23 July 2019

CUHK to Award Honorary Doctorates to Three Distinguished Persons



The Council of The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) has recommended the award of honorary doctorates for the following three distinguished persons. The honorary degrees will be conferred upon them at the 88th Congregation to be held on Thursday, 21 November, 2019, in recognition of their outstanding contributions to their respective areas of achievement in public welfare, scientific and educational progress, and the promotion of human health.

Professor Sir Shankar Balasubramanian is a world-renowned chemist and Herchel Smith Professor of Medicinal Chemistry in the Department of Chemistry at the University of Cambridge, Senior Group Leader at the Cancer Research UK Cambridge Institute and Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge. He co-invented Solexa sequencing, which means human DNA can be decoded a million times faster and cheaper than it could before. This important invention can be applied to analysing the genetic basis of human diseases, and is particularly helpful for cancer and infectious disease research. He is also a pioneer in the development of epigenetics sequencing. His patented technology enables the identification of sensitive and disease-specific epigenetic marks from blood and tissue samples, resulting in improvement to human health through earlier diagnosis and improved patient stratification. Sir Shankar has opened new doors to the prevention and treatment of human diseases from the perspective of gene and genetics, and has received numerous awards including a knighthood from Queen Elizabeth II, the Royal Medal, the Award for Outstanding Contribution to Biomolecular Technologies from the Association of Biomolecular Resource Facilities, a Medal from the Chemical Research Society of India, and the Heatley Medal and Prize from the Biochemical Society, UK. CUHK will confer upon Sir Shankar the degree of Doctor of Science, honoris causa for his outstanding contribution to medical research.

Dr. Charles Chen Yidan is a Core Founder of Tencent Holdings Limited, Founder and Honorary Chairman of Tencent Charity Foundation, Founder of the Yidan Prize and Founder of Wuhan College. Dr. Chen is recognised as the Godfather of Internet Philanthropy. He has actively promoted the use of the Internet for charity activities. His enthusiasm for charity has earned him numerous awards, including “the Most Caring Charity Model” and “the Most Caring Individual Donor” of the China Charity Award. He was among China’s top ten philanthropists and ranked top of the Forbes China Philanthropist list and top of the 13th China Charity Ranking. Dr. Chen has a great passion for education. He made donations to establish Wuhan College, a pioneer of non-profit private university in China, and donated HK$2.5 billion to establish the Yidan Prize, the world's largest education prize, as well as a number of scholarships.

Dr. Chen donated his Tencent shares – equivalent to an estimated market value of over HK$4 billion – to set up a charitable trust, focusing on furthering the development of education. He is also Life Honorary President of Shenzhen Copyright Society and Vice-Chairman of the Copyright Society of China, promoting the protection of intellectual property, copyright and patent technology. Tencent Holdings Limited, through its subsidiaries, has made generous donations to support various research projects undertaken by CUHK’s Faculty of Engineering. CUHK will confer upon Dr. Chen the degree of Doctor of Social Science, honoris causa, in recognition of his extraordinary contributions to education and public welfare.

Professor Harvey F. Lodish is an internationally renowned molecular and cell biologist, and a leader in the fields of cellular and developmental biology. He is currently Professor of Biology and Biological Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a Founding Member of the Whitehead Institute of Biomedical Research. He has isolated, cloned, and characterised numerous proteins and noncoding ribonucleic acids (RNA) that play key roles in the formation of blood and fat cells that regulate the metabolism of glucose and fatty acids. His results have important implications for the treatment of anemias, cancer, diabetes, heart disease and obesity. He has long regarded the treatment of rare diseases as his major responsibility, and believes that solving rare diseases at the genetic level is a worthwhile path. He has helped dozens of biopharmaceutical companies to develop new drugs for rare diseases, bringing hope to many patients. He has trained over 180 students, two of whom have received the Nobel Prize and Lasker Prize, and seven have been elected to the National Academy of Sciences or the National Academy of Medicine, USA. Professor Lodish has received numerous awards, including the Guggenheim Fellowship from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, the MERIT Award from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, USA, and election to the U.S. National Academy of Sciences. In recognition of his outstanding research achievements and contributions in the field of biology, CUHK will confer upon Professor Lodish the degree of Doctor of Science, honoris causa.

Professor Sir Shankar Balasubramanian
Professor Sir Shankar Balasubramanian

Dr. Charles Chen Yidan
Dr. Charles Chen Yidan

Professor Harvey F. Lodish
Professor Harvey F. Lodish