Ma Pak Leung Endowed Professor in Innovative Neuromedicine

Ma Pak Leung Endowed Professor in Innovative Neuromedicine
Professor Ken Yung Kin Lam
Appointed in 2022

Professor Ken Yung Kin Lam is Professor of the Department of Biology and Executive Associate Dean of the Graduate School at Hong Kong Baptist University (HKBU). He is also the founder and Director of the Golden Meditech Center for NeuroRegeneration Sciences. Professor Yung received his doctoral degree at the University of Oxford and returned to his alma mater HKBU to embark on his prolific and fruitful career in transdisciplinary research, focusing on the causes and innovative treatment of neurodegenerative diseases.

The research carried out by Professor Yung has been extensive and all-encompassing, ranging from the causes of neurodegenerative diseases to advancements in innovative treatments for these diseases. He has published more than 170 international journal articles in high impact SCI journals. Among Professor Yung’s eminent research works is a published research paper that pinpointed exposures to PM2.5, a key air pollutant, as a key culprit causing neurodegenerative diseases. The paper was recognised by the Web of Science as the top 1% cited paper within the first year in the field in 2019.

In addition, Professor Yung and his collaborators have established a full series of the transdisciplinary biomedical technology of neural stem cell therapy for individual subjects, the first of its kind in the scientific world. Among these achievements, Professor Yung and his team also pioneered the integration of nanotechnology and neuroscience to accomplish a harvest of autologous (“self”) neural stem cells from individual brains, which was published in Angewandte Chemie in 2013. This is the first-ever technology that can safely harvest neural stem cells from individual subjects and deliver a replacement of neurons to subjects with neurodegeneration. The findings proved that these individualised neural stem cells after harvesting, culturing and engineering can provide ultimate treatments for Parkinson’s disease in animal models. By implementing the concept of “using one’s own body parts to repair oneself”, this technology is groundbreaking in the sense that it has great potential for translation from bench to bed, having great impact on future therapy for patients with neurodegenerative diseases. This technology has gained over thirteen patents in China, the United States, Europe, and Hong Kong.

Professor Yung has also engaged in advancements of stem cell engineering with application of inorganic nanomatrices. This nanomatrix technology, first-known to science with the concept published in Advanced Science in 2019, is capable of transforming neural stem cells to mature functional neurons without using hazardous chemicals. This technology revolutionises traditional cell culture methods into a safer, swifter and more efficient path for stem cell engineering. It has been awarded over three patents in China, US and Hong Kong.

Integrating these two new technologies and the advancements in neural stem cell replacement therapy not only helps to pave the way for translation and future human applications, but brings new hope of curative treatments for patients with neurodegenerative diseases. With these trailblazing inventions, Professor Yung and his collaborators have won over 40 international and national invention and innovation awards. They include Gold Medals from the International Exhibition of Inventions of Geneva in 2016 and 2018, and Gold Prize in the Technology Start-up Award under the Fifth Bank of China (HK) FITMI Achievement Award organised by Hong Kong Federation of Innovative Technologies and Manufacturing Industries Ltd (FITMI) and Bank of China (HK) in 2015.

Professor Yung has proactively engaged with the broader international scientific community and with community affairs. He was a member of the International Brain Research Organization and sat on the expert panel of China’s Ministry of Science and Technology. He is past President of the Hong Kong Movement Disorder Society and advisor for Hong Kong Parkinson’s Disease Foundation.

Ma Pak Leung Co., Ltd Ma Pak Leung Co., Ltd
Mr. Mongkolchai Mavichien
Director of Ma Pak Leung Co., Ltd

“The nervous system, which controls most of the functions in mind and body, is the most important system in the human body. Dysfunctions of the nervous system may therefore cause serious health problems. Unfortunately, most of these neurodegenerative diseases are incurable. I profoundly hope that the establishment of this first-ever endowed professorship in innovative neuromedicine can promote studies on translational solutions for these devastating diseases.”  

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Harvesting Hopes for Neurodegenerative Diseases

Harvesting Hopes for Neurodegenerative Diseases

Interview with Professor Ken Yung Kin Lam