Research in the Department of Biology is focused on Bioresources and Agriculture and Environmental Health, which are in line with our university’s strategic plan on developing the research cluster of health and drug discovery and the Faculty’s niche research area of Environment and Health.

1. Bioresource and Agriculture

The main research areas include bioresource management and plant/crop responses to adverse environments for enhanced crop production.

  • The research team led by Prof. Jonathan Wong has achieved wide recognition academically and socially for their research in food waste treatment and organic farming. Under Prof. Jonathan Wong’s leadership, the Hong Kong Organic Resource Centre has developed the certification system, provides certification service and educates the public on organic living.
  • The teams of Jianhua Zhang, Prof. Yiji Xia and Prof. Liming Xiong are working on plant-environment interactions. These research teams established extensive collaborations among the team members and with other local and overseas scientists. The teams have taken integrated genetic, physiology, and molecular approaches to understand mechanisms of plant stress responses and apply the knowledge to improve food production.
  • Jianwen Qiu’s research team gains significant recognition with their works on deep-sea biodiversity and population connectivity, shallow-water biodiversity and ecology, as well as application of genomic and proteomic tools in non-model organisms.
  • Jill Chiu’s original research on marine environmental science and ecotoxicology has had a global impact and attracted worldwide attention, as reflected in her publications and social services for Hong Kong and the region.
  • Guneet Kaur’s research addresses the pertinent issue of value-addition of resources for development of sustainable cities and circular (bio)economy using biochemical engineering and molecular microbiology approaches. Her impactful work has attracted high funding, and won research awards and patents.

[Prof. Wong, Jonathan Woon Chung, Prof. Zhang, Jianhua, Prof. Qiu, Jianwen, Prof. Xia, Yiji and Prof. Xiong, Liming , Dr. Chiu, Jill Man Ying, Dr. Kaur, Guneet]


2. Environmental Health

The environmental health research group focuses on health and disease mechanism and its relation with the environment.

  • Professor Chris Wong’s works on the impact of environmental pollutant, bisphenol A, a residual component of plastics, on human fertility has won great publicity.
  • Zhao Zhongying’s group has established a state-of-the-art platform for automated screening of developmental defects with single-cell resolution after exposure to environmental challenges and has been outstanding in competing for RGC funding and generating significant publications.
  • Ken Yung’s group patented and commercialized his nano-particle methodology for potential treatment of Alzheimer’s disease.
  • NK Mak’s group has developed and patented multiple drugs that target nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC), an environment/diet dependent cancer that shows high incidence in Southern China (including Hong Kong).
  • Allen Cheung’s group is focused on understanding immune mechanisms underlying cancers, neurodegenerative diseases and persistent viral infections that are affected by the environmental and dietary factors.
  • Pan-Jun Kim’s group focuses on computational modeling and large-scale data analysis of complex biological systems, including human microbial ecosystems in health and disease and biomolecular networks inside and between cells. Dr. Kim’s innovative research outcomes have been featured in BBC Future and other international news media.

[Prof. Mak, Nai Ki, Prof. Wong, Chris Kong Chu, Prof. Yung, Ken Kin Lam, Prof. Zhao, Zhongying, Dr. Cheung, Allen Ka Loon, Dr. Kim, Pan-Jun]


1. Croucher Institute for Environmental Sciences (CIES)

CIES is a technology transfer centre that provides information and assistance in the practical application of new and developing technologies for the sustainable use and management of our natural resources, including air, soil, water and biological resources in Hong Kong, the Pearl River Delta and South East Asian Region.

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2. Hong Kong Organic Resource Centre (HKORC)

Hong Kong Organic Resource Centre was established in December 2002, which is the first local certification body of organic products set up under the Agricultural Development Fund to facilitate the development of organic farming.

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3.Institute of Bioresoruce and Agriculture (IBA)

Institute of Bioresource and Agriculture (IBA) serves as a professional platform to vitalize the agricultural industry, to conserve the bioresource and biodiversity, and to cultivate the public education on sustainability practices in the community.

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