3 April 2014

Two CUHK Scholars Named Croucher Senior Research Fellows 2014-15



Two top research academics from The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) were presented the prestigious Senior Research Fellowships of The Croucher Foundation today (3 April), in recognition of their outstanding achievements in the international scientific community.  Prof. HUANG Yu, Professor of the School of Biomedical Sciences and Director of the Institute of Vascular Medicine, received the Croucher Senior Research Fellowship, while Prof. James Y.W. LAU, Professor of Surgery and Director to Endoscopy Centre at Prince of Wales Hospital, was awarded the Senior Medical Research Fellowship.  The awards were presented by Mrs. Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor, Chief Secretary for Administration of the HKSAR Government. 

The Croucher Senior Research Fellowships scheme was first introduced in 1997.  The value of each Senior Research Fellowship is about HK$900,000, which includes a personal grant of HK$60,000 to the recipient for research expenses.  It is awarded to local academics who have excelled in scientific research work as judged by leading international scientists invited to provide confidential reviews of candidates nominated in a competitive exercise.  Funds are awarded to the universities of the fellowship recipients, enabling the university to recruit replacement teachers to take over the award winner's duties for the period of the fellowship.  This enables the awardees to devote more time and effort to research work. 

A total of 23 scholars from CUHK have been awarded the Croucher Senior Research Fellowships since its inception. They are: Prof. Henry WONG Nai-ching, Prof. WU Chi, Prof. XIE Zuowei, Prof. CHOW Hak-fun and Prof. Tony SHING Kung-ming of Chemistry, Prof. Raymond YEUNG Wai-ho of Information Engineering, Prof. ZHOU Xunyu of Systems Engineering and Engineering Management, Prof. WEI Juncheng of Mathematics, Prof. XIA Keqing and Prof. Emily CHING Shuk-chi of Physics, Prof. HUANG Jie of Mechanical and Automation Engineering, Prof. CHAN Hsiao-chang and Prof. HUANG Yu of Biomedical Sciences, Prof. Michael LYU Rung-tsong and Prof. John LUI Chi-shing of Computer Science and Engineering, and Prof. JIANG Liwen of Life Sciences. Among them, six scholars have been awarded the Croucher Senior Medical Research Fellowship. They are: Prof. Joseph SUNG Jao-yiu, Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Jean WOO, Prof. Francis CHAN Ka-leung, Prof. Henry CHAN Lik-yuen and Prof. Lawrence WONG Ka-sing of Medicine and Therapeutics, Prof. Dennis LO Yuk-ming of Chemical Pathology, and Prof. James LAU Yun-wong of Surgery.

Prof. HUANG Yu received his B.Sc. degree from Fudan University Shanghai Medical School, and M.Phil and PhD degrees from University of Cambridge.  After spending several years on research in the United States, first as the American Heart Association postdoctoral research fellow in the University of Vermont and later as postdoctoral physiologist at University of California at Los Angeles, he joined the Department of Physiology, CUHK in late 1993 and is currently Professor in the School of Biomedical Sciences.  He is the founding Director (Basic Sciences) of the Institute of Vascular Medicine at CUHK. 

Professor Huang has been recognized as one of the leading scientists in vascular biology research who contributed significantly to the growth of cardiovascular research particularly in the Asian region.  He is currently the President of Asian Society for Vascular Biology.  He has fostered a close academic association with mainland China and he is the executive council member or council member for the Chinese Section, International Society of Heart Research, Chinese Association of Pathophysiology, Chinese Society of Cardiovascular Pathophysiology, Chinese Society of Cardiovascular Pharmacology, and Specialty Committee of TCM Pharmacology of World Federation of Chinese Medicine Societies.  He is also the guest professor of seven mainland universities including Fudan University Shanghai Medical College, Shanghai Jiaotong University Medical College and Peking University School of Basic Medical Sciences, as well as the visiting professor under the Academic Icon Program, University of Malaya. 

In recent years, Professor Huang and his team have been actively exploring new and more innovative clinically-relevant research or translational research in vascular biology.  The mission of his research programs is to elucidate cellular and molecular events involved in the initiation and progression of endothelial cell dysfunction in hypertension, obesity, diabetes, estrogen deficiency and ageing, to uncover novel relevant biomarkers for vascular pathogenesis, and to develop venues to reverse vascular dysfunction in animal models of cardio-metabolic disorder.  Professor Huang's team has established the pathological importance for interaction of cyclooxygenase-2 and bone morphogenic protein-4 in endothelial dysfunction in ageing, hypertension and diabetes.  To advance the concept on the 'adipose-vascular axis', his group has demonstrated that PPARγ-activated adipose tissue-derived adiponectin plays an obligatory role in the improvement of endothelial function in obesity and diabetes, thus, the adipose tissue represents a promising target for ameliorating diabetic vasculopathy. 

Professor Huang and his team are currently attempting to reveal novel molecular mechanisms and signaling crosstalk that collectively mediate physical exercise-induced vascular benefits in obese and diabetic animals, aiming at exploring new therapeutic strategies for vascular diseases.  His research platform affiliated with Institute of Vascular Medicine and Li Ka Shing Institute of Health Sciences at CUHK has provided ample opportunities for closer collaboration with endocrinologists, clinical pharmacologists, and basic scientists in Hong Kong and around the world.  His research programs are mainly funded by grants from the Hong Kong Research Grants Council, Hong Kong Food and Health Bureau, and CUHK Focused Investment Scheme. 

As a dedicated educator and supervisor, Professor Huang has mentored and trained a number of highly competitive and devoted postgraduate students and postdoctoral researchers who have contributed substantially to the steady growth of vascular research programs at CUHK. 

Professor Huang has co-authored 316 peer-reviewed publications in SCI-indexed journals including Nature, Science, Neuron, Cell Metabolism, Circulation Research and European Heart Journal. These publications have been widely quoted (8652 citations - Web of Knowledge or 11159 citations - Google Scholar Citation).  In addition, he plays an active role in organizing a number of high-profile scientific symposia in 11 countries and regions, and serves international scientific communities in various capacities.  Professor Huang has so far served as the editor, associate editor, andeditorial board member for 35 journals.

Prof. James Y.W. LAU is currently Professor of Surgery at CUHK and Director to Endoscopy Centre at Prince of Wales Hospital.  Graduated from the Medical School of the University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia, Professor Lau joined Prince of Wales Hospital as a resident in 1992 where he started learning therapeutic endoscopy from Prof. Sydney Chung and Prof. Joseph Sung, and developed his interest in endoscopic treatment of gastrointestinal diseases. 

Professor Lau is known internationally for his clinical research in management of acute upper gastrointestinal bleeding from non-variceal causes.  He has published several landmark studies investigating the relative roles of endoscopic treatment, pharmaco-therapy and surgery in prestigious medical journals including the New England Journal of Medicine and Lancet.  These studies included a comparison between further endoscopic treatment and surgery in the treatment of patients with refractory bleeding, and the use of profound acid suppression before and after endoscopic treatment to prevent recurrent bleeding.  His research has led to significant reductions in further bleeding (less than 5%), requirement for surgery and deaths (less than 1%) in patients with upper gastrointestinal bleeding. 

Professor Lau is currently leading multicenter international studies in determining the adjunctive role of interventional radiology to endoscopic treatment.  It is hoped that his current research will achieve the aim of 'zero' re-bleeding in patients with acute non-variceal upper gastrointestinal bleeding.

The Croucher Foundation holds the presentation ceremony of its prestigious Research Fellowships 2014/15.  (From left) Dr. Hayden Kwok-hay So, Assistant Professor, Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering, Faculty of Engineering, HKU; Dr. YAO Wang, Assistant Professor, Department of Physics, Faculty of Science, HKU; Prof Danny Chan, Department of Biochemistry, Li Ka Shing Faculty of Medicine, HKU; Mrs Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor, Chief Secretary for Administration of the HKSAR Government; Prof Annie Nga-Yin Cheung, Professor of Pathology, Li Ka Shing Faculty of Medicine, HKU; Prof Yu Huang, Professor, School of Biomedical Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, CUHK; Prof Dong-Yan Jin, Department of Biochemistry, Li Ka Shing Faculty of Medicine, HKU; and Prof James Yun-wong Lau, Professor of Surgery, Faculty of Medicine, CUHK.
The Croucher Foundation holds the presentation ceremony of its prestigious Research Fellowships 2014/15. (From left) Dr. Hayden Kwok-hay So, Assistant Professor, Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering, Faculty of Engineering, HKU; Dr. YAO Wang, Assistant Professor, Department of Physics, Faculty of Science, HKU; Prof Danny Chan, Department of Biochemistry, Li Ka Shing Faculty of Medicine, HKU; Mrs Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor, Chief Secretary for Administration of the HKSAR Government; Prof Annie Nga-Yin Cheung, Professor of Pathology, Li Ka Shing Faculty of Medicine, HKU; Prof Yu Huang, Professor, School of Biomedical Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, CUHK; Prof Dong-Yan Jin, Department of Biochemistry, Li Ka Shing Faculty of Medicine, HKU; and Prof James Yun-wong Lau, Professor of Surgery, Faculty of Medicine, CUHK.

Mrs Carrie Lam presents the award of Senior Research Fellowships to Prof Yu Huang.
Mrs Carrie Lam presents the award of Senior Research Fellowships to Prof Yu Huang.

Mrs Carrie Lam presents the award of Senior Medical Research Fellowships to Prof James Lau.
Mrs Carrie Lam presents the award of Senior Medical Research Fellowships to Prof James Lau.

A group photo of Mrs Carrie Lam and CUHK members.
A group photo of Mrs Carrie Lam and CUHK members.

Prof. Huang Yu (front) and Prof. James Lau
Prof. Huang Yu (front) and Prof. James Lau