LAO, Xiangqian

LAO, Xiangqian (勞向前)

Associate Professor

Postdoc (Duke University)


  • 1A-210, 2/F, Block 1, To Yuen Building
  • +852 3442-4828
  • +852 3442-0549
  • CityU Scholars
  • Lab Website
  • Environmental Health (with a focus on Environmental Epidemiology) • Population Health • Air pollution and Health • Cohort study

Prof. Lao obtained his medical degree (Bachelor of Medicine) from Sun Yat-sen Medical University and then served as a Public Health Physician for many years in the Guangzhou No.12 Renmin Hospital (aka Guangzhou Occupational Disease Prevention and Treatment Hospital). He further pursued his Master of Medical Science in Peking Union Medical College and Doctor of Philosophy in the University of Hong Kong, respectively. He then went to the United States and received training in Genetic Epidemiology as a Post-Doctoral Fellow at Duke Institute for Genome Science & Policy at Duke Medical Center. Before joining City University of Hong Kong in 2023, Prof. Lao served as a Research Assistant Professor, Assistant Professor and Associate Professor (Tenured) at the JC School of Public Health and Primary Care, The Chinese University of Hong Kong.

Prof. Lao’s research focuses on population health. One of his specialities is the development and coordination of large-scale cohort projects to systematically investigate research questions related to health effects of air pollution. He has published his research work in a number of leading medicine journals including Circulation, The Lancet Planetary Health, JACI, EHP, IJE, AJE, BJSM, CMAJ, BMC Medicine, Hypertension and Diabetologia. Prof. Lao has been ranked as the top 2% of Most-cited Scientists by Stanford University since 2021. His research work has been widely reported in media and press such as Reuters, Associated Press, Newsweek and South China Morning Post. Prof. Lao was invited by Hong Kong government to review Hong Kong’s Air Quality Objectives. His research work has contributed to the well-being of society by raising public awareness regarding the health effects of air pollution and guiding policy development in terms of air pollution control and physical exercise promotion.

Position Availability

Postgraduate Students are welcome to join Prof. Lao’s research team. Scholarships are awarded to all successful applicants, including Hong Kong PhD Fellowship and University Scholarship. Interested candidates with a background of public health, epidemiology, biostatistics, data science, exposure assessment and health science are encouraged to send your CV and/or a summary of your past research experience to Prof. Lao at

Selected Publications

(* corresponding author and ___ students/postdoctoral fellows)

  1. Guo C, Zeng Y, Chang LY, Yu Z, Bo Y, Lin C, Lau AKH, Tam T, Lao XQ*. Independent and opposing associations of habitual exercise and chronic PM2.5 exposures on hypertension incidence. Circulation August 2020; 142(7): 645-656. (Selected for AHA press release)
  2. Guo C, Zhang Z, Lau AKH, Lin C, Chuang YC, Chan WMJ, Jiang WK, Tam T, Yeoh EK, Chan TC, Chang LY, Lao XQ*. Effect of long-term exposure to fine particular matter on lung function decline and risk of chronic obstruct pulmonary disease in Taiwan: a longitudinal, cohort study. The Lancet Planetary Health 2018; 2: e114-25
  3. Bo Y, Guo C, Lin C, Zeng Y, Li HB, Zhang Y, Hossain MS, Chan JWM, Yeung D, Kwok KO, Wong SYS, Lau AKH*, Lao XQ*. Effectiveness of non-pharmaceutical interventions on COVID-19 transmission in 190 countries. International Journal of Infectious Disease January 2021; 102: 247-253
  4. Liu X, Lao XQ*, Wong CCY, Tan L, Zhang Z, Wong TW, Tse LA, Lau APS, Yu ITS. Frequent use of household cleaning products is associated with rhinitis in Chinese children. Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology September 2016; 138: 754-760. (Selected for press release by university)
  5. Guo C, Yu T, Chang LY, Lin C, Yang HT, Bo Y, Zeng Y, Tam T, Lau AKH, Lao XQ*. Effects of air pollution and habitual exercise on the risk of death: a longitudinal cohort study.  Canadian Medical Association Journal August 2021; 193(32), E1240-E1249. (with commentary; selected for press release).
  6. Guo C, Bo Y, Chan TC, Zhang Z, Lin C, Tam T, Lau AKH, Chang LY, Hoek G, Lao XQ*. Does Fine Particulate Matter (PM2.5) Affect the Benefits of Habitual Physical Activity on Lung Function in Adults: A Longitudinal Cohort Study. BMC Medicine May 2020; 18: 134 (2020)
  7. Guo C, Tam T, Bo Y, Chang LY, Lao XQ*, Thomas GN. Habitual physical activity, renal function and chronic kidney disease: A cohort study of nearly 200,000 adults. British Journal of Sports Medicine October 2020; 54 (20), 1225-1230
  8. Lao XQ *, Deng HB, Liu X, Chan TC, Zhang Z, Chang LY, Yeoh EK, Tam T, Wong MCS, Thomas GN. Increased leisure-time physical activity associated with lower onset of diabetes in 44,828 adults with impaired fasting glucose. British Journal of Sports Medicine January 2019; 53(14): 895-900.
  9. Bo Y, Yu T, Chang LY, Guo C, Lin C, Zeng Y, Huang B, Tam T, Lau, AKH, Wong SYS, Lao XQ*. Combined effects of chronic PM2. 5 exposure and habitual exercise on cancer mortality: a longitudinal cohort study. International Journal of Epidemiology February 2022; 51(1), 225-236.
  10. Zhang Z, Chang LY, Lau AKH, Chan TC, Chuang Jackie, Chan Jimmy, Lin C, Jiang Kelvin, Dear K, Zee BCY, Yeoh EK, Hoek G, Tam THW, Lao XQ*. Satellite-Based Estimates of Long-Term Exposure to Fine Particulate Matter are associated with C - reactive protein in 30,034 Taiwanese Adults. International Journal of Epidemiology August 2017; 46: 1126-1136.
  11. Guo C, Hoek G, Chang LY, Bo Y, Lin C, Tam T, Huang B, Chan TC, Tam, T, Lau AKH, Lao XQ*. Long-Term Exposure to Ambient Fine Particulate Matter (PM2.5) and Lung Function in Children, Adolescents, and Young Adults: A Longitudinal Cohort Study. Environmental Health Perspectives December 2019; 127(12): 127008.
  12. Zhang Z, Guo C, Lau AKH, Chan TC, Chuang YC, Lin C, Jiang WK, Yeoh EK, Tam T, Woo KS, Yan BP, Chang LY, Wong MCS, Lao XQ*. Long-term Exposure to Fine Particulate Matter, Blood Pressure, and Incident Hypertension in Taiwanese Adults. Environmental Health Perspectives January 2018; 126(1): 017008
  13. Chan TC, Zhang Z, Lin BC, Lin C, Deng HB, Chuang YC, Chan WMJ, Jiang WK, Tam T, Chang LY, Hoek G, Lau AKH, Lao XQ *. Long-term exposure to ambient fine particulate matter and chronic kidney disease: a cohort study. Environmental Health Perspectives 2018; 126(10): 107002
  14. Bo Y, Chang LY, Guo C, Lin C, Lau AKH, Tam T, Yeoh EK, Lao XQ*. Reduced ambient PM2.5, better plasma glucose level, and decreased risk of type 2 diabetes in adults: a longitudinal cohort study. American Journal of Epidemiology 2021; 190(10): 2148-2157.
  15. Guo C, Yu T, Lin C, Chang L, Bo Y,  Wong MCS,  Tam T,  Lau AKH, Lao XQ*. Habitual exercise, air pollution and pneumonia mortality: A longitudinal cohort study of approximately 0.4 million adults. American Journal of Epidemiology
  16. Guo C, Yang HT, Chang LY, Bo Y, Lin C, Zeng Y, Tam T, Lau AKH, Hoek G, Lao XQ*. Habitual exercise is associated with reduced risk of diabetes regardless of air pollution: a longitudinal cohort study. Diabetologia June 2021; 64(6):1298-1308. (Selected for press release)
  17. Lao XQ*, Guo C, Chang LY, Bo Y, Zhang Z, Chuang YC, Jiang WK, Lin C, Tam T, Lau AKH, CY Lin, Chan TC. Long-term exposure to ambient fine particulate matter (PM2.5) and incident type 2 diabetes: A longitudinal cohort study. Diabetologia 2019; 62: 759-769 (cover page article)
  18. Bo Y, Yu T, Guo C, Lin C, Yang HT, Chang LY, Thomas GN, Tam T, Lau AKH, Lao XQ*. Cardiovascular Mortality, Habitual Exercise, and Particulate Matter 2.5 Exposure: A Longitudinal Cohort Study. American journal of preventive medicine 2023; 64: 250-258
  19. Lao XQ*, Zhang Z, Chang LY, Lau AKH, Chan TC, Chuang Jackie, Chan Jimmy, Lin C, Jiang Kelvin, Tam THW, Yeoh EK, Chang LY. Exposure to Ambient Fine Particulate Matter and Semen Quality in Taiwan. Occupational and Environmental Medicine October 2018; 75: 148-154. (Selected for BMJ press release)
  20. Bo Y, Brook JR, Lin C, Chang LY, Guo C, Zeng Y, Yu Z, Tam T, Lau AKH, Lao XQ*. Reduced ambient PM2.5 was associated with decreased risk of chronic kidney disease: a longitudinal cohort study. Environmental Science & Technology 2021; 55(10): 6876-6883.
  21. Bo Y, Guo C, Lin C, Chang LY, Chan TC, Huang B, Lee KP, Tam T, Lau AKH, Lao XQ*, Yeoh EK. Dynamic changes in long-term exposure to ambient PM2.5 and incidence of hypertension in adults: A natural experiment. Hypertension 2019; 74(3):669-677. (Selected as High Impact Paper in Hypertension)

9 February 2023

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