CHENG, Shuk Han

Prof. CHENG, Shuk Han (鄭淑嫻)

Chair Professor of Molecular Medicine (BMS & MSE)

Associate Vice President (Research)

Director of Laboratory Safety and Risk Management (OVP(RT))

PhD (London)

  • 1B-207, 2/F, Block 1, To Yuen Building
  • +852 3442-9027
  • +852 3442-0549
  • CityU Scholars
  • Nature or nurture: molecular and chemical regulation of vertebrate embryonic development and adult organ regeneration

Prof. Shuk Han Cheng received her BSc (Hons) from the University of Hong Kong, majoring in Zoology. She received her PhD from the Royal Postgraduate Medical School, which is now part of the Imperial College, University of London. Her PhD work was on the cellular immune response of BCG vaccination, under the supervision of Prof. Denny Mitchison in the Department of Bacteriology, Hammersmith Hospital. She did postdoctoral training under the supervision of Prof. Tak Mak on molecular immune response of T cells, at the Ontario Cancer Institute in Toronto. Before joining CityU in 1997, she worked in the Departments of Paediatrics, and Orthopaedics and Traumatology, at The Chinese University of Hong Kong.

She has been awarded the Medal of Honour (MH) by the Hong Kong government in the 2022 Honours list, in recognition of her dedicated and valuable community service, particularly the contributions to the development of innovation and technology in Hong Kong. She also won many innovation awards at international exhibitions, including Grand Prix and Gold Medal as a co-inventor for the invention in vivo testing without animal experimentation at the 43rd International Exhibition of Inventions in 2015 and WIPO Medal for Inventors, A World-leading Non-animal in Vivo Testing Method presented by World Intellectual Property Organization at the 8th International Invention Fair in 2015. In addition, she has been awarded the Gold Medal at the 35th International Exhibition of Inventions, New Techniques and Products of Geneva in 2007, 2 gold awards from the Korean International Women’s invention Expositions in 2009 and 2010, Gold Award and also a Special Prize from the Patent Office of the Republic of Poland, for the invention of Rapid-identification Kit for Meat Ingredients in Processed Food and a Bronze Award for the invention Transgenic fish for high-throughput biomonitoring of Toxicants in 2011. She is the recipient of the 2015 CityU Outstanding Research Award.

She has published over 180 peer-reviewed research articles and some of them are among the Top 25 Hottest Articles in the Science Direct database. Her single year citations in 2020 and 2021 placed her amongst the top 2% most cited scientists in the subfield of Toxicology under the scientific field of Biomedical Research according to the Elsevier databases of science-wide citation indicators. Her H-factor is 45. To date she has supervised 30 graduate students, with 13 awarded PhD and another 8 awarded MPhil. She has also supervised 19 postdoctoral fellows. She is active in community service. Amongst the roles, she has served on the Advisory Committee on Admission of Quality Migrants and Professional (2016-2022); on the Scientific Review Committee of the Hong Kong Laureate Forum from 2021, on the Interview Panel of the Hong Kong Scholarship for Excellence Scheme (2015-2022), on the Assessment Panel of the Enterprise Support Scheme (ESS) Innovation and Technology Commission, and the Advisory Committee on Gifted Education, Education Bureau (2017-2021). She has served on the Editorial Board of the journal Nanomedicine: Nanotechnology, Biology and Medicine since 2010. She is an overseas Fellow of the Royal Society of Medicine (London) and Fellow of the Royal Society of Biology (United Kingdom). She also serves on the Board of Directors of Nano and Advanced Materials Institute Limited (NAMI) in Hong Kong since 2011, and acts as the chair of the Technical Committee in NAMI from 2017.

She takes great interest in teaching and mentoring undergrad students. She teaches the BSc course Technology for Regenerative Medicine and also coaches non-Biology major students on using biotechnology in business plans for entrepreneur competitions. She has been on the Scientific Advisory Board of the Biotechnology company Vitargent.

She also holds the concurrent appointment as Chair Professor of Molecular Medicine in the Department of Biomedical Sciences and Department of Materials Science and Engineering.

ORCID iD: 0000-0002-5822-7238
Scopus Author ID: 7404684691

Research Projects

The primary focus of the Cheng lab is to investigate how molecules and chemicals interact in regulating the fascinating processes of embryonic development and adult organ regeneration. Specifically, we investigate the functions of a family of transcription factors, encoded by the Iroquois homeobox genes, in patterning and specifying the development and functions of the heart and retina. Using the transparent zebrafish embryos as our model organism, we develop computational tools to augment and quantify bio-imaging data of gene expression domains and biodistribution of novel chemicals and nanomedicine. We also adapt the Electrocardiogram (ECG) to measure electric conductance and charges in the 2 mm long zebrafish embryos. Our unique capacity to combine bio-imaging and electrophysiology enables us to correlate different parameters of the cardiovascular anatomy and physiology to altered gene expression or to exposure to chemicals, such as toxicants and drugs. Expanding from this set of tools, we are synthesizing and testing nanomedicine which can overcome cancer drug resistance or exert anti-angiogenic actions. The zebrafish is also an amazing model of adult heart regeneration. We are currently using an interdisciplinary approach to extend this animal model for the development of novel cell- or nanomaterial-based therapeutics applicable for regenerative medicine. In collaboration with chemist, robotics engineer and nanomaterial scientist, we use emerging technologies to harvest and modify regenerating heart cells. Our long-term goal is to translate the zebrafish work back to mammals and contribute to the understanding and achievement of organ regeneration.


(for the full list of 189 journal publications refer to the CityU Scholars)

10 representative publications since 2019

  1. Chou O.H.I., Zhou J., Lee T.T.L., Kot T., Lee S., Wai A.K.C., Wong W.T., Zhang Q., Cheng S.H., Liu T., *Vassiliou V.S., *Cheung B.M.Y., *Tse G. (2022) Comparisons of the risk of myopericarditis between COVID-19 patients and individuals receiving COVID-19 vaccines: a population-based study. Clinical Research in Cardiology. doi: 10.1007/s00392-022-02007-0
  2. Chen S., Jiao Y., Pan F., Guan Z., Cheng S.H., *Sun D. (2022). Knock-in of a Large Reporter Gene via the High-Throughput Microinjection of the CRISPR/Cas9 System. IEEE Transactions on Biomedical Engineering, 8p. doi: 10.1109/TBME.2022.3149530. Aug 2022
  3. Xie F., Xu S., Lu Y., Wong K.F., Sun L., Hasan K.M.M., Ma A.C.H., Tse G., Manno S.H.C., Tian L., *Yue J., *Cheng S.H. (2021) Metformin accelerates zebrafish heart regeneration by inducing autophagy. npj Regenerative Medicine 6:62. doi: 10.1038/s41536-021-00172-w
  4. Gu J., Yan M., Leung P.T.Y., Tian L., Lam V.T.T., Cheng S.H., *Lam P.K.S. (2021) Toxicity effects of hydrophilic algal lysates from Coolia tropicalis on marine medaka larvae (Oryzias melastigma). Aquatic Toxicology, 234:105787 234, 105787. doi: 10.1016/j.aquatox.2021.105787
  5. Huang X., Tian L., Wang Z., Zhang J., Chan Y.S., *Cheng S.H.,* Yao X. (2020). Bioinspired robust all-aqueous droplet via diffusion-controlled interfacial coacervation. Advanced Functional Materials. doi: 10/1002/adfm.202004166. Sep 2020.
  6. Xu S., Zhang H., Pao P.-C., Lee A., Wang J., Chan Y.S., Manno F.A.M., Chan S.W., *Cheng S.H., *Chen X. (2020) Exposure to phthalates impaired neurodevelopment through estrogenic effects and induced DNA damage in neurons. Aquatic Toxicology, 222: May 2020 105469. doi: 10.1016/j.aquatox.2020.105469
  7. Li X., Xu S., Cheng S.H., *Sun, D. (2020) Simultaneous localization and mapping-based in vivo navigation control of microparticles. IEE Transactions on Industrial Informatics. 16, 5, p. 2956-2964 8660567. doi: 10.1109/TII.2019.2903118. May 2020
  8. Xu S., Xie F., Tian L., Fallah S., Babaei F., Manno S.H.C., Manno F.A.M., Zhu L/, Wong K.F., Liang Y., Ramalingam R., Sun L., Wang X., Plumb R., Gethings L., *Lam Y.W., *Cheng S.H. (2020) Estrogen accelerates heart regeneration by promoting the inflammatory response in zebrafish. Journal of Endocrinology, 245, 1, doi: 10.1530/joe-19-0413. Apr 2020
  9. Xu S, Xie F, Tian L, Manno SH, Manno FAM III, *Cheng SH. (2019) Prolonged neutrophil retention in the wound impairs zebrafish heart regeneration after cryoinjury. Fish and Shellfish Immunology, 2019 Sep 14;94:447-454. doi: 10.1016/j.fsi.2019.09.030. Nov 2019
  10. Liu C., *Cheng S.H., *Lin S. (2019) Illuminating the dark depths inside coral. Cellular Microbiology e13122. Oct 2019 doi: 10.1111/cmi.13122

1 June 2023

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