Ma Pak Leung Endowed Professor in Innovative Neuromedicine

Ma Pak Leung Endowed Professor in Innovative Neuromedicine
Professor Li Min
Appointed in 2024

Professor Li Min is a distinguished scholar, clinical expert and educator who has worked in the field of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) for nearly four decades. She is currently the Executive Associate Dean of the School of Chinese Medicine (SCM), Programme Director of the Bachelor of Chinese Medicine and the Bachelor of Science (Hons) in Biomedical Science programmes, and Director of the Mr. & Mrs. Ko Chi Ming Centre for Parkinson’s Disease Research at the Hong Kong Baptist University. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in Chinese Medicine from the Henan University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, and her MPhil degree in Chinese Medicine from the Guangzhou University of Chinese Medicine. She further obtained a PhD degree in Cardiology from Tokai University School of Medicine in Japan.

A faculty member of SCM since 2001, Professor Li focuses particularly on elucidating the pathogenesis of neurodegenerative diseases, including Parkinson’s disease (PD), Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and vascular dementia (VD), and also on the discovery of new drugs related to these diseases from TCM.

One of Professor Li’s recent research projects explored the relationship between neurodegenerative diseases and autophagy, a cellular metabolic mechanism involving encapsulation and degradation of excessive or damaged proteins and organelles. This is one of the key pathological mechanisms in AD, PD and other neurodegenerative diseases. Regulating the autophagy-lysosome pathway (ALP), particularly through the activation of transcription factor EB (TFEB), is thus a promising approach to treat AD, PD and other neurodegenerative diseases. In screening and identifying TFEB translocation activators, Professor Li and her team successfully identified a novel TFEB activator from a series of curcumin derivatives in TCM. This small molecule is found to be effectively promoting the ALP-mediated neuronal autophagy in cellular and animal models of AD. This research finding demonstrates the potential of these novel TFEB activators as therapeutic agents for AD.

In addition, Professor Li is committed to conducting rigorous randomised controlled clinical trials to evaluate the safety and efficacy of TCM in treating AD and PD. By combining TCM wisdom with modern molecular biology, such as autophagy, and pharmacological approaches, Professor Li aims to enhance the understanding of TCM principles and promote the application of Chinese herbal medicine in the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases.

As a leader and educator, Professor Li has developed multiple courses on Chinese medicine for undergraduate and postgraduate students by integrating the concepts of TCM with modern medical practices and drawing on her extensive clinical experience in the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases as well as cardio-cerebrovascular diseases. Through giving specific guidance, she aims to cultivate a group of TCM practitioners who can effectively apply the principles of TCM syndrome differentiation and treatment in their future careers, thereby promoting a holistic approach and patient-centred healthcare system.

Over the years, Professor Li has presented and published more than 400 papers about research and clinical findings on neurodegenerative diseases in internationally renowned journals, professional books and at international conferences, a publishing reputation that exemplifies her outstanding academic achievements. As of the end of 2023, Professor Li has been awarded more than 20 patents related to the treatment of AD and PD.

Professor Li has garnered numerous awards and accolades in recognition of her outstanding achievements in research, teaching and medical practices. In 2007, she was conferred the Award of Distinguished Female Chinese Medicine Practitioner by the China Association of Traditional Chinese medicine. In 2012, she received the SCM’s Award for Outstanding Performance in Scholarly Work and in 2013 and 2018 she received HKBU’s President's Award for Outstanding Performance in Teaching, she also received the HKBU’s President's Award for Outstanding Performance in Research Supervision in 2024.

Updated as at 13 March 2024

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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