Dean's Speech: State of the Faculty Address 2020

03 December 2020

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“Le hasard ne favorise que les esprits préparés” (“Chance favours but the prepared mind”), so said Louis Pasteur, doyen of the germ theory of disease and eponymous founder of Institut Pasteur, an important Asian outpost of which resides at 6 Sassoon Road.

This well-rehearsed aphorism has demonstrated its applicability in our case at HKUMed since the very beginning of the present pandemic, before it was declared a “public health emergency of international concern” or indeed even before it was officially named “coronavirus disease 2019” or COVID-19.



Our Department of Microbiology and the HKU-Shenzhen Hospital provided the world’s first evidence to establish person-to-person spread in The Lancet; the School of Public Health was the first to alert the world the likely national spread and global pandemic potential of the initial Wuhan case cluster in The Lancet, and working with China CDC presented the first set of epidemiological analyses showing how quickly the disease could spread and how to set quarantine and isolation rules in the New England Journal of Medicine. All these took place during the month of January, within a mere three to four weeks when the world initially learned of a handful of suspicious pneumonia cases in Wuhan on New Year’s Eve.

Altogether, HKUMed has published 2 reports in Science, 4 reports in Nature and 9 reports in Nature series journals, 2 reports in the New England Journal of Medicine, 4 reports in The Lancet and 13 reports in Lancet family journals alone, in addition to literally hundreds more in top-tier specialty journals to inform pandemic control worldwide so far. We were prepared for this extraordinary public health event not seen since the great influenza pandemic of 1918. And we have delivered, in spades.

Aside from the firsts that I mentioned, we have produced tests to diagnose COVID-19 that are used in more than 70 countries and territories; published timely evidence on the effectiveness of face masks that received global coverage in social and mainstream media; developed a hamster model that is critical for testing therapeutics and vaccine candidates; and innovated on treatment and vaccine options, among a wealth of other research on the disease. Many governments, institutions and media outlets from around the world have also sought our expert input, particularly the World Health Organization and the Hong Kong government, thus re-affirming HKUMed’s world-class stature.

In addition to innovating at direct care by the bedside in both our flagship teaching hospital Queen Mary and the community treatment facility at Asia World Expo, HKUMed also recruited more than 200 students who were joined by as many staff and alumni, totalling over 400 individuals, to operate the Universal Community Testing Programme sites in Kennedy Town and Wong Chuk Hang over a period of 11 days in September.

Other KE items concerning COVID-19 include a series of infection control infographics for the general public, a realtime dashboard, a popularly subscribed MOOC; all of which can be found at the one-stop online resource centre –

Looking forward, HKUMed is privileged to have become the only Asia-based founding member of The Trinity Challenge (TTC), coordinated by Trinity College of the University of Cambridge ( TTC’s vision is to safeguard the lives and livelihoods of one billion more people by using data and analytics to better predict and prevent outbreaks, epidemics and pandemics, and to improve the health, economic and social response and recovery to health emergencies and endemic diseases. It provides the brightest minds a platform to partner with leaders from businesses, the social sector and academia to collaborate and contribute insights as global public goods.

All these and more have been captured in HKUMed’s first supplement on COVID-19 available at


Research and Innovation

Our research achievements were of course not limited to COVID-19. On research funding, we continue to excel and have still improved by considerable margins. HKUMed’s total research funding awarded exceeded $2 billion in the past year.

Foremost, we have won the largest number of InnoHK hubs in HKU and for any faculty across the entire tertiary sector across Hong Kong, totalling $1,628 million for the following five centres:

  • Centre for Immunology and Infection (Professor Malik Peiris, Public Health) 
  • Centre for Oncology and Immunology (Professors Tak Wah Mak/SY Leung, Pathology) 
  • Centre for Translational Stem Cell Biology (Professor Pengtao Liu, Biomedical Sciences) 
  • Centre for Virology, Vaccinology and Therapeutics (Professor KY Yuen, Microbiology) 
  • Laboratory of Data Discovery for Health (Professor Gabriel Leung, Public Health)

All five hubs have already executed Master Agreements and set up HKU wholly-owned operation companies. Renovation and outfitting works, as well as procurement of major equipment, have just commenced with the first tranche of funding transfer. Collectively these projects involve 47 HKUMed professoriate and 32 overseas collaborators. They plan to hire an additional 122 junior professoriate and postdocs, 21 senior scientific/technical staff and 68 research support personnel.

In addition to the above one-off exercise, HKUMed secured in excess of $500 million research funding from the Research Grants Council (RGC), Health and Medical Research Fund (HMRF), Innovation and Technology Fund (ITF), and mainland/overseas funding agencies in the past academic year.

More specifically, accounting for one-third of RGC General Research Fund/Early Career Scheme projects awarded to HKU overall, HKUMed gained 12 more projects this year, bringing the total to 78 successful applications. This has widened our lead over our nearest competitor to 28 projects, demonstrating broad-based competitive advantage across a wide range of research fields. We continue to dominate HMRF funding, our largest single source of sustained research grant support, again winning more grant award in dollar terms than all other institutions combined SAR-wide.

Our researchers have filed and been granted 69 and 9 new patents respectively.

Another major achievement in terms of enhancing support to our research community concerns the transformation of the erstwhile Laboratory Animal Unit into the Centre for Comparative Medicine Research (CCMR), effective July 2020. This goes much deeper than a simple name change but a genuine recognition of its leadership in supporting and advancing animal welfare, veterinary care, ethics and cutting-edge scientific innovation. The unit has long been the only AAALAC (Association for Assessment and Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care) International accredited animal facility in Hong Kong and the Greater Bay Area.

The re-designation of CCMR better reflects the support it actually provides to animal users in furthering HKUMed’s cutting-edge research in the emerging field of comparative medicine for the study of health, illness and treatments of human and animal diseases, and particularly at the interface between the zoonotic and epidemiologic.

Coinciding with this organisational transformation, a major expansion project was recently completed in October this year. The $101m project has converted the Dexter Man Building into a new animal experiment and holding facility in order to cope with our ever expanding biomedical animal research needs.

At the other end of the experimental spectrum in health research, HKUMed’s Clinical Trials Centre (CTC) has initiated a series of new training courses to support investigator-initiated clinical studies (IISs). This type of studies is where bench science translates into clinical practice at the bedside. HKUMed has therefore tasked CTC and the Biostatistics and Clinical Research Methodology Unit (BCRMU) to establish an “IIS Facilitation Scheme”, through which a range of support services will be offered to clinical investigators. Training courses are the first of several components in this newly launched Scheme.


Teaching and Learning

COVID-19 has upended teaching and learning although HKUMed’s ongoing curricular modernisation efforts have prepared us better than most in weathering the disruption.

I am pleased to report that there has been a high level of student satisfaction with e-learning videos, online quizzes and generally the stepped-up interactivity of the MBBS preclinical curriculum that has been undergoing “modernisation”. This has now become most useful as we have necessarily relied on virtual delivery since the beginning of the pandemic. All didactic undergraduate teaching sessions, whether delivered face-to-face or virtually, are now professionally edited and made available online. To facilitate teachers’ preparation of digital materials, we have offered training and technical support through the Multimedia Learning Resource Centre.

The flagship MBBS Enrichment Year has been substantially affected by COVID-19. For M23, those who were overseas undertaking intercalated studies, research attachments or humanitarian service had to return in March. Given the University-wide moratorium on all outbound exchange during the current semester, Dr George Tipoe and his team successfully assisted M24 students in identifying local alternatives. Hopefully students will be able to resume overseas and mainland study programmes in the coming semester, COVID-19 willing of course.

For the clinical years, the prolonged ward closure to student teaching imposed by the Hospital Authority has required quick innovation in maintaining uninterrupted teaching delivery. Colleagues in various disciplines have pioneered new and different forms of “from bedside to webside” learning, including clerking patients via Zoom, of course with all the appropriate cybersecurity and patient confidentiality assurances in place. Simulation laboratories, especially in nursing, have become another popular learning mode.

I am proud to relate that despite the COVID-19 challenge of physical distancing, HKUMed undertook all summative examinations – written and clinical – successfully this past summer, and without a single instance of cross-infection. It was a herculean effort masterminded by Dr Victor Lee (Assistant Dean for Assessment) and ably supported by Dr Samson Wong and Ms Julie Lau. We carried out more than 1,000 PCR tests and put in place a series of infection control measures to ensure the health and safety of all candidates, patients, proctors and examiners. We did not compromise on standards while keeping everyone safe.

This past year of social unrest and pandemic-related “lockdowns” have dealt a severe blow to student wellbeing and tested everyone’s resilience to the absolute limit. The Teaching and Learning Deanery has done a great deal of soul searching and brainstorming, particularly around the evolving nature of student wellness as perceived and felt. To further enhance our student wellness effort, we have strengthened the supporting team by appointing Dr Kendrick Shih (Ophthalmology) as HKUMed’s first Director of Student Affairs, Ms Rainbow Wong as administrative lead with an expanded and refreshed team of clinical psychologists and social workers, in partnership with the student body at large.

HKUMed did rather well on admissions, again. All 3 of the local DSE top scorers with 7 subjects of 5** grades who chose a medical programme are now members of the Class of 2026. They have been joined by 7 IB perfect scorers and 5 GCE A-level 5A* achievers. Of note, we have over-admitted by about 10% this year due to the cancellation of IB and GCEAL examinations globally. The consequent controversies over “inferred” or “synthetic” vs. “predicted” grades for both have compelled the authorities to regrade many candidates’ submissions, leading to upward revision in many cases. Thus, in order to honour our non-JUPAS conditional offers that had been made earlier, we ended up with a slight unanticipated surplus.

Our BPharm, BBiomedSc and BASc (Global Health and Development) programmes continue to be the most desired and selective in their respective fields amongst local programmes.

We welcomed all incoming freshmen in HKUMed’s first ever online orientation and white coat ceremony, to which very good feedback has been received from the student community. Congregation was also moved online, with all of the University’s 10 faculties celebrating in a joint ceremony that formally conferred degrees on all HKU graduands, including 1,200 from HKUMed. Of course, such an arrangement cannot replicate the elated feeling of walking across the stage with justified pride to receive one’s diploma, so we plan to organise an appropriate event to celebrate your graduation when the situation allows.


Clinical Service

Preparatory works for Phase 1 of the Grantham Hospital redevelopment including our Research Block are well underway with demolition and foundation works scheduled to commence during this final quarter of 2020, the super structure construction in 2022, and we are heading for on-time completion in 2025. Once completed it will provide world-class infrastructure for our Centre for PanorOmic Sciences to enhance the translational aspects of precision medicine, taking a multi-omics approach to understanding and treating cancer at the HKU-Jockey Club Centre for Clinical Innovation and Discovery at the redeveloped Grantham Hospital as Hong Kong’s first dedicated academic cancer centre.

Incubating under the auspices of HKU Health System, the Emergency Medicine Unit that staffs the Gleneagles Hong Kong Accident and Emergency Department as well as provides academic input to our other teaching hospital partners, has gone from strength to strength. With Professor Timothy Rainer having recently taken up duty as its first Professor and Head, the Unit will work hard over the next several years to attain departmental status that will hopefully be commensurate with its achievements in teaching and research in due time.

Government introduced the Private Healthcare Facilities Ordinance (Cap. 633) in July 2019 to further protect patient safety and rights through the introduction of this new regulatory regime. Hospital licences issued under this new Ordinance will take effect on January 1, 2021, and we have been working with our affiliated private hospital partners to ensure the goals and requirements are met. In parallel, HKU Health System has been continuing to enhance clinical governance within our own service units, establishing uniform guidance and accountability requirements, embedding the quality and safety principles of this new Ordinance in our everyday practice and providing effective oversight.

Over in Shenzhen where colleagues have been extraordinarily resilient and dedicated due to major inconveniences arising from COVID-19 border measures, the HKU-Shenzhen Hospital has been garnering many accolades, including the Shenzhen Mayor's Quality Award (Gold Award in Social Category) and being named Shenzhen's Top 10 Medical and Health Institutions in Reform and Innovation. For our part in controlling the pandemic, we have undertaken most of the PCT testing responsibilities for cross-border travellers such as the truck-drivers who have kept Hong Kong well stocked and supplied. For Hong Kong residents with chronic conditions who reside in Shenzhen who cannot conveniently return for their Hospital Authority appointments, we will begin looking after them by commission of the Hong Kong government. Having been designated as a National Training Base for Resident-Trainees, we are building collaborations with Shenzhen University to provide formal postgraduate training curricula in multiple specialties, as part of two “national goal” projects:- (1) structured specialist training for medical doctors in the Mainland and (2) attaining international (ISQua) accreditation for the National Class 3A Hospital Accreditation System.

The Li Ka Shing Foundation “Love Can Help” Medical Assistance Pilot Programme was launched in January last year. It is designed to help those who have exhausted other existing assistance schemes such as the Samaritan Fund, Community Care Fund, or otherwise fall outside the scope of the Hospital Authority formulary. The Programme has so far supported 207 patients at HK$17.7 million.


Human Capital

Following the “Human Capital Masterplan” prepared by Executive Associate Dean Professor Vivian Lin last year, we have recently soft launched the “140 for 140” global recruitment drive. In part to refresh our talent pool arising from normal attrition that has been exacerbated by local and international tensions, and in part to aggressively expand as a result of increased intake of UGC manpower-planned clinical programmes as well as preparing for deeper engagement in the Greater Bay Area, the “140 for 140” campaign aims to recruit 140 new faculty members in addition to more than 100 replacement professoriate staff by HKUMed’s 140th anniversary in 2027.

This is being built on an excellent track record of recruiting the best minds in their respective fields. Since last October to date, 53 new professoriate colleagues have been recruited to HKUMed (41 academic track, 12 practice track; amongst whom 8 at the full professor rank).

At the most senior levels, we are also looking to revitalise our disciplinary leadership cast. Specifically we will have reporting to duty new Heads in Emergency Medicine and Ophthalmology in the coming academic year; whereas headship searches for Chinese Medicine, Diagnostic Radiology, Family Medicine and Obstetrics and Gynaecology are making good progress. In the coming academic year, we will be conducting search exercises for six more headships or directorships. This forms a critical part of HKUMed’s renewal and succession planning.

On in-house nurturing of talent, our Early Academic Career Development Mentorship Scheme has just been launched with an encouraging response where some 20 senior professoriate faculty members have enrolled to become mentors. In the coming year, we plan to put together a comprehensive orientation programme for new recruits as well as inaugurate an internal research fellowship scheme that mirrors the corresponding Croucher and RGC programmes. For junior would-be clinician-scientists, HKUMed recently launched a new Clinical Research Fellowship Scheme in January 2020 that aims at engaging young Hospital Authority doctors (with fewer than five years’ experience after completion of specialist training) to undergo research immersion, with a view to broadening outreach to our public sector junior colleagues and bringing science closer and quicker to everyday patient care. Competition was fierce amongst six clinical departments who nominated candidates. The first awardee from the Department of Pathology, selected in May 2020, will commit at least half his time working on identifying novel genomic markers to improve breast cancer prognosis over the coming academic year.

This summer we bade farewell to our long-serving Faculty Secretary, Ms Jeannie Tsang, who has taken on new responsibilities as Registrar for the University. From 1996 until 2008, she had shepherded the research, teaching and learning, and faculty development portfolios. She became Faculty Secretary when Professor Sum Lee took on the deanship. Since 2013 I had benefitted enormously from her encyclopaedic knowledge of the Faculty, her common sense and wisdom, as well as equanimity and fair-mindedness. At the Registry, she follows in the footsteps of her immediate predecessor, Mr Henry Wai, now retired, who had also once been HKUMed’s Faculty Secretary. Her successor is Ms Wing Ho, who takes the helm in the Faculty Office having previously served as School Secretary in Public Health. Jeannie is the second senior administrator who has recently gone on to bigger and better things from our ranks. Ms Maggie Cheuk, whom I have worked closely with since she joined HKUMed as an Executive Officer some two decades back, became Faculty Secretary at Social Sciences last year, returning to her home faculty of her undergraduate and postgraduate student days. HKUMed is indeed the “Shaolin Temple” of HKU.


Infrastructure and Capital Projects

Ongoing construction of the new three-storey Annex on Tang Court, extensions of the first, fifth and sixth floors of the William MW Mong Block, a new lift tower and staircase at Fan Pui Garden and a new façade for the Laboratory Block facing the new Annex will be completed by the end of the first quarter of 2021. Thereafter, remodeling works for the vacated space on the 3rd to 6th floors of the William MW Mong Block will proceed that will have been repurposed for undergraduate and postgraduate teaching and learning.

The superstructure accommodating the Schools of Nursing and Chinese Medicine at 3 Sassoon Road is being constructed and slated for completion by the third quarter of 2022.

During this year’s Legislative Council session, funding support for short-term measures to cope with increased and increasing student numbers, including omni-telepresence and VR/AR1 works and additional anatomy laboratories, was approved. Medium-term measures for a new academic complex and student residences are making steady progress, anticipating completion during the 2026-7 academic year.

Lastly, the anachronistic UGC “Kaiser Formula” which discounts space eligibility for clinical professoriate, comprising more than half of HKUMed’s human resources strength, by 90% awaits review and resolution. This Gordian knot requires the wisdom and courage of a modern day Alexander the Great to untie.


Knowledge Exchange and Faculty Advancement (KEFA)

In September this year, the Li Ka Shing Foundation made a donation of HK$100 million in support of the establishment of the Li Ka Shing Cryogenic Electron Microscope (Cryo-EM) Facility and the Li Ka Shing Career Seeding Fund. The former will allow the most sophisticated structural biology work to be carried out at HKUMed whereas the latter is a $50,000 gift from Mr Li to each of our MBBS graduates in M20 through M23. Indeed he penned a personal note accompanying the gift to encourage our graduates, as follows:

“Kindness is the art of medicine,
an antidote to every patient
fighting the battle to recovery.
I hope you will practise it often.”

In addition, during the past year, we have raised HK$256.6 million from 1,173 donors, accounting for 21.4% of the total amount raised by the entire University. We have also received cumulative matched government funding of HK$130 million in the 8th Matching Grant Scheme, and HK$55 million in the Research Matching Grant Scheme so far.

The newly renovated entrance lobby at the William MW Mong Block was dedicated and named the Cheung Chin Lan Hong Atrium. The Atrium leads into the Cheung Kung Hai Conference Centre housing our four main lecture theatres. The generous family of Mr and Mrs Cheung have honoured their parents by these eponymous landmarks at the heart of HKUMed for which we remain indebted and grateful.

Two new professorships, namely the Bingei and L & T Charitable Foundation Professorship in Dementia Research and the Jiaohua Su Professorship in Paediatric Oncology and Transplant, were endowed. HKU honorary graduate Professor Lord Ara Darzi of Imperial College has been appointed the inaugural Leong Che-Hung Distinguished Visiting Professor of Leadership from 2020 to 2023.

Our scholarships also received some major new injections. S.K. Yee Medical Foundation donated HK$30 million to establish the S.K. Yee Medical Foundation Professor Sir David Todd Enrichment Scholarships, in memory of Sir David’s legacy. Aspiration Foundation pledged HK$10 million in support of the establishment of the Aspiration Foundation Scholarships and Grant Scheme. Sun Chieh Yeh Heart Foundation, through Professor CP Lau and other trustees, gave HK$7 million in support of the Sun Chieh Yeh Heart Foundation Student Enrichment Scholarship and Best Paper Award & Travelling Prize.

In terms of local, national and global outreach, we have successfully consolidated gains from our institutional identity renewal exercise from last year. Specifically we are now proactively engaged on social media platforms including Facebook/Twitter/Instagram/LinkedIn to further promulgate and disseminate our ethos and achievements to the global and local scientific and medical communities. We have also recently broadened this effort to extend our mainland engagement via the WeChat/Weibo platforms.

Finally but certainly not least, I should like to take this opportunity to thank President Barbara Lam and her Executive Committee for their selfless dedication to the work of the Medical Alumni Association (HKUMAA) during the past four years. They have been a source of unwavering loyalty and support, for which the alma mater very much remains in their debt. We also welcome the incoming President Dr Matthew Tsui, who is also Deputy Hospital Chief Executive of Queen Mary Hospital.


Lessons of COVID-19 and the Limitations of Science and Medicine 

For all of HKUMed’s scientific successes of which I immodestly boasted at the beginning of my report, there are of course lacunae and important lessons to reflect on.

Foremost, COVID-19 has exposed one of the gravest chasms of health-related inequity. Socioeconomic gradients of risk exposure, infection and death have been unjustly steep. The attack rate in Singapore’s migrant worker dormitories is 400 times that of the local general community. “Black Lives Matter” in the US has been exacerbated by unevenly distributed COVID-19 burdens imposed on poor African-American communities and in prisons that remain disproportionately populated by people of colour. Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic or BAME groups are unfairly overrepresented amongst British COVID-19 sufferers. Worse still, the magnitude of adverse risk for India’s migrant workers, overlaid on the age-old caste system, has remained unmeasured; they suffer the indignity of literally not being counted. What of Hong Kong?

In The COVID-19 Catastrophe, Richard Horton, who edits The Lancet, reminded us of the late German sociologist Ulrich Beck’s damning criticism of the scientific establishment’s “over-specialised division of labour, (their) concentration on methodology and theory, (their) externally determined abstinence from practice” having rendered us “entirely incapable of reacting adequately to civilisational risks”. “Techno-scientific rationality” can only take us so far.

Beyond the narrow confines of medicine and health, COVID-19 will almost certainly usher in a new way of relating to each other and living together. Slavoj Žižek, the supercharged Slovenian philosopher, speculated about a new form of “communism” emerging, mostly in the communitarian sense of the term, in his new work Pandemic: COVID-19 Shakes the World. Remarkably this form of state-led collectivism has taken hold in the heartlands of neoliberal democracies, the US and Europe, and has by and large been popularly accepted, even demanded. Governments the world over have invoked the ongoing disaster to commandeer hotels for quarantine, nationalise stockpiles of personal protective equipment and guarantee minimum survival of the unemployed by minting new currency – in essence by abandoning market mechanisms. Between sovereign governments, there have been pleas for cooperation to produce and share anti-pandemic resources, from face masks and ventilators to drugs and vaccines. These phenomena represent what Žižek has called “communism”. He believes that only this new form of governance will save the world from the barbarism of unmitigated capitalism as we have known it.

The French philosopher Michel Foucault would likely have shuddered at imagining where Žižek’s proposed “communist” shield against global barbarism brought on by COVID-19 might lead. From as early as the 1970s, Foucault had worried about the growing drift towards a “disciplinary society”. In particular, his nightmare had centred around Jeremy Bentham’s “panopticon” as an expression of how utilitarianism could be tightly weaved into everyday life. In fact, Bentham saw his panopticon as being applicable to, amongst other settings, lazarettos which are places of quarantine for those afflicted with the plague. Apropos COVID-19, Bentham’s utilitarian ideal meets Foucault’s worst fear in what have become common surveillance practices for pandemic control: QR health codes informed by social media footprints, “immunity passports” by routine pervasive testing, location-enabled bracelets to enforce quarantine, contact tracing apps, and so on.

Bernard-Henri Lévy entitled the opening chapter of his new book, The Virus in the Age of Madness, “Come Back Michel Foucault – We Need You!”. He deplored the “sealing of an incestuous union of the political and medical powers” that had been made plain by this pandemic, questioning the deification of medical technocrats and exhorting the public to think clearly about the appropriate loci of authority and power in a free society. With that, we medics have been put in our place!

Au contraire, many of us believe that a pandemic is precisely when doctors should rise to the challenge of providing science-based, sapiential leadership for sound policy making. To this end, I remember well Rudolf Virchow’s proclamation: “Medicine is a social science and politics is nothing else but medicine on a large scale” or Sun Yat-sen’s “Medical affairs and hygiene are truly the roots of the affairs of men”. As far back as almost three millennia ago 《國語·晉語》 〈醫和視平公疾〉already recorded that 「上醫醫國,其次疾人,固醫官也。」

Before the awesome altar of medical science, and more broadly of service for humanity, we must remain ever humble. COVID-19 has once again reminded us that there are more and larger questions, some of which I have tried to survey, that penetrate deep beyond the technical – always.

Class of 2020, I hope you now realise how much more there is yet to keep learning. Stay curious and keep hungry for knowledge. I label myself a student to this day. Above all, hold fast to your professional moral compass, not despite but because of tough conditions ahead.

Godspeed, good luck and all very best wishes! 


2019-20 Honour Roll

Professional Recognition & Honours/Awards (Teams)

  • Professor Feng Yibin (School of Chinese Medicine) and his team were awarded Science and Technology Award (Second prize) by the China Society for the Promotion of Science and Technology Commercialization for the project “Technology to Discover New Targets and New Substances for Obesity/Diabetes Treatment from Traditional Miao Medicine” in September 2020. 
  • Professor Guan Xin-yuan (Clinical Oncology) and his team were chosen for the 2019 State Scientific and Technological Progress Award of China (Second-class) for the project “Discovery and clinical application of biomarkers for gastrointestinal carcinoma”.
  • Dr Hu Yong (Orthopaedics and Traumatology) and his team were chosen for the 2019 State Scientific and Technological Progress Award (Second-class) for the project “Establishment and Application of Diagnosis and Treatment System for Spinal Cord Injury based on Epidemiology and Microenvironment Theory” in January 2020.
  • Drs Richard Kao Yi-tsun, Jasper Chan Fuk-woo and Yeung Man-lung (Microbiology) and their team were chosen for the 2019 State Scientific and Technological Progress Award (Second-class) for the project “Establishment and application of animal models for major human infectious diseases” in January 2020.
  • Professor Wallace Lau Chak-sing (Medicine) and his team comprising Professor Gilberto Leung Ka-kit (Surgery), Dr Julie Chen Yun (Family Medicine and Primary Care), Dr George Tipoe Lim (School of Biomedical Sciences) and Dr Gordon Wong Tin-chun (Anaesthesiology) were given the HKU 2019 Teaching Innovation Award for “Re-imagining Medical Education: An Enrichment Year in the Core MBBS Curriculum” by HKU in December 2019.
  • The University of Hong Kong–Shenzhen Hospital received the following recognitions:
    • Elected as “2019 Guangdong’s Medical Institution with Outstanding Performance in Adverse Drug Reaction Monitoring” by Guangdong Food and Drug Administration.
    • Recognised as “2019 Top Ten Measures in Promoting Medical Reforms and Serving People’s Health” by the National Typical Experience Promotion Platform for Deepening Medical Reforms, China Health Magazine, and Health News Company Limited.
    • Honoured with Outstanding Nursing Award by Hospital Management Asia in September 2019.
    • Elected as “Satisfactory Medical Institution to the Public for its Action Plan for Further Improvement of Medical Services” by Health News Company Limited in December 2019.
    • Elected as “Shenzhen’s Advanced Organization in Health Science and Education” by Shenzhen Municipal Health Commission in December 2019.
    • Honoured with Shenzhen Mayor’s Quality Award (Gold Award in Social Category) by the Shenzhen Municipal People’s Government in July 2020.
    • Honoured with “Shenzhen’s Top Ten Medical and Health Institutions in Reform and Innovation Award” by Shenzhen Municipal Health Commission in July 2020.
    • Awarded Second Prize of the 2nd Hospital Management Innovation Award by Guangdong Provincial Hospital Association in August 2020.

Professional Recognition & Honours/Awards (Individuals)

  • The following Faculty members were appointed as members of the Health Sciences Panel, Research Assessment Exercise (RAE) 2020 by the University Grants Committee, HKSAR Government (2019-2020):
    • Professor Cindy Lam Lo-kuen (Family Medicine and Primary Care)
    • Professor Karen Lam Siu-ling (Medicine)
    • Professor Lo Chung-mau (Surgery)
    • Professor Malik Peiris (School of Public Health)
    • Professor Sydney Tang Chi-wai (Medicine)
  • The following Faculty members received HKU excellence awards:
    • Dr Brian Chung Hon-yin (Paediatrics and Adolescent Medicine) – Outstanding Teaching Award 2019
    • Professor Ivan Hung Fan-ngai (Medicine) – Outstanding Researcher Award in February 2020
    • Professor Leung Suet-yi (Pathology) and her team – Research Output Prize 2019
  • The following Faculty members received Faculty Teaching Medal 2019:
    • Dr Elaine Lee Yuen-phin (Diagnostic Radiology)
    • Dr Victor Lee Ho-fun (Clinical Oncology)
    • Dr Desmond Yap Yat-hin (Medicine)
    • Dr Woo Yu-cho (Medicine)
  • The following colleagues received Faculty Outstanding Research Output Award (2020):
    • Dr Lydia Wai-ting Cheung (School of Biomedical Sciences)
    • Dr Michael Ka-shing Cheung (Department of Medicine)
    • Professor Benjamin John Cowling (School of Public Health)
    • Professor Leung Wai-keung (Department of Medicine)
    • Professor Elly Ngan Sau-wai (Department of Surgery)
    • Professor Julian Alexander Tanner (School of Biomedical Sciences)
    • Dr Wang Weiping (Department of Pharmacology and Pharmacy)
    • Dr Jack Wong Chun-ming (Department of Pathology)
    • Dr Alan Wong Siu-lun (School of Biomedical Sciences)
    • Professor Aimin Xu (Department of Medicine)
    • Professor Richard Yuen Man-fung (Department of Medicine)
  • Dr Jasper Chan Fuk-woo (Microbiology) and Dr Michael Ni Yuxuan (School of Public Health) were chosen for the Lo Ying Shek Chi Wai Foundation Award for Young Investigator in April 2020
  • Professor Chan Ying-shing (School of Biomedical Sciences) was elected as President of Asian-Pacific Society for Neurochemistry (2020-2022); Vice-President of 39th World Congress of International Union of Physiological Sciences (IUPS) and Co-Chair of International Scientific Program Committee (2019-2022); as well as re-appointed Editor-in-Chief, IBRO Reports, published by Elsevier (2020-2023).
  • Professor Kathryn Cheah Song-eng (School of Biomedical Sciences) was appointed Senior Editor by eLife in 2019.
  • Professor Cheung Chi-wai (Anaesthesiology) was elected to Fellowship of the Faculty of Pain Medicine, Australia and New Zealand College of Anaesthetists in August 2019; and conferred Fellowship (overseas) by the Academy of Medicine of Singapore in January 2020.
  • Dr Chung Ho-yu (Surgery) was awarded Carlos A Pellegrini Fellowship by the American College of Surgeons in October 2019.
  • Dr Foo Chi-chung (Surgery) was awarded Third Prize in Asian Pacific Surgical Video Contest in December 2019 at Asia Pacific Digestive Week held in India.
  • Professor Feng Yibin (School of Chinese Medicine) was awarded Outstanding Contribution Award for his project “Development of new drugs and new treatment strategies for tumors and metabolic diseases from Chinese medicine” by China Society for the Promotion of Science and Technology Commercialization in 2020.
  • Professor Jin Dong-yan (School of Biomedical Sciences) was elected as Fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology in February 2020.
  • Professor Khong Pek-lan (Diagnostic Radiology) was conferred Honorary Membership of the European Society of Radiology in July 2020.
  • Professor Lai Ching-lung (Medicine) was awarded the 17th World Outstanding Chinese Award in 2020.
  • Professor Cindy Lam Lo-kuen (Family Medicine and Primary Care) was appointed Chief Censor of the Hong Kong College of Family Physicians (2019-2020); and Mentor of the WONCA Advocacy Programme in Primary Mental Health Care for Young Family Doctors by WONCA Working Party for Mental Health in collaboration with Eugene S. Farley, Jr. Health Policy Centre, University of Colorado, USA (March-October 2020).
  • Professor Wallace Lau Chak-sing (Medicine) was inducted into Honorary Fellowship by the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland in June 2019.
  • Professor Lau Yu-lung (Paediatrics and Adolescent Medicine) was appointed as Justice of Peace by HKSAR Government in October 2020; a member of the Technical Advisory Group for Immunisation and Vaccine Preventable Diseases by the World Health Organization (2019-2021); and Chair of the Scientific Committee on Vaccine Preventable Diseases (SCVPD) by HKSAR Government (2019-2022).
  • Professor Anne Lee Wing-mui (Clinical Oncology) received the following recognitions:
    • Awarded Excellent Medical Personnel of Shenzhen Municipality in 2020.
    • Awarded Second Technology Award by China Anti-Cancer Association in 2020.
    • Awarded Star of the Year by China Humanistic Hospital Brand Summit of Chinese Association For Life Care in 2020.
    • Awarded Medical Personnel and Outstanding Contributor of 2019 Medical Service Improvement by Health News, Bureau of Medical Administration, National Health Commission.
    • Awarded Third Prize of Hospital Management Innovation Award for the project “Research and Clinical Practice of a New Model of Cancer Clinical Pathway” by Guangdong Provincial Hospital Association in 2020.
  • Professor Gabriel Leung (School of Public Health and Dean of Medicine) was conferred Honorary Fellowships by the Hong Kong College of Family Physicians in June 2019 and by the UK Faculty of Public Health in September 2020, as well as elected a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians, London in May 2020.
  • Professor Keiji Fukuda (School of Public Health), Professor Gabriel Leung (School of Public Health and Dean of Medicine) and Professor Yuen Kwok-yung (Microbiology) were appointed into the four-member Expert Advisory Panel under the Steering Committee cum Command Centre in relation to the Novel Coronavirus Infection by HKSAR Government in January 2020.
  • Dr Lim Lee-wei (School of Biomedical Sciences) was appointed as Executive Committee Member for Anti-aging and Disease Prevention, UNESCO, in December 2019.
  • Professor Lin Chia-chin (School of Nursing) was inducted into the International Nurse Researcher Hall of Fame by Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing (Sigma) in July 2020.
  • Professor Lo Chung-mau (Surgery) received the following recognitions:
    • Awarded “Tianqing Cup 2019 – Guangdong’s Excellent Hospital Director” by Guangdong Provincial Hospital Association in August 2020.
    • Elected as “Good Doctor of Shenzhen” by Shenzhen Municipal Health Commission in August 2020.
    • Granted the title of “National Renowned Doctor with Distinguished Contributions” by Health Times of People’s Daily in September 2020.
  • Dr Stephanie Ma Kwai-yee (School of Biomedical Sciences) was appointed as Board Member of the Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation (2020 – 2022).
  • Dr Michael Ni Yuxuan (School of Public Health) was given the Michele Tansella Award by the World Psychiatric Association in May 2020.
  • Dr Walter Seto Wai-kay (Medicine) was chosen for the Sir David Todd Lectureship by the Hong Kong College of Physicians in October 2019.
  • Dr Kendrick Co Shih (Ophthalmology) was appointed as the Secretary-General of the Asia Pacific Ophthalmic Trauma Society in January 2020.
  • Professor Paul Tam Kwong-hang (Surgery) was awarded Rebhein Medal from European Paediatric Surgeon’s Association in June 2020.
  • Dr Eric Wan Yuk-fai (Family Medicine and Primary Care) won the Best Research Paper Award at Hong Kong Academy of Medicine Conference & Hong Kong Primary Care Conference 2019.
  • Dr Tiffany Wong Cho-lam (Surgery) was awarded Carlos A Pellegrini Fellowship by American College of Surgeons in June 2020.
  • Dr Janet Wong Yuen-ha (School of Nursing) was elected as Sigma Global Regional Coordinator for Asia 2019-2021.
  • Emerita Professor Rosie Young Tse-tse (Medicine) was conferred Honorary University Fellowship by HKU in September 2019.
  • Professor Doris Yu Sau-fung (School of Nursing) was elected as Fellow of the American Academy of Nursing in October 2020.
  • Professor Yuen Kwok-yung (Microbiology) was appointed Fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology and Fellow of the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences in 2019. He was also conferred Degree of Doctor honoris causa, Macau University of Science and Technology 2019.
  • Dr Zhu Huachen (School of Public Health) was awarded the Chinese Young Women in Science Award by All-China Women’s Federation, China Association for Science and Technology, UNESCO (China) and L’Oreal (China) in December 2019.

Major Research Support

  • Four Health@InnoHK projects, namely Centre for Immunology and Infection (HK$407m); Centre for Virology, Vaccinology and Therapeutics (HK$405m); Centre for Oncology and Immunology (HK$501.1m); Centre for Translational Stem Cell Biology (HK$284.6m); and one AIR@InnoHK project entitled Laboratory for Data Discovery for Health (HK$380m) have been awarded by Innovation and Technology Commission, HKSAR Government in 2020.
  • 19 principal investigators have been awarded a total of HK$97.288m for 21 commissioned research projects on Novel Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) under the Health and Medical Research Fund (HMRF) by Food and Health Bureau, HKSAR Government, in 2020:
    • Dr Jasper Chan Fuk-woo (Microbiology)
    • Professor Benjamin Cowling (School of Public Health)
    • Professor Huang Jiandong (School of Biomedical Sciences)
    • Dr Kenrie Hui Pui-yan (School of Public Health)
    • Professor Ivan Hung Fan-ngai (Medicine)
    • Professor Jin Dong-yan (School of Biomedical Sciences)
    • Dr Kok Kin-hang (Microbiology)
    • Dr Tommy Lam Tsan-yuk (School of Public Health)
    • Professor Li Yuguo (School of Public Health)
    • Dr Luk Kam-hei (Microbiology)
    • Dr Judith Mak Choi-wo (Medicine)
    • Professor Joseph Sriyal Malik Peiris (School of Public Health)
    • Professor Leo Poon Lit-man (School of Public Health)
    • Dr Walter Seto Wai-kay (Medicine)
    • Dr Kelvin To Kai-wang (Microbiology)
    • Dr Sophie Valkenburg (Doak) (School of Public Health)
    • Dr Carlos Wong King-ho (Family Medicine and Primary Care)
    • Dr Thomas Yau Chung-cheung (Medicine)
    • Professor Yuen Kwok-yung (Microbiology)
  • 5 researchers have been granted a total of $18.78m for 5 commissioned projects on Paediatric Research at Hong Kong Children’s Hospital under the Health and Medical Research Fund (HMRF) by Food and Health Bureau, HKSAR Government, in 2020:
    • Professor Cheung Yiu-fai (Paediatrics and Adolescent Medicine)
    • Dr Brian Chung Hon-yin (Paediatrics and Adolescent Medicine)
    • Dr Pamela Lee Pui-wah (Paediatrics and Adolescent Medicine)
    • Dr Anthony Liu Pak-yin (Paediatrics and Adolescent Medicine)
    • Professor Paul Tam Kwong-hang (Surgery)
  • Professor Eric Chen Yu-hai (Psychiatry) and his team was awarded HK$119.15m from The Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust for the project “LevelMind@JC” in November 2019.
  • Professor Guan Xin-yuan, Professor Anne Lee Wing-mui (Clinical Oncology) were awarded RMB 63.3m by the Science and Technology Agency of Guangdong province to establish a team for “Integrated Study of Medical Nuclide Application on Cancer Diagnosis and Treatment”.
  • Professor Anskar Leung Yu-hung (Medicine) was awarded HK$46.667m under Theme-based Research Scheme 2020/21 of the Research Grants Council for the project “Towards Personalized and Innovative Treatment for Acute Myeloid Leukaemia”.
  • Professors Liu Kui and William Yeung Shu-biu (Obstetrics and Gynaecology) were awarded RMB 30m under Shenzhen Overseas High-level Talents Innovation and Entrepreneurship Special Fund (Peacock Plan) by the Shenzhen Municipal Government in 2020.


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