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This year, two academics from the University of Hong Kong have been presented with the Croucher Senior Research Fellowship and the Croucher Senior Medical Research Fellowship respectively by the Croucher Foundation. They are:
Professor Jiandong HUANG | Croucher Senior Research Fellowship 2021
Chair Professor, School of Biomedical Sciences, LKS Faculty of Medicine, The University of Hong Kong
Professor Man Fung YUEN (HKU) | Croucher Senior Medical Research Fellowship 2021
Chair Professor, Department of Medicine, LKS Faculty of Medicine, The University of Hong Kong
Professor Jiandong HUANG, Chair Professor, School of Biomedical Sciences, LKS Faculty of Medicine, HKU
Professor Huang is Chair Professor of Synthetic Biology and L&T Charitable Foundation Professor in Biomedical Sciences at the School of Biomedical Sciences, LKS Faculty of Medicine, The University of Hong Kong. His current research focuses on two areas: synthetic biology and intracellular transportation. For intracellular transportation, Professor Huang has been working on illustrating the functions of a microtubule-based motor molecular, Kinesin-1, in different cell types, which is aimed at understanding its roles in different cell types in development and disease. For synthetic biology, Professor Huang has created novel genetic circuits for the control of gene expression and hence biological behaviour. One successful example is the design and assembly with his colleagues of a genetic circuit for the spatiotemporal control of cell distribution and function. This new circuit was used to reveal how repetitive biological structure could be generated and how the number of repeats in biological structures can be controlled. Most recently, his team further engineered the interactions among multiple cell types to generate biological structures. The ability of spatiotemporal control of gene activities, cell-cell interactions, cell distribution and function is very useful for preventive and therapeutic medicine, which Professor Huang is applying to vaccine development and cancer therapy.
Professor Man Fung YUEN, Chair Professor, Department of Medicine, LKS Faculty of Medicine, HKU
Professor Yuen is Deputy Head of the Department of Medicine, Chief of the Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology and Li Shu Fan Foundation Professor in Medicine, LKS Faculty of Medicine, The University of Hong Kong. His research interests include prevention, natural history, serology, virology and treatment of chronic hepatitis B and C, and hepatocellular carcinoma. He is one of the top internationally acclaimed researchers in hepatitis B. He has now published more than 450 papers in world renowned medical journals including New England Journal of Medicine, Lancet, Lancet Infectious Diseases and Lancet Oncology. As a world-class clinician scientist, Professor Yuen is now leading most of the international trials examining new drugs including antiviral and immunomodulatory agents for the treatment of chronic hepatitis B. He is also actively performing cutting-edge research on novel markers for hepatitis B infection and occult hepatitis B infection. Besides, Professor Yuen is honourably invited by The Novel Assembly at Karolinska Institute to nominate candidates for the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for both 2020 and 2021.
[The Croucher Senior Research Fellowships / Croucher Senior Medical Research Fellowships]
The Croucher Senior Research Fellowships scheme was first introduced in 1997. The Fellowships are awarded to local academics who have excelled in scientific research work, while the Croucher Senior Medical Research Fellowships are conferred on outstanding scientists employed on clinical teachers’ terms in medicine and dentistry. The awards are judged by a group of leading international scientists invited to provide confidential reviews of candidates nominated in a competitive exercise. The value of each award includes a HK$2 million research grant to the award winner. Separate funds are awarded to the universities of the fellowship recipients, enabling the university to recruit replacement teacher/clinical medical staff to take over the award winner’s duties for a twelve-month period. The maximum value of each Senior Research Fellowship is about HK$3 million, and each Senior Medical Research Fellowship is about HK$4.5 million. The arrangement enables the awardees to devote more time and effort to research work.