Two CUHK Medical Professors Winning WuXi PharmaTech Life Science and Chemistry Awards
Prof. Dennis Yuk-ming LO and Prof. Jun YU from the Faculty of Medicine at The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) received “Outstanding Achievements Award” and “Scholar Award” in the 11th annual WuXi PharmaTech Life Science and Chemistry Awards respectively, in recognition of their exceptional contributions in the field of life science and chemistry.
The WuXi PharmaTech Life Science and Chemistry Awards, supported by the Ministry of Science and Technology, are presented to outstanding scientists whose research are helping the world to better understand disease and find more effective cures. This year’s awards ceremony was held on 9 December at Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing, with Prof. Qide HAN, Honorary Vice-Chairman of the Awards Committee and Vice-Chairman of the 12th National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, presenting the awards. Including Prof. LO and Prof. YU, there are 20 scientists winning the awards this year.
Prof. Dennis LO receives Outstanding Achievements Award and listed Top 20 translational researchers of 2016
Prof. Dennis LO, Director of the Li Ka Shing Institute of Health Sciences and Chairman of the Department of Chemical Pathology of the Faculty of Medicine at CUHK, received Outstanding Achievements Award of the annual WuXi PharmaTech Life Science and Chemistry Awards. Known as ‘the father of non-invasive prenatal test’, Prof. LO joined CUHK in 1997 and discovered 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 Down syndrome test developed by Prof. LO’s group has been widely adopted in many countries and was used by 4 million pregnant women in China in 2017. Prof. LO, being the only Hong Kong scientist, was also listed the “Top 20 Translational Researchers of 2016” recently by the authoritative scientific journal Nature Biotechnology, showing that his research was very widely cited in the past five years (2012 – 2016) and his published works are making great impact in the field. Translational research refers to the effective transformation of biomedical research results to technologies and drugs that could be applied clinically. Such research acts as a bridge from the bench in the laboratory to the bedside in the hospital.
Prof. LO remarked, “The WuXi PharmaTech Life Science and Chemistry Awards－Outstanding Achievements Award is a major award in China that has significantly promoted life science and biomedical research. I am most grateful and humbled to have been chosen to receive this honour. For scientists, all of us wish to leave the first footprint in our research area and to turn a new page in the history of science. This award encourages our team to continue the innovation in research and benefit society and patients.”
Prof. LO is leading a multidisciplinary team to develop the next generation tools for analyzing 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.
Prof. Jun YU wins Scholar Award for accomplishing in molecular mechanisms research and treatment of gastrointestinal cancers
Prof. Jun YU, an expert in gastroenterology researches, joined the Department of Medicine and Therapeutics of the Faculty of Medicine at CUHK in 2005. She was a post-doctoral fellow under Prof. Joseph SUNG, Vice-Chancellor and President of CUHK. Over the years, she has made new findings in the areas of gastrointestinal cancers in relation to the genomic and epigenomic molecular mechanisms, cancer biomarkers, cancer therapy, fatty liver disease and liver cancer. Her researches have far-reaching implications for understanding the pathogenesis, diagnosis, treatment and prevention of gastric cancer, colon cancer and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.
Prof. YU expressed her gratitude, “Recipient of the WuXi PharmaTech Life Science and Chemistry Awards – Scholar Award has spurred and encouraged both myself and my team. We hope to conduct more researches with high quality in order to transform research results to clinical applications, and to provide patients with better treatment.”
About WuXi PharmaTech Life Science and Chemistry Awards
The WuXi PharmaTech Life Science and Chemistry Awards, supported by the Ministry of Science and Technology, were established in 2007 to encourage and promote excellence in life science and clinical research. As of 2017, 15 scholars who have received the awards were later elected to the Chinese Academy of Sciences or the Chinese Academy of Engineering. Participants are carefully selected by a committee which is also comprised of distinguished experts from these two academies and the Chinese life science industry.