 1st in HK 13th Worldwide 31st Worldwide 6

position last year to 29th this year, a historic high. Marked improvement has also been observed in the research scores of citations per paper and H-index in the overall subject of Life Sciences and Medicine and in the individual subjects of Medicine, Nursing, and Pharmacology and Pharmacy. Moreover, the pieces are falling into place for taking the Faculty to the next level. Last year, proposed new facilities in the greenbelt next to 3 Sassoon Road were approved, while dedicated cancer research and cancer care centres are under construction at Grantham Hospital. ‘Space has long been a critical factor for us because our scientists need more lab space. These projects offer a light at the end of the tunnel,’ Professor Leung said. Research funding is also on the upswing with more government funding for health and medical research. Under InnoHK alone, HKUMed initiatives have received more than HK$2 billion. Opportunities have also opened up to access grants on the Mainland and do research there, particularly through the HKU-Shenzhen Hospital and in the Greater Bay Area. ‘There’s a change in the paradigm towards expediting the translation of discoveries from the laboratory to the clinic, to improve medical care and make it more accessible to all. We will focus more on translational research and how to commercialise it and license it, and we are recruiting related expertise to help us focus on tech transfer,’ Professor Leung said. The Faculty has also stepped up its support of research through investment in core facilities that are available to all researchers through the Centre for PanorOmic Sciences (CPOS), such as sequencing and imaging equipment, wet labs and computer servers for dry lab work. Recent and upcoming additions include the HKU-HA Data Collaboration Lab, a Stem Cell GMP Lab and a cryogenic electron microscope. People, though, remain the most important asset, Professor Leung said. The ‘140 for 140’ campaign aims to hire 140 new scholars by HKUMed’s 140th anniversary in 2027. The Faculty is also nurturing young talent – its future stars – through such things as funding support, mentoring programmes, and research fellowships for clinical academics and early-career doctors. The aim is to help them develop their research for wider impact in the community. ↑Professor Leung Wai-keung, Associate Dean (Research) remarked that the Faculty will focus more on translational research, as well as the commercialisation and licensing of new discoveries. 7 HKUMed News Summer 2023

FEATURE When the COVID-19 pandemic emerged in early 2020, the world was taken by surprise. But for HKUMed’s specialists in emerging infectious diseases (EIDs), it was all in a day’s work. For more than 25 years, they have been studying and responding to EID outbreaks, be it SARS-CoV-2 that causes COVID-19, the first SARS-CoV of 2003, avian influenza H5N1 and H7N9 viruses, the swine flu H1N1 virus and the virus causing Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS-CoV), to name their most famous conquests. Their expertise was recognised recently by The Lancet, which named research by Professor Yuen Kwok-Yung and Dr Jasper Chan Fuk-woo of the Department of Microbiology, School of Clinical Medicine documenting person-to-person transmission of SARS-CoV-2 as one of the most important papers it had published in its 200-year history (only 34 publications were selected which included the discovery papers of antiseptic technique, penicillin and Helicobacter pylori). Another recognition was the awarding of the Pasteur Network LP200 Prize, a special scientific prize to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the birth of Louis Pasteur, to Professor Leo Poon Lit-man of the School of Public Health. These achievements are built The World’s Pandemic Watchdogs on a legacy that stretches all the way back to HKUMed’s founder, Sir Patrick Manson, who is regarded as the Father of Tropical Medicine and was a skilled physician, surgeon and ←Research led by Professor Yuen Kwok-Yung (right), Chair of Infectious Diseases and Dr Jasper Chan Fuk-woo, Clinical Associate Professor, Department of Microbiology, SClinMed was recognised by The Lancet as one of the most important papers published in its 200-year history. ‘We have this great tradition at HKU that makes us successful [...] We see patients and take relevant specimens from them so that we can discover new viruses in our clinical laboratory, and then immediately share them with our basic scientists.’ Professor Yuen Kwok-Yung 8

‘We have been preparing since the late 1990s, when H5N1 bird flu came to Hong Kong. Because of our success, we got more funding and that made us even better prepared for SARS.’ Professor Yuen Kwok-Yung microbiologist. That combination of skills is represented today by Professor Yuen whose team has discovered more than 80 new viruses during his career including the 2003 SARS-CoV-1 and its ancestral bat SARS-like coronavirus, human coronavirus HKU1, bat coronaviruses HKU4 and HKU5 which are closely related to MERS-CoV infecting camels and human for the last 10 years, and the porcine coronavirus HKU15 which is closely related to a pig coronavirus that has recently been reported to have jumped into Haitian children. ‘We have this great tradition at HKU that makes us successful. The Department of Microbiology is based in the Faculty of Medicine, not the Faculty of Science like in most other universities, and half of our staff are clinician scientists and half are basic scientists. We see patients and take relevant specimens from them so that we can discover new viruses in our clinical laboratory, and then immediately share them with our basic scientists for cloning, sequencing and characterisation in order to understand them better,’ Professor Yuen said. The emphasis on responding quickly has been cultivated by Professor Yuen among staff and students, including Dr Chan who was one of his students during the first SARS outbreak. ‘One thing Professor Yuen always emphasises is that timing is everything. With SARS-CoV-2, there must have been other hospitals seeing patients with an unknown virus, but they might not have the capacity to design diagnostic tests and gene sequencing. Within a few days, we were able to diagnose person-toperson transmission and Professor Yuen reported this to the government at the highest level,’ Dr Chan said. Preparation and strong teams of experts have also been essential ingredients to their success. ‘We have been preparing since the late 1990s, when H5N1 bird flu came to Hong Kong. Because of our success, we got more funding and that made us even better prepared for SARS. And after that more resources came in. All these ‘Our biggest hope is that what we find in the laboratory can improve the care of patients.’ Dr Jasper Chan Fuk-woo 9 HKUMed News Summer 2023

FEATURE ‘When you talk about public health, it is a global problem. You cannot close your door and say you will do this by yourself.’ Professor Leo Poon Lit-man successes made us able to face the battle of COVID-19,’ Professor Yuen said. Collaboration is another essential ingredient, particularly with Mainland and global partners such as the World Health Organization, said Professor Poon, who has been working on EIDs for more than two decades to understand the evolution of coronaviruses in animals and how they jump into humans. With SARS-CoV-2, he helped to develop assay protocols to detect the virus, showed that pet hamsters and humans could infect each other, and demonstrated that COVID-19 vaccines do not prevent infections but reduce the severity of clinical outcomes. ‘We have been working with a lot of people around the world to discover new viruses and the knowledge we have accumulated over the past 20 years helped us to contribute on COVID-19. When you talk about public health, it is a global problem. You cannot close your door and say you will do this by yourself. We need partners and respond to different stakeholders,’ Professor Poon said. The International Jury of the Pasteur Prize highlighted the success of this approach, saying that ‘Professor Poon embodies Louis Pasteur’s vision of science without borders.’ Dr Kathy Leung Sze-man of the School of Public Health, a more recent recruit who was mentored at HKUMed and named by Nature Medicine last December as one of the ‘11 Early-Career Researchers to Watch’, similarly relies on teamwork with external partners. She used her expertise in mathematical modelling and data to help HKUMed develop an epidemic nowcasting system for COVID-19 in Hong Kong that describes the current situation and predicts trends. ‘We relied heavily on various data streams including daily Octopus card use as the mobility index, viral loads from wastewater surveillance by the Environmental Protection Department, case reports from the Centre for Health ←The International Jury awarded the LP200 Prize to Professor Leo Poon Lit-man, Division Head of Public Health Laboratory Sciences, School of Public Health, for ‘the essential contributions of Professor Poon to preparedness, research, collaboration and commitment to the Pasteur Network, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.’ 10

‘Collaborations are important to enable us to quickly translate research findings.’ Dr Kathy Leung Sze-man Protection, the number of severe patients treated by the Hospital Authority, outbreaks reported in elderly homes, and the number of patients in holding centres reported by the Social Welfare Department,’ she said. ‘Collaborations are important to enable us to quickly translate research findings.’ Continued teamwork, diligence, quick responses and an open-minded curiosity will be necessary to stave off the next pandemic, too. So will a deep consideration of the COVID-19 pandemic, said Professor Poon. ‘We need to think about how the infrastructure, network, platform and guidelines that were established can be improved further. And we need to find a way to harmonise all these policies from different countries. The best time to advocate for these things is now, in the aftermath, when people still remember the effects of COVID-19. In a couple of years, they will forget because they have other priorities.’ Professor Yuen sees more work ahead across the spectrum of detecting, diagnosing, treating and vaccinating against new viruses – and even working on a reusable face mask to reduce the impacts on the environment. After all, the health of people, animals and the environment are closely linked. ‘We also have to continue to collaborate with scientists in the Mainland and all over the world and find innovative ways to discover new emerging infectious disease agents. Because viruses can rapidly mutate their genes to escape from our immune defence in order to infect and spread in human or animals, they are cunning enemies who continue to search for weak points to attack.’ Dr Chan hopes to see more industry partnerships, especially in the Greater Bay Area, to help bring their discoveries to patients. ‘It is very disheartening for us to make an important discovery and have the finding just lapse. Our biggest hope is that what we find in the laboratory can improve the care of patients,’ he said. →Dr Kathy Leung Sze-man was named by Nature Medicine as one of the ‘11 Early-Career Researchers to Watch’. 11 HKUMed News Summer 2023

FEATURE A Team Leader in the Fight Against Cancer HKUMed has done admirable work in cancer research and management, particularly cancers affecting Asian populations such as liver and nasopharyngeal cancers. Those efforts recently received a further boost with the appointment of Professor Rina Hui Yee-man as Director of the new Centre of Cancer Medicine (CancerMed), who will prioritise a team-based, multidisciplinary approach to bring new treatments to patients and drive ground-breaking research. ‘We are in an exciting era to see basic and translational research expeditiously translated into clinically meaningful therapies for cancer patients,’ said Professor Hui. Professor Hui worked as a medical oncologist in Australia for 23 years, where she spearheaded many clinical trials and served as the Chair of oncology teaching at the University of Sydney. She specialises in lung and breast cancer management, and one of her most memorable achievements was a Phase I clinical trial in 2012 providing experimental immunotherapy to a metastatic lung cancer patient, who had exhausted all his treatment options. This patient and several others are still alive and well today. While she claims modestly that being at the right place at the right time was a key factor in her success, her achievement was built on years of establishing local and global collaborations and building up multi-disciplinary teams to manage cancer patients and to conduct clinical and translational research. ‘Multi-disciplinarity is the key to making further advancements in cancer research and cancer management. A lot of scientists and clinicians are doing really great jobs, but they can be even more effective in advancing knowledge further if they build strong collaborations,’ she said. This is the message she brings to HKUMed, where she took up her post in January. Although CancerMed does not have a physical base yet – that will come within the next three years when a dedicated University Block of the Cancer Centre opens at the new Grantham Hospital – she has already started to build on her vision, ‘as a centre is not necessarily a physical building, but is made up of a united group of experts and talents working closely together with common goals.’ Professor Hui is aiming to encourage more comprehensive multidisciplinary teams with cancer specialists from various departments including clinical oncology, medicine, surgery, radiology, pathology, as well as professionals such as palliative care physicians, psychooncologists and familial cancer geneticists, come together under tumour streams to optimise patients’ survival and quality of life, with timely diagnosis and earlier treatment initiation, as well as to provide psychological support to enhance survivorship. ‘Every cancer is a little ↓As the Director of the new Centre of Cancer Medicine, Professor Rina Hui Yee-man has started to build her vision in setting up a multidisciplinary team of cancer specialists. 12

different from each other in how it is treated. There are also lots of promising new complex multimodality treatments in each cancer type, so it is important to get everyone in the tumour stream working together on what is best for the patient,’ she said. ‘I really hope to foster an inspirational environment to learn from each other, whether we are talking about research, patient management or teaching, to come together to improve things further.’ On research, she plans to build a page on the Centre’s website that lists current cancer research by tumour stream and provides contact details of the principal investigators from various departments and schools, so other researchers can get in touch. Teachers in each tumour stream will work together in the new eight-week oncology block of the MBBS curriculum, using several common cancers as springboards to illustrate general principles of cancer management. The whole-team approach will be reinforced with regular service meetings and educational sessions where clinicians and scientists present their work to each other and thereby encourage collaborations. Professor Hui is also keen to step up cancer clinical trials and bring new treatments within reach of more patients. She plans to develop a dedicated clinical trials unit in CancerMed that will have its own manager to provide training for study co-ordinators and internships for students. In the longer term, she hopes to develop an app similar to the one available in Australia that provides information on clinical trials underway in the area, so patients and their physicians can consider the options. Development of new drugs gives more hope to patients, but it means higher cost for patients and healthcare systems. Phase III trials are particularly attractive because the treatments will have already undergone certain safety and efficacy tests and offer treatment that would otherwise be prohibitively expensive. ‘I have a passion not only to advance knowledge, but also to provide patients with improved, timely access to the new standard of care without selffunding the drugs,’ she said. ‘Enrolling patients in clinical trials ↑Professor Hui strives to expand cancer patients' access to timely provision of new treatment options. has proven to be an effective way to get new and better drugs to patients in this rapidly evolving field. I hope to increase the awareness of cancer patients and the general Hong Kong population of the benefits and safety of joining clinical trials.’ There is also a personal reason in her desire to serve the people of Hong Kong. ‘HKU as well as Hong Kong are close to my heart. I was born in Hong Kong and my late father-in-law Dr HY Mok was a King Edward VII scholar at HKUMed, my grandfather Dr PM Hui MBE a physics senior lecturer and my aunt Dr WH Hui MBE a chemistry lecturer at HKU. I want to be able to use my skills and experience to contribute back and, in a way, return to my roots,’ she said. 13 HKUMed News Summer 2023

Promising New Hepatitis Drug — The Latest Achievement for Top Expert Chronic hepatitis B infection affects 257 million people worldwide and kills about 900,000 people, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).1 About one-third of patients will develop liver cancer or end-stage liver failure if their infection is left untreated. Infection is particularly high in Asia, including Hong Kong, which has inspired the stellar career path of Professor Yuen Man-fung, Chair Professor and Chief of the Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology in the Department of Medicine, School of Clinical Medicine. Professor Yuen has been the top one hepatitis B researcher in the world for 2013-23, according to the Expertscape ranking organisation. He had published research papers extensively with more than 70 in world-class medical journals with impact factors > 30. His work has not only uncovered vital information about the virus but is also at the forefront in developing cures. An HKUMed graduate, he began his research into hepatitis in the 1990s by focusing on the virology and natural history of the disease. He was the first in the world to develop a risk score for hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), the most common type of liver cancer, in patients with hepatitis B. He also did territorywide studies to show that hepatitis B infection in Hong Kong fell to 7.8 per cent this century from 10 per cent in the 1980s, following the introduction of hepatitis B vaccines. More importantly, in 2008 he and his team identified a target for treating patients by showing that loss of the surface antigen of the virus before the age of 50 gave patients a significantly lower chance of developing HCC. Such a loss occurs spontaneously in fewer than one per cent of patients. ‘All the new drug therapy research now is targeting ↑Ranked as the top one hepatitis B researcher in the world by Expertscape, Professor Yuen Man-fung started his research in this particular field in the 1990s, by focusing on the virology and natural history of the disease. FEATURE 14

loss of surface antigen because of our findings,’ he said. This includes Professor Yuen’s own research. He has run more than 40 clinical trials over the past decade and recently reported a highly promising drug which has the potential to functionally cure patients. In that study, published late last year in the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine, more than 450 chronic hepatitis B carriers in Hong Kong and other regions were given a weekly injection of the drug over six months, then followed up six months later to see if the virus was still detectable. About 10 per cent of the group had no surface antigen of the virus detected – 10 times more than naturally occurs. In patients who had lower levels of the virus to start with, the cure rate rose to as high as 16 to 25 per cent. ‘Bringing patients to the state of losing the surface antigen not only decreases their risk of HCC, it also means they can be taken off the standard treatment regime, which at the moment requires lifelong treatment,’ he said. ‘Our results are already a breakthrough, although we are continuing with Phase III clinical trials and we are working on combining different drugs to improve the result. I hope within two or three years we can achieve a 30 per cent cure rate.’ The work of Professor Yuen and his team has put HKUMed on the world map. Big pharmaceutical companies regularly seek his advice and collaboration, and his latest findings of the studies were selected every year to present on stage in the two most prestigious liver meetings, namely the European Association for the Study of the Liver and the American Association for the Study of Liver Disease. His laboratory has conducted studies with other laboratories and centres around the world, in places such as the US, Japan, Korea, Australia, New Zealand and Taiwan, and at other universities in Hong Kong. Another important research area undertaken by Professor Yuen and his team is the detection of hidden or ‘occult’ hepatitis B infection, which does not show up on standard tests. Occult infections can cause serious problems for patients who require immunosuppressive treatment, such as for cancer or transplants, because the treatment can reactivate the infection which, in the worst cases, can cause death. On the whole, Professor Yuen’s work has contributed globally towards the WHO’s goal of eliminating hepatitis B, which is highly preventable with vaccination. That deadline is 2030, although he believes it will take a little longer. ‘I would say it can be done by 2050,’ he said – and his research will contribute to that achievement. ↓Professor Yuen hopes his team's newly discovered treatment could achieve a 30 per cent cure rate among chronic hepatitis B patients and free them from the standard lifelong treatment regime. Reference 1. World Health Organization. Hepatitis B [Internet]. Geneva: WHO; 2022 [cited 11 Apr 2023]. Available from: news-room/fact-sheets/detail/hepatitis-b . 15 HKUMed News Summer 2023

In 2017, Professor Liu Pengtao made a major breakthrough by capturing stem cells at the earliest stage ever, before they started to differentiate into different cell types. He called his discovery expanded potential stem cells (EPSCs) and it opened up the field to various new explorations. Recently, his team has reaped some of the benefits from those explorations. Last year, the US National Academy of Medicine (NAM) awarded Professor Liu, Managing Director of the Centre for Translational Stem Cell Biology (CTSCB) and his team a Healthy Longevity Catalyst Award (Hong Kong), for using EPSC technology to develop a new system for studying normal ageing that is based on human trophoblast cells – the first time a ‘normal’ developmental process has been captured for this purpose. Trophoblast cells are present in the placenta, nourish the foetus and protect it from the mother’s immune system. ‘Functional trophoblasts are produced from progenitor cells in the placenta, and they gradually become old and aged throughout the pregnancy. They are understudied, but their ageing process is unique since it represents an accelerated ageing of normal human cells,’ he said. But his achievements with trophoblast cells do not stop there. Prompted by concerns in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic that babies could perhaps be infected by their mothers, Professor Liu and his collaborators were able to show that trophoblast cells can indeed be infected with the SARS-CoV-2 virus and other coronaviruses early in their development – in particular, the synctiotrophoblasts (STBs), which express high levels of the protein ACE2, a receptor for the virus. However, the good news was that ACE2 expression is strong only in the first few days of embryo development, before the embryo implants in the placenta and trophoblast progenitors start to differentiate to mature STBs. ‘In general, there is rarely direct vertical transmission of the virus from the mother to the foetus, so babies are safe,’ he said. ‘But we don’t know at the moment whether very early embryos are infected or whether they can develop normally. If the embryo is lost, it would not be noticed by the patients because there are only about 100 cells in a free-floating embryo. We are using a 3D model of a human embryo to study this further.’ The use of EPSC technology in this discovery not only gave scientists a ‘window’ to the womb – it would be difficult and unethical to do such a study in a pregnant patient – but also identified a new platform for drug screening. STBs are at least 1,000 times more sensitive to anti-viral drugs than other cells used by the pharmaceutical industry, and could be used to help identify molecules that might otherwise be missed using less sensitive drug targets. The drugs could then be FEATURE ↓Professor Liu Pengtao, Managing Director of CTSCB and his team garnered the Healthy Longevity Catalyst Award (Hong Kong) from the US NAM for using EPSC technology to develop a new system for studying normal aging. New Directions for Stem Cell Innovator 16

modified to target the virus. EPSC technology could also have a future role to play in antiageing drugs, beyond simply understanding the ageing process. Professor Liu said their findings on ageing in trophoblasts have been patented, although the results are not yet published. Nonetheless, HKUMed’s world-leading COVID-19 research has thrust us into the limelight, but as the examples on these pages show, our strengths are many. The Faculty’s research leads not only in emerging infectious diseases but also the non-communicable diseases that are becoming far more commonplace as society ages, such as complications related to hepatitis infection, cancer and cardiometabolic diseases. Advances are also being made in developing the potential of stem cell therapeutic research to investigate and treat diseases. they are in discussions with the industry and working with overseas collaborators. ‘Ageing affects everyone. We are new in this research area. However, with our knowledge in stem cells, genetics and developmental biology and our collaborations with clinical ↑Professor Liu is confident that his team can make exciting discoveries for healthy longevity. Dreaming Bigger To maintain that success, though, the Faculty must do more. Professor Leung said the plan is to strengthen performance in fields that are becoming increasingly important in modern society, such as neuroscience, big data and personalised medicine, while continuing to build on existing areas of excellence. Collaborations will also be deepened with other disciplines and institutions. Fortunately, the Faculty has the resources to fulfil its vision. It is now more than ready to advance to the next level, with the addition of new talent and new facilities and enhanced access to research funding. ‘Our aim is to scale up and dream bigger in our research so we can have an even bigger impact in improving the health of Hong Kong, the region and the world,’ he said. colleagues in various disciplines, we are confident that we can make exciting discoveries for healthy longevity,’ he said. The team also works with mouse and pig EPSCs, and recently received funding from the Central Government’s Ministry of Science and Technology to explore the use of pig EPSCs in agriculture and biomedicines. One particular focus is on developing xenotransplants – developing organs in a porcine system that lacks known porcine antigens (which would normally elicit immune system activation in the human body) allowing these organs to be transplanted directly from pigs to humans with low transplant rejections. ‘The technology is advancing very fast, but we have the best pig stem cell system in the world in terms of potency, robustness and efficient and precise genome editing. We are very competitive in this field,’ he said. ‘Our aim is to scale up and dream bigger in our research so we can have an even bigger impact in improving the health of Hong Kong, the region and the world.’ Professor Leung Wai-keung 17 HKUMed News Summer 2023

現時,隨著各地放寬入境限制, 疫症大流行的影響逐漸褪去,學者們 紛紛重啟新冠病毒以外的研究項目, 除了向來屢獲佳績的範疇如癌症、肝 炎、心血管代謝疾病和幹細胞等,學 院亦積極拓展新的硏究領域,包括腦 神經科學及精準醫學等。 上述的研究目標,與學院的未來 發展藍圖相輔相成⸺學院正在為前 所未有的擴建和發展計劃投放大量資 源,務求為迎面而來的挑戰,作最佳 準備。 學院副院長(科研)梁偉強教授指 出:「港大醫學院的學者能夠迅速應對 新冠疫情,實在有賴過往累積的研究 成果與經驗。不論是微生物學、病毒 學、公共衞生學、臨床研究的學者或 大數據專家,都付出了大量時間與心 血,合力解決困難,為對抗疫情作出 貢獻。」 梁教授續說:「學者們帶著同樣認 真的態度與充足的準備,定必可在其 他研究領域大放異彩,現在是時候將 焦點放回學院其他的研究優勢,並積 極尋找新方向,力求卓越。」 港大醫學院在近期的國際排名亦 喜獲佳績,最新公佈的2023年QS世 界大學「醫學」學科排名中,港大醫學 院由去年第40位,躍升九位至全球第 31位,榮膺全港第一;而「生命科學 與醫學」的排名,則由去年全球第49 位,躍升至第29位,創歷史新高。在 「生命科學與醫學」的總學科範疇,以 及個別學科如醫學、護理學、藥理與 藥劑學的研究評分,包括論文被引頻 次,以及H指數等亦有顯著上升。 這些驕人的成績,加上各個發展 細節互相配合,勢必帶領學院再創高 峰:去年學院提出在毗鄰沙宣道三號 的綠化帶興建嶄新教研設施的議案已 獲得通過;而集中發展癌症研究及提 供相關護理、位於葛量洪醫院的癌症 中心亦正在興建。梁教授指出:「足夠 的土地空間對學院的發展至關重 要⸺我們的科研學者實在需要更多 實驗室空間進行研究,而這些項目正 為大家帶來曙光。」 隨著政府擴大對醫療衞生項目的 資助,相關研究經費亦有所增加。就 港大醫學院在InnoHK的項目而言, 已獲得逾二十億港元的研究資金。現 時亦有更多申請內地科研項目資助、 並在當地進行研究的機會,尤其是透 過港大深圳醫院與大灣區所提供的機 遇。 梁教授說:「研究模式的轉變,在 於如何更快捷地將實驗室的發明轉化 為臨床應用,以提升醫療護理水平, 讓更多人受惠。我們將集中投放更多 資源與時間於轉化型研究,並探索如 何將科研成果商品化及獲取專利,學 院正招聘相關專才拓展技術轉移。」 學院亦已投放資源,以加強泛組 學科研中心的主要研究設施,例如基 因排序與影像設備、濕實驗室,以及 為乾實驗室而設的電腦伺服器等。近 期增設的項目還有即將落成的港大與 醫管局數據協作實驗室、獲得良好製 造規範(GMP)認證的幹細胞實驗室, 以及低溫電子顯微鏡。 然而,梁教授強調人才方為學院 最重要的資產。猶幸疫情終於穩定, 學院亦積極重啟「140 for 140」全球招 聘計劃,旨在於學院踏入140周年, 即2027年或之前新聘140名學者,同 時引入嶄新項目培育新一代臨床研究 學者和醫生,包括提供研究資助、指 導計劃及研究獎學金等,最終目的是 鼓勵青年學者開展更多研究,為社會 大眾的健康帶來更廣泛和正面的影響。 FEATURE 新冠疫情期間,港大醫學院領先全球的疫情 應對方式,見證了學院的專家學者在描述病 毒與提出應對方案上爭分奪秒、先拔頭籌, 並成功取得多項研究突破。 拓展研究領域 再創高峰 ↑學院副院長(科研) 梁偉強教授指出學院將 集中拓展轉化型研究, 並探索如何將科研成果 商品化及獲取專利。 2023年QS 世界大學 「醫學」學科排名 2023年THE世界大學 「臨床與健康」學科排名 第1 全港 第1 全港 第13 全球 第31 全球 18

新冠疫情於2020年初肆虐全球, 令整個世界措手不及,但對於港大醫 學院的新發傳染性疾病專家來説,這 早已成為他們日常工作的一部分。 逾25年來,港大醫學院的專家團 隊就新發傳染性疾病不斷鑽研及提出 各項應對措施。除了近期備受關注的 新冠病毒研究以外,在對抗2003年首 次出現的嚴重急性呼吸系統綜合症病毒 (SARS-CoV)、H5N1及 H7N9 禽流 感病毒、H1N1豬流感病毒,以及中 東呼吸綜合症病毒(MERS-CoV)等領 域研究成果出眾、影響深遠,並廣獲 認同。 最近由臨床醫學學院微生物學系 袁國勇教授及陳福和醫生領導、記錄 首個新冠病毒人傳人病例的研究,榮 獲《刺針》評選為創刊兩百年歷史中 最重要的論文之一【僅34篇文章獲 選,當中包括以外科手術的消毒原 則、青黴素(盤尼西林)及幽門螺旋 桿菌的發現為題的論文】。 此外,本年初國際評審將為紀 念路易・巴斯德誕辰兩百周年而設 的LP200獎項,頒予公共衞生學院 潘烈文教授。 這些卓越的研究成果建基於學院 的優秀傳統,而這傳統則可追溯至港 大醫學院前身、香港華人西醫書院首 任院長白文信爵士,他不僅有「熱帶 醫學之父」的稱譽,亦是資深的內外 全科醫生及微生物學家。今天,袁國 勇教授也展現了這種身兼多項專業的 學者特質,在其職業生涯中,袁教授 和他的團隊已發現了超過80種新病 毒,包括2003年人類SARS冠狀病毒 1型及其祖先病毒⸺蝙蝠SARS冠狀 病毒、人類冠狀病毒HKU1、與過去 10年感染駱駝和人類的冠狀病毒 MERS-CoV密切相關的蝙蝠冠狀病毒 HKU4和HKU5,以及與近期在海地 兒童中傳播的豬冠狀病毒密切相關的 豬冠狀病毒HKU15。 袁教授指出:「港大醫學院的優 秀傳統是我們成功的基石。港大的微 生物學系設於醫學院,而非如其他大 學般設於理學院。因此我們學系中有 一半的學者為臨床科學家,另一半則 為基礎科學家。我們在會診期間收集 病人有關樣本,每當我們在臨床實驗 室發現新的病毒,就可即時與學系的 基礎科學家分享、進行病毒複製、基 因排序及深入分析,加深我們對各類 新病毒的了解。」 袁教授向學系的教職員和學生強 調迅速應變的重要,並積極培養他們 這方面的技能,這些學生包括當年 SARS首次爆發時,仍受教於袁教授 的陳福和醫生。 陳醫生説:「袁教授經常強調時 機決定一切,當新冠病毒剛出現時, 一定也有其他醫院接收過感染不明病 毒的患者,但這些醫院可能沒有研發 診斷測試的能力及基因排序的技術。 相反我們在幾天之內,就能確定病毒 可經人傳人,而袁教授亦第一時間將 此資訊向政府高層匯報。」 由此可見,充足的準備和卓越的 專家團隊是成功的關鍵。袁教授補充: 「1990年代當H5N1禽流感襲港時, 我們就開始作準備。基於早年取得的 成果,團隊因而獲得更多研究經費, 為日後的SARS研究作預備。後來, 社會各界提供的資助陸續而至,讓我 們在新冠疫情爆發時,有更佳的裝備 去應對。」 而對潘烈文教授來説,團隊合作 亦是成功的另一重要因素,特別是和 內地,以及國際機構,如世界衞生組 織等的合作。逾二十年來,潘教授一 直埋首新發傳染性疾病的研究,探索 動物身上冠狀病毒的演變及傳染人類 的途徑。在新冠病毒的研究方面,潘 教授和團隊協助制定病毒檢測的方案, 顯示寵物倉鼠及人類可以交叉感染, 及證明新冠疫苗雖無法預防感染,但 卻能有效減低重症。 全球疫症大流行的監察者 ↑由臨床醫學學院微 生物學系傳染病學講座 教授袁國勇教授(右) 及同系的臨床副教授 陳福和醫生領導的 研究,榮獲《刺針》評選 為創刊兩百年歷史中最 重要的論文之一。 19 HKUMed News Summer 2023

FEATURE 潘教授補充說:「我們一直與世 界各地不同的人合作、發現新的病毒, 加上過去二十年來累積的相關知識, 有助我們對新冠病毒的研究作出貢 獻。公共衞生牽涉全球,沒有人能閉 門造車,大家都需要和合作夥伴以及 持份者溝通。」巴斯德獎項國際評審團 特別嘉許潘教授在這方面的成就和貢 獻,認為潘教授「體現了路易・巴斯 德的『科學無國界』精神」。 同樣來自公共衞生學院的梁詩敏 博士,畢業於港大醫學院,去年獲《自 然醫學》評選為「最值得關注的11位新 晉研究員」之一。她認同團隊合作的重 要,並運用其數學模型與數據分析的 專長,幫助港大醫學院建立新冠病毒 傳播實時現況與未來趨勢分析的系統。 梁博士指出:「我們需要運用大量 數據做分析,包括八達通的每日使用 數據來研究出行指數、政府環保署提 供的污水監測資料來得知該區的病毒 載量、衞生防護中心的病例報告、醫 管局提供收治重症患者的數目、安老 院舍的疫情爆發報告,以及社會福利 署提供的隔離設施患者人數等。」她續 說:「彼此的合作能讓研究結果得以快 速地轉化,成為社會大眾都能應用及 受惠的知識和指引。」 綜上所述,持續的團隊合作、敏 捷的應對,保持開放的態度和好奇心, 都是應對未來疫症大流行的關鍵。社 會亦應該對新冠疫情有深刻的反省和 回顧。潘教授補充:「我們需要考慮如 何改善現有的基建設施、網絡平臺與 指引,國際間亦應尋求彼此互通的防 疫政策。現在是提倡建議的最佳時機, 因為大眾對新冠疫情帶來的後果依然 記憶猶新。幾年後,當有其他更重要 的事需要處理,與疫情相關的議題便 會被遺忘。」 袁教授認為未來有關新病毒的偵 測、診斷、治療,及疫苗研發還有許 多工作要完成,社會亦有需要研發可 重用口罩,減少對環境的污染,因環 境與人類,以及其他生物的健康息息 相關。袁教授指出:「我們亦會加强與 內地及世界各地科學家的合作,以創 新技術去發現新發病毒的病原體。由 於病毒可以迅速改變自身的基因以逃 避我們的免疫防禦,從而在人類或動 物中感染和傳播,它們是狡猾的敵人, 不斷尋找宿主的弱點加以攻擊。」 陳醫生則希望與業界加强合作, 特別是和大灣區的合作夥伴共同努 力,讓最新的醫學發明可惠及病人: 「當重大的發明無法發揮功效,確實是 一大打擊。我們最大的願景是能夠將 實驗室的發明,真正應用到病人身上, 讓他們獲得更佳的治療和護理。」 ↑國際評審團授予公共 衞生學院公共衞生實驗 室科學分部主任潘烈文 教授LP200獎項, 嘉許潘教授在對抗傳染 病方面的成就與貢獻, 「體現了路易・巴斯德的 『科學無國界』精神」。 ←梁詩敏博士獲 《自然醫學》評選為 「最值得關注的11位 新晉研究員」之一。 20