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Our Researchers

Professor Ling QIN

Department of Orthopaedics & Traumatology


CUHK professor Ling QIN heads a research laboratory in the Department of Orthopaedics & Traumatology, focusing on research and development (R&D) of innovative bioactive materials and drugs for orthopaedic use. The lab targets major orthopaedic problems with huge global socioeconomic and healthcare burdens, such as osteoporosis and osteonecrosis.


For example, biodegradable materials, especially those that do not require removal as conventional rigid metal orthopaedic implants do, are highly desirable for fracture fixation. Based on skeletal physiology and pathophysiology, QIN and his group think that magnesium, an essential mineral element of our bone matrix, is an ideal candidate. Collaborating with local and international colleagues, they have developed pure magnesium implants, as well as alloys and hybrid systems for safe application in bone fracture fixation and bone defect repair enhancement.


QIN’s multidisciplinary team also looks at the potential healing mechanisms of magnesium ions after implant degradation. In an animal model, they showed, for the first time, that magnesium-induced osteogenesis or bone formation is mediated by local neuronal production of calcitonin gene-related peptide 1 (CGRP1), a calcium-lowering peptide. Joint research with orthopaedic surgeons has led to the very first clinical trial to use magnesium screws for fixation in reconstructive hip surgeries. These findings have been published in Nature Medicine, Biomaterials and other leading journals, and have led to numerous patents and awards.


QIN and his group have concrete plans to take their work forward. These include: furthering experimental work using large animal models; gaining official approval for their innovative implants by licencing and/or spin-off; establishing international standards and guidelines for global R&D of magnesium-based biometals; and advancing innovation of cell- and tissue-specific targeting systems for local or systemic applications in bone regeneration.


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