19 September 2016

CUHK Professor Dennis Lo Receives Future Science Prize – Life Science Prize, the Chinese Version of Nobel Prize



Prof. Dennis Yuk-ming LO from the Faculty of Medicine at The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) received today the Future Science Prize – Life Science Prize for his seminal contribution to the widely-used noninvasive prenatal test based on the original discovery of fetal DNA in maternal blood which has benefited millions of pregnant women globally. The Future Science Prize, seen as the Chinese version of Nobel Prize, was co-founded by a group of scientists and entrepreneurs in mainland China. Awardees are selected by a committee of nine members from different scientific fields for their original and innovative scientific researches which have a long-term international impact and significance. 

Prof. LO is the Associate Dean (Research) of the Faculty of Medicine at CUHK, Chairman of the Department of Chemical Pathology and Director of the Li Ka Shing Institute of Health Sciences. Joined CUHK in 1997, he discovered the presence of cell-free fetal DNA in maternal plasma in the same year. He and his colleagues are instrumental in making non-invasive DNA-based prenatal testing a clinical reality. His team has developed a Down syndrome test that has been adopted in over 90 countries and has been used by  millions of pregnant women. With the use of massively parallel sequencing and the development of novel bioinformatics strategies, Prof. LO’s group succeeded in deciphering a genome-wide genetic map of the fetus through the analysis of traces of fragmented DNA floating in the blood of pregnant women. This scientific achievement lays the foundation for developing non-invasive prenatal diagnostic tests for multiple genetic diseases. 

Prof. LO remarked, ‘I really appreciate the Committee for their recognition of our team’s effort. I couldn’t have done it without my team. I have to thank my students and colleagues. The interest in Science is growing in Asia and I hope there will be more people joining the force, seeing China as the future in science and bring influence to the world.’ 

Prof. LO is leading a multidisciplinary team to develop the next generation tools for the analysis of cell-free nucleic acids and to study the biology and pathological characteristics of cell-free fetal nucleic acids that have not been unravelled to date.  The novel tools and new biological insights will be directed towards the overall goal of developing approaches for the assessment of pregnancy-associated pathologies, such as single gene diseases, fetal demise and preeclampsia.  

In recognition of his work, Prof. LO has been the recipient of numerous awards, including the 2005 State Natural Science Award from the State Council of China, the 2006 International Federation of Clinical Chemistry and Laboratory Medicine (IFCC) – Abbott Award for Outstanding Contribution to Molecular Diagnostics, the 2006 US National Academy of Clinical Biochemistry Distinguished Scientist Award, the 2006 Croucher Senior Medical Research Fellowship, the 2007 AACC Sigi Ziering Award, the 2012 AACC-NACB Award for Outstanding Contributions To Clinical Chemistry in a Selected Area of Research, Fulbright Distinguished Scholar 2009 and the 2014 King Faisal International Prize for Medicine. He was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society in 2011 and as a Foreign Associate of the US National Academy of Sciences in 2013. Last year, he became the First Chinese Honoured with AACC Wallace H. Coulter Lectureship Award. 

About Future Science Prize 

Established in 2016 by Future Forum, the Future Science Prize includes two categories: namely Life Science Prize and Physical Science Prize, with 1 million USD award for each donated by members of the Founding Council of Future Forum.  Laureates of the Prize will be selected regardless of their nationalities, as long as their achievements are original and innovative, have long-term significance or has passed test of time; are completed mainly in the Greater China region (including Mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan).  Awardees are selected by nine members of the Future Science Prize Committee who are from different scientific fields. For more details: http://www.futureprize.org.

Prof. Dennis Yuk-ming LO receives the Future Science Prize – Life Science Prize.
Prof. Dennis Yuk-ming LO receives the Future Science Prize – Life Science Prize.

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