Search
What are you looking for?
Start main content

Press Releases

Press Releases

https://www.med.cuhk.edu.hk/press-releases/three-cuhk-scholars-named-world-s-top-20-translational-researchers-professor-dennis-lo-receives-the-honour-for-the-fifth-consecutive-year
https://www.med.cuhk.edu.hk/press-releases/three-cuhk-scholars-named-world-s-top-20-translational-researchers-professor-dennis-lo-receives-the-honour-for-the-fifth-consecutive-year

Three CU Medicine scholars named in world’s “Top 20 Translational Researchers” Professor Dennis LO receives the honour for the fifth consecutive year

Professor Rossa Chiu, Professor Dennis Lo and Professor Allen Chan

(From left) Professor Rossa Wai Kwun CHIU, Professor Dennis Yuk Ming LO and Professor Allen Kwan Chee CHAN from CU Medicine have been named the “Top 20 Translational Researchers of 2020” by Nature Biotechnology. The world-renowned scientific journal highlighted their work on the development of a new class of prenatal and cancer diagnostic markers that are based on DNA methylation.

 

Professor Dennis Yuk Ming LO, Professor Rossa Wai Kwun CHIU and Professor Allen Kwan Chee CHAN from the Faculty of Medicine at The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CU Medicine) have been named among the “Top 20 Translational Researchers of 2020” by the world-renowned scientific journal Nature Biotechnology. The trio are the only scholars from Hong Kong on the list, and it is also the fifth consecutive year for Professor LO to receive this honour.    

 

Nature Biotechnology ranked the top translational researchers in biotech based on the number of patents (European and U.S.) granted in 2020, the researcher’s top-cited patents over the past five years (2016-2020), and the citation scores of their publications (H-index). These are the indicators of how their biomedical research results have been effectively translated into clinical applications, being appreciated as translational research. The top-cited patent of the three professors during the period was “Non-invasive determination of methylome of fetus or tumour from plasma”.

 

Discovering prenatal and cancer diagnostic markers based on DNA methylation

 

Known as “the Father of Non-invasive Prenatal Testing”, Professor Dennis LO is the Director of the Li Ka Shing Institute of Health Sciences, Associate Dean (Research) and Chairman of the Department of Chemical Pathology of CU Medicine. Professor LO joined CUHK in 1997 and reported the presence of cell-free fetal DNA in maternal plasma in the same year. He and his colleagues have been instrumental in making non-invasive DNA based prenatal testing a clinical reality. The non-invasive prenatal test (NIPT) for Down syndrome developed by the team has been widely regarded as a significant breakthrough in the global scientific community. The test has been widely adopted in dozens of countries and used by millions of pregnant women every year. This scientific achievement lays the foundation for developing non-invasive tests for cancer detection based on similar scientific principles. 

 

Professor Rossa CHIU, Associate Dean (Development), and Professor Allen CHAN, Assistant Dean (External Affairs) of CU Medicine and also of the Department of Chemical Pathology, have been working closely with Professor LO in the development of non-invasive plasma DNA tests for Down syndrome screening, as well as new prenatal and cancer diagnostic approaches based on circulating nucleic acids. Nature Biotechnology highlighted their work on the development of a new class of prenatal and cancer diagnostic markers that are based on DNA methylation.

 

DNA methylation refers to a type of biochemical change of DNA that allows one to trace the tissue of origin of a DNA molecule. In prenatal diagnostic testing, such tracing would help identify if a DNA molecule is coming from the fetus or the mother. In cancer, DNA methylation is altered or disrupted and therefore methylation patterns provide hints to the presence of a tumour. Based on the analysis of the epigenetic mechanism, the team has opened up many new applications of circulating nucleic acids, from elucidating the origin of an aberrant signal in NIPT to detecting myocardial damage and liver damage, investigating the causes of anemia and tracing the tissue of origin of cancer.

 

Prime time for biotechnology research and development in Hong Kong

 

Professor Dennis LO felt most honoured to be named for the fifth time. He said, “Being named a top translational researcher five years in a row by Nature Biotechnology is a tremendous recognition and encouragement to me and my team. It is most exciting to receive the honour with Rossa and Allen. Circulating nucleic acids have provided a treasure trove of molecular diagnostics and research. I have been fortunate to be involved in this exciting field for the past two decades with a great team. We are entering a prime time for biotechnology research and development in Hong Kong. We are seeing more opportunities for the young as the city is fueling for the development of a health technology hub in the Greater Bay Area.”

 

Professor Rossa CHIU said, “I am very grateful to be on the list again after being named in the 2018 list. It is most rewarding to see our work in non-invasive screening having a global impact in prenatal care and heading in a similar direction in oncology. Our latest work has mapped out multiple types of aberrations in a cancer genome non-invasively. Our ultimate goal is to enable early cancer detection and treatment.”

 

Professor Allen CHAN said, “Nature Biotechnology is a prestigious international journal and I am very grateful to be selected as one of the top translational researchers. We have developed genetic-epigenetic tissue mapping to determine the tissue composition of plasma DNA carrying genetic variants not presented in the constitutional genome through comparing their methylation profiles with relevant tissues. Diagnostically, we have validated the approach in prenatal testing and organ transplantation monitoring.”

 

About Nature Biotechnology and its annual ranking of top 20 translational researchers

 

Nature Biotechnology is a scientific journal published by Nature, one of the world’s most authoritative and prestigious academic and scientific journals. Coverage of Nature Biotechnology includes gene therapy, regenerative medicine and biomedical engineering.

 

Topping the list this year is Chinese-American biochemist Professor Feng ZHANG at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) who is one of the pioneers behind CRISPR technologies. Professor LO and Professor Rossa CHIU are ranked seventh on the list and Professor Allen CHAN is in fourteenth place. Another inventor on the list who is also from an Asian institution is Professor Ningshao XIA of Xiamen University. His top-cited patent is on “Polypeptides and antibodies for treating HBV infection and related diseases”. Other named scholars include translational researchers from renowned institutions in the U.S. and Germany, such as MIT, Harvard University and Stanford University.

More Press Releases

CUHK Completes a 20,000-person Plasma DNA Screening Study of Nasopharyngeal Cancer, and Finds a Dramatic Shift to Early Stage Cancers

CUHK Completes a 20,000-person Plasma DNA Screening Study of Nasopharyngeal Cancer, and Finds a Dramatic Shift to Early Stage Cancers

Research
Two CUHK Scholars Named World’s “Top 20 Translational Researchers” Professor Dennis Lo Receiving the Honour for the Third Consecutive Year

Two CUHK Scholars Named World’s “Top 20 Translational Researchers” Professor Dennis Lo Receiving the Honour for the Third Consecutive Year

Awards and honors
CUHK Research Receives Recognitions by Top Medical Journals

CUHK Research Receives Recognitions by Top Medical Journals

Awards and honors
CUHK Launches Territory-wide Screening Study for Early Detection of Nasopharynx Cancer Now Recruiting 20,000 Citizens to Join

CUHK Launches Territory-wide Screening Study for Early Detection of Nasopharynx Cancer Now Recruiting 20,000 Citizens to Join

Research
CUHK Professor Rossa Chiu Awarded Chinese Young Women in Science Fellowship Latest Research Breakthrough – Blood DNA Sequencing to Scan for Cancers

CUHK Professor Rossa Chiu Awarded Chinese Young Women in Science Fellowship Latest Research Breakthrough – Blood DNA Sequencing to Scan for Cancers

Awards and honors
CUHK Launches Non-invasive Prenatal Test for Down Syndrome 15 Years of Research Comes to Fruition

CUHK Launches Non-invasive Prenatal Test for Down Syndrome 15 Years of Research Comes to Fruition

Research
Young Female Scientist Excels in International Arena CUHK Professor Rossa Chiu Scoops Two Research Awards

Young Female Scientist Excels in International Arena CUHK Professor Rossa Chiu Scoops Two Research Awards

Awards and honors
CUHK Study Suggests a Standardised Experimental Setup is the Key to Optimise  Performance of COVID-19 Nucleic Acid Tests

CUHK Study Suggests a Standardised Experimental Setup is the Key to Optimise Performance of COVID-19 Nucleic Acid Tests

Research
CUHK Professor Dennis LO Becomes the First Chinese Scientist to Receive the Royal Medal  for Outstanding Achievements in Biological Sciences

CUHK Professor Dennis LO Becomes the First Chinese Scientist to Receive the Royal Medal for Outstanding Achievements in Biological Sciences

Awards and honors
CUHK Receives HK$30 million Donation from Li Ka Shing Foundation to Enhance Research Space and Facilities at CU Medicine

CUHK Receives HK$30 million Donation from Li Ka Shing Foundation to Enhance Research Space and Facilities at CU Medicine

Donation
Two CUHK Scholars Named World’s “Top 20 Translational Researchers” Professor Dennis LO Receives the Honour for the Fourth Consecutive Year

Two CUHK Scholars Named World’s “Top 20 Translational Researchers” Professor Dennis LO Receives the Honour for the Fourth Consecutive Year

Awards and honors
CUHK Professor Dennis LO Receives 2021 Breakthrough Prize, an Honour Renowned as the “Oscars of Science”

CUHK Professor Dennis LO Receives 2021 Breakthrough Prize, an Honour Renowned as the “Oscars of Science”

Awards and honors
Professor Dennis LO Being Named as World’s “Top Translational Researchers” for Two Consecutive Years

Professor Dennis LO Being Named as World’s “Top Translational Researchers” for Two Consecutive Years

Awards and honors
Two CUHK Medical Professors Winning WuXi PharmaTech Life Science and Chemistry Awards

Two CUHK Medical Professors Winning WuXi PharmaTech Life Science and Chemistry Awards

Awards and honors
‘Science is an Integral Part of My Life’ CUHK’s Prof. Dennis Lo Reaps Inaugural Future Science Prize

‘Science is an Integral Part of My Life’ CUHK’s Prof. Dennis Lo Reaps Inaugural Future Science Prize

Awards and honors
CUHK Professor Dennis Lo Named ‘Thomson Reuters Citation Laureate’, an Honour Considered as an Index to Predict Nobel Prize Winners

CUHK Professor Dennis Lo Named ‘Thomson Reuters Citation Laureate’, an Honour Considered as an Index to Predict Nobel Prize Winners

Awards and honors
CUHK Professor Dennis Lo Receives Future Science Prize – Life Science Prize, the China's Nobel Prize

CUHK Professor Dennis Lo Receives Future Science Prize – Life Science Prize, the China's Nobel Prize

Awards and honors
CUHK Launches Newborn Add-on Test for Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia Supported by Joshua Hellmann Foundation for Orphan Disease

CUHK Launches Newborn Add-on Test for Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia Supported by Joshua Hellmann Foundation for Orphan Disease

Donation
CUHK Professor Dennis Lo as the First Chinese Honoured with AACC Wallace H. Coulter Lectureship Award

CUHK Professor Dennis Lo as the First Chinese Honoured with AACC Wallace H. Coulter Lectureship Award

Awards and honors
CUHK Professor Dennis Lo Received International Honour for Pioneering Research in Personalized Medicine

CUHK Professor Dennis Lo Received International Honour for Pioneering Research in Personalized Medicine

Awards and honors
Factsheet on Personalised Medicine (Only available in Chinese Version)

Factsheet on Personalised Medicine (Only available in Chinese Version)

Research
CUHK Professor Dennis Lo Awarded King Faisal International Prize for Medicine

CUHK Professor Dennis Lo Awarded King Faisal International Prize for Medicine

Awards and honors
CUHK Research Pioneer in Non-invasive Prenatal Diagnosis Elected to US National Academy of Sciences

CUHK Research Pioneer in Non-invasive Prenatal Diagnosis Elected to US National Academy of Sciences

Awards and honors

Our Expert List

Many experts under the Faculty of Medicine are available for media interview.
Please click here for the expert list or contact us.