Dr Eddie C. H. Ma (馬智謙博士)

DPhil (Oxford)

Associate Professor
Director of Laboratory Animal Research Unit (LARU)

Dr Eddie C. H. Ma

Contact Information

Office: 1B-107, 1/F, Block 1,
To Yuen Building
Phone: +852 3442-9328
Fax: +852 3442-0549
Email: eddiema@cityu.edu.hk
Web: CityU Scholars

Research Interests

  • Neuroscience
  • Peripheral and Central Nervous System Regeneration
  • Axonal Regeneration
  • Animal Behavioral Studies
  • Translational Medicine
  • Molecular and Cell Biology

Dr Eddie Ma obtained his BSc from The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (1997) and his M.Phil. from the University of Hong Kong (2000). In 2005, he obtained his DPhil from the University of Oxford. He then moved to United States for postdoctoral training at the Childrens Hospital Boston and Harvard Medical School with Professor Clifford Woolf before joining the City University of Hong Kong in 2011. He was a recipient of a Sir Edward Youde Memorial Fellowship at The University of Hong Kong (1997–1999), a Croucher Foundation Scholarship at the University of Oxford (2001–2004) and a fellowship at Harvard University (2005–2007).

Research Interest and Projects

The central nervous system fails to regenerate whilst peripheral nervous system is able to regrow after injury provided injured axons are aligned with their former pathways and close to their targets. However, proximal nerve lesions (i.e. Human brachial plexus Injury), which require long distance axonal regeneration as well as those that involve complete transection of the nerves, generally have poor outcomes with minimal clinically motor recovery. Successful regeneration depends on both extrinsic cues in the environment and the activation of intrinsic growth capacity to promote regrowth. Recent reports have shown that removal of extracellular inhibitory cues is not sufficient to promote successful regeneration.

Dr Ma’s lab focuses mainly on understanding the intrinsic molecular machinery necessary for central and peripheral nervous system regeneration after injury using a multidisciplinary approach spanning cell biology, molecular biology, anatomy, animal behavior and genetics. They examine the growth capacity of injured neurons and functional recovery using in vitro cell culture and in vivo animal model respectively. Their ultimate goal is to develop new strategy to promote axonal regeneration after injury, and to improve our understanding and treatment of neurodegenerative diseases.


5 June 2018

Congratulations to Dr Ma for being awarded the 2018 World Culture Council Special Recognition Award to acknowledge young researchers from Hong Kong who have performed outstandingly in the fields of science. The official Award Ceremony will be held in November 2018.


Dr Ma awarded the 2018 World Culture Council Special Recognition Award

Dr Ma awarded the 2018 World Culture Council Special Recognition Award

18 September 2017

Congratulations to Bennett Au (fourth from the right) for being awarded the Research Tuition Scholarship and Outstanding Academic Performance Award in two consecutive years at CityU.

Congratulations to Weerasinghe A. L. Chamara (fourth from the left) for being awarded the highly competitive Hong Kong PhD Fellowship offered by the Research Grants Council of Hong Kong.

Well done both of you!

Welcome to lab, new PhD students Chamara from Sri Lanka and Hasib Aamir (first from the left) from Pakistan. The lab is getting busier!

Dr Eddie Ma's Lab Members

21 January 2017

Congratulations to Bennett Au who had been selected by CityU and the "Global Young Scientists Summit (GYSS) 2017" organising committee to participate in the GYSS held in Singapore. The theme of GYSS is "Advancing Science, Creating Technologies for a Better World" which aims to gather bright young scientists from all over the world with eminent science leaders (speakers) to discuss key areas in modern science and technology.

Bennett with Prof. Tim Hunt at GYSS
Bennett with Prof. Tim Hunt at GYSS

31 August 2016

Congratulations to Bennett Au for being awarded the Research Tuition Scholarship and Outstanding Academic Performance Award.

Congratulations to Pallavi Asthana for being awarded the Outstanding Academic Performance Award.

Well done both of you!

19 May 2016

Big congratulations to my PhD students Bennett Au (with poster), Pallavi Asthana (third from the left), and Raza Chand (second from the right) for awarding the Best Poster Presentation in the Neuroscience Symposium 2016 “Nature and Nature in Brain Functions”, Annual Scientific Conference of the HK Society of Neurosciences held at HKU Medical School . Good jobs guys!

Bennett Au


20 April 2016

A recent interview about my research work by The Croucher Foundation entitled “Renewing the nervous system.”

Selected Publications (*Corresponding Author)

  • H. Chen, K.S. Cho, T.H. Khanh Vu, C.H. Shen, M. Kaur, G. Chen, R. Mathew, M.L. McHam, A. Fazelat, K. Lashkari, N.P. Au, K.Y. Tse, Y. Li, H. Yu, L. Yang, J. Stein-Streilein, C.H. Ma, C.J. Woolf, M.T. Whary, M.J. Jager, J.G. Fox, J. Chen, D.F. Chen. (2018) Commensal Microflora-induced T Cell Responses Mediate Progressive Neurodegeneration in Glaucoma. Nature Communications 9:3209.
  • P. Asthana, N. Zhang, G. Kumar, V. B. Chine, K. K. Singh, Y. L. Mak, L. L. Chan, P. K. S. Lam, C.H. Ma*. (2018) Pacific ciguatoxin induces excitotoxicity and neurodegeneration in the motor cortex via caspase 3 activation: Implication for irreversible motor deficit. Molecular Neurobiology 55: 6769-6787.
  • E. J. Cobos, C. Nickerson, F. Gao, V. Chandran, I. Bravo-Caparrós, R. González-Cano, P. Riva, N. Andrews, A. Latremoliere, C. Seehus, G. Perazzoli, F. R. Nieto,  N. Joller, M. Painter, C. H. Ma, T. Omura, E. J. Chesler, D. H. Geschwind, G. Coppola, M. Rangachari, C. J. Woolf, M. Costigan. (2018) Mechanistic differences in neuropathic pain modalities revealed by correlating behavior with global expression profiling. Cell Reports 22:1301-1312.
  • N.P. Au and C.H. Ma*. (2017) Recent advances in the study of bipolar/rod-shaped microglia and their roles in neurodegeneration. Frontier in Aging Neuroscience 9: 128.
  • G. Kumar#, N.P. Au#, E. N. Y. Lei, L. Mak, L. L. H. Chan, M. H. W. Lam, L. L. Chan, P. K. S. Lam, C.H. Ma*. (2017) Acute exposure to Pacific ciguatoxin reduces electroencephalogram activity and disrupts neurotransmitter metabolic pathways in motor cortex. Molecular Neurobiology 54: 5590-5603.
    • (#G.K. and N.P.A. contributed equally).
  • W.Y. Tam#, N.P. Au#, C. H. Ma*. (2016) The association between laminin and microglial morphology in vitro. Scientific Reports 6: 28580.
    • (#W.Y.T. and N.P.A. contributed equally).
  • N.P. Au, G. Kumar, P. Asthana, C. Tin, Y. L. Mak, L. L. Chan, P. K. S. Lam, C. H. Ma*. (2016) Ciguatoxin reduces regenerative capacity of axotomized peripheral neurons and delays functional recovery in pre-exposed mice after peripheral nerve injury. Scientific Reports 6: 26809.
  • P. Asthana, J.S.L. Vong, G. Kumar, R.C.C. Chang, G. Zhang, K.A. Sheikh, C.H. Ma*. (2015) Dissecting the role of anti-gangliosides antibodies in Guillain-Barré syndrome: an animal model approach. Molecular Neurobiology 53:4981-91.
    • (Featured as Front Cover Story).
  • W.Y. Tam and C. H. Ma*. (2014) Bipolar/rod-shaped microglia are proliferating microglia with distinct M1/M2 phenotypes. Scientific Reports 4: 7279.
  • N.P. Bennett Au, Y. Fang, N. Xi, K.W. Lai*, C.H. Ma*. (2014) Probing for chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy in live dorsal root ganglion neuron with atomic force microscopy. Nanomedicine: Nanotechnology, Biology, and Medicine 10: 1323-33.
  • J. Wang, B.T. Lang, A. Nord, S.A. Busch, N.P. Bennett Au, C.H. Ma, Y. Shen. (2014) Pleiotropic Molecules in Axon Regeneration and Neuroinflammation. Experimental Neurology 258: 17-23.
  • Y.M. Ho#, N.P. Bennett Au#, K.L. Wong, C.T.L. Chan, W.M. Kwok, G.L. Law, K.K. Tang, W.Y. Wong, C.H. Ma*, M.H.W. Lam*. (2014) A Lysosome-Specific Two-Photon Phosphorescent Binuclear Cyclometalated Platinum(II) Probe for In Vivo Imaging of Live Neuron. Chemical Communications 50: 4161-4163.
    • (Featured as Front Cover Story).
    • (#Y.M.H. and N.P.B.A. contributed equally).
  • L. Korngut, C.H. Ma, J.A. Martinez, C.C. Toth, G.F. Guo1, V. Singh, C.J. Woolf, D.W. Zochodne. (2012) Overexpression of human heat shock protein 27 protein protects sensory neurons from peripheral diabetic neuropathy in mice. Neurobiology of Disease 47: 436-43.
  • C.H. Ma, G.J. Brenner, T. Omura, O.A. Samad, M. Costigan, P. Inquimbert, V. Niederkofler, R. Salie, H.Y. Lin, S. Arber, G. Coppola, C.J. Woolf, and T.A. Samad. (2011) The BMP co-receptor RGMb promotes while the endogenous BMP antagonist Noggin reduces neurite outgrowth and peripheral nerve regeneration by modulating BMP signaling. Journal of Neuroscience 31: 18391-18400.
  • C.H. Ma*, T. Omura, E.J. Cobos, A. Latrémolière, N. Ghasemlou, G.J. Brenner, Ed van Veen, L.B. Barrett, T. Sawada, F. Gao, G. Coppola, F. Gertler, M. Costigan, D. Geschwind, C.J. Woolf*. (2011) Accelerating axonal growth produces motor recovery after peripheral nerve injury in mice. Journal of Clinical Investigation 121: 4332-4347.
  • C.H. Ma*, E.T.W. Bampton, M.J. Evans, J.S.H. Taylor. (2010) Synergistic effects of osteonectin and brain-derived neurotrophic factor on axotomized retinal ganglion cells neurite outgrowth via the mitogen-activated protein kinase-extracellular signal-regulated kinase 1/2 pathways. Neuroscience 165: 463-474.
  • C.H. Ma* and J.S.H. Taylor. (2010) Trophic responsiveness of purified postnatal and adult rat retinal ganglion cells. Cell and Tissue Research 339: 297-310.
  • C.H. Ma*, A. Palmer and J.S.H. Taylor. (2009) Synergistic effects of osteonectin and NGF in promoting survival and neurite outgrowth of superior cervical ganglion neurons. Brain Research 1289: 1-13.
  • R.S. Griffin, M. Costigan, G.J. Brenner, C.H. Ma, J. Scholz, A. Moss, A.J. Allchorne, G.L. Stahl and C.J. Woolf. (2007) Complement induction in spinal cord microglia results in anaphylatoxin C5a mediated pain hypersensitivity. Journal of Neuroscience 27: 8699-8708.
  • E.T.W. Bampton, C.H. Ma, A.M. Tolkovsky and J.S.H. Taylor. (2005) Osteonectin is a Schwann cell-secreted factor that promotes retinal ganglion cell survival and process outgrowth. European Journal of Neuroscience 21: 2611-2623.
  • R.C.C. Chang, K.C. Suen, C.H. Ma, W. Elyaman, H.K. Ng, J. Hugon. (2002) Involvement of double-stranded RNA-dependent protein kinase and phosphorylation of eukaryotic initiation factor-2alpha in neuronal degeneration. Journal of Neurochemistry 83: 1215-1225.