Prof. Kenneth K. W. LO
PhD (HK)

Professor of Department of Chemistry
Director of Talent and Education Development Office

Contact Information
Office: YEUNG-G6625
Phone: +852 3442-7231
Fax: +852 3442-0522
Email: bhkenlo@cityu.edu.hk
Web: Personal Homepage
ORCID ID: 0000-0002-2470-5916
Scopus Author ID: 26032181200
Research Interests
  • Analytical, Inorganic and Organometallic Chemistry
  • Photophysics and Photochemistry
  • Bioconjugation
  • Biomolecular and Cellular Probes
  • Photocytotoxic Reagents

Prof Kenneth Lo obtained his BSc (1993) and PhD (1997) degrees at The University of Hong Kong.  His PhD work centred on the design of luminescent transition metal complexes as DNA and metal-ion probes; and the photophysical and photochemical studies of luminescent polynuclear coinage metal chalcogenide complexes.  From 1997 to 1999, he worked as a Croucher Foundation Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the research groups of Prof H. Allen O. Hill, FRS and Dr Luet-Lok Wong of the Inorganic Chemistry Laboratory, University of Oxford.  He carried out research work on genetic engineering and electrochemistry of cytochrome P450cam and putidaredoxin.  Prof Lo joined the Department of Biology and Chemistry of City University of Hong Kong as Assistant Professor in 1999 and became Associate Professor (Scale B) in 2003, Associate Professor (Scale A) in 2007, and Professor in 2011.  He is currently the Programme Leader of BSc (Hons) Applied Chemistry/ Chemistry of the Department.  He was the Associate Head of the Department from 2010 to 2011.  At the College level, he is a member of the College Validation and Monitoring Committee (CVMC) and the College Graduate Studies Committee (CGSC).  At the University level, he is currently on the Academic Conduct Committee (ACC) under the Chow Yei Ching School of Graduate Studies.

Prof Lo's research interest is the utilization of luminescent inorganic and organometallic transition metal complexes as biomolecular and cellular probes, with a focus on the development of intracellular sensors, photoactive labels, and bioimaging reagents.  He received The APA Prize for Young Scientist from The Asian and Oceanian Photochemistry Association in 2005 and The Distinguished Lectureship Award from The Chemical Society of Japan in 2011.  He is currently on the Editorial Advisory Board of Inorganic Chemistry and is an Associate Editor of RSC Advances.  He will be one of the Chairs of the Gordon Research Conference Metals in Medicine 2018.  He was awarded a Croucher Senior Research Fellowship from the Croucher Foundation in 2015.


Google Scholar Citations

  • A. M.-H. Yip, C. K.-H. Lai, K. S.-M. Yiu and K. K.-W. Lo, “Phosphorogenic Iridium(III) bis-Tetrazine Complexes for Bioorthogonal Peptide Stapling, Bioimaging, Photocytotoxic Applications, and the Construction of Nanosized Hydrogels”, Angewandte Chemie International Edition, 2022, 61, e202116078. ( Link )
  • A. Carrod, F. Graglia, L. Male, C. Le Duff, P. Simpson, M. Elsherif, Z. Ahmed, H. Butt, G.-X. Xu and K. K.-W. Lo, P. Bertoncello, Z. Pikramenou, “Photo- and Electrochemical Dual-responsive Iridium Probe for Saccharide Detection”, Chemistry - A European Journal, 2022, 28, e202103541. ( Link )
  • J.-H. Zhu, G.-X. Xu, J. Shum, L. C.-C. Lee and K. K.-W. Lo, “Tuning the Organelle Specificity and Cytotoxicity of Iridium(III) Photosensitizers for Enhanced Phototheranostic Applications”, Chemical Communications, 2021, 57, 12008 - 12011. ( Link ).
  • P. K.-K. Leung, L. C.-C. Lee, T. K.-Y. Ip, H.-W. Liu, S.-M. Yiu, N. P. Lee and K. K.-W. Lo, “Luminescent Rhenium(I) Perfluorobiphenyl Complexes as Site-specific Labels for Peptides to Afford Photofunctional Bioconjugates”, Chemical Communications, 2021, 57, 11256 - 11259. ( Link )
  • G.-X. Xu, E. C.-L. Mak and K. K.-W. Lo, “Photofunctional Transition Metal Complexes as Cellular Probes, Bioimaging Reagents and Phototherapeutics”, Inorganic Chemistry Frontiers, 2021, 8, 4553 - 4579. ( Link )
  • G.-X. Xu, L. C.-C. Lee, C. W.-C. Kwok, P. K.-K. Leung, J.-H. Zhu and K. K.-W. Lo, “Utilization of Rhenium(I) Polypyridine Complexes Featuring a Dinitrophenylsulfonamide Moiety as Biothiol-Selective Phosphorogenic Bioimaging Reagents and Photocytotoxic Agents”, European Journal of Inorganic Chemistry, 2021, 34, 2021. (An invited article published in the Special issue entitled “Metals in Medicine”). (Link ). Cover picture ( Link ).
  • J.-H. Zhu, S.-M. Yiu, B. Z. Tang and K. K.-W. Lo, “Luminescent Neutral Cyclometalated Iridium(III) Complexes Featuring a Cubic Polyhedral Oligomeric Silsesquioxane for Lipid Droplet Imaging and Photocytotoxic Applications”, Inorganic Chemistry, 2021, 60, 11672 - 11683. ( Link )
  • H. I. Kremer, K. W. Leung, W. C. Wong, K. K.-W. Lo and M. W. K. Lee, “Design of Dielectric Resonator Antenna Using Dielectric Paste”, Molecules, 2021, 21, 4058. ( Link )
  • P. K.-K. Leung, L. C.-C. Lee, H. H.-Y. Yeung, K. W. Io and K. K.-W. Lo, "Bioorthogonal Control of the Phosphorescence and Singlet Oxygen Photosensitisation Properties of Iridium(III) Tetrazine Complexes", Chemical Communications, 2021, 57, 4914 – 4917. ( Link )
  • K. K.-W. Lo, "Preface: The 23rd International Symposium on the Photochemistry and Photophysics of Coordination Compounds (ISPPCC 2019)", Coordination Chemistry Reviews, 2021, 434, 213800 ( Link )
  • A.-Y. Law, L. C.-C. Lee, K. K.-W. Lo and V. W.-W. Yam, "Aggregation and Supramolecular Self-Assembly of Low-Energy Red Luminescent Alkynylplatinum(II) Complexes for RNA Detection, Nucleolus Imaging, and RNA Synthesis Inhibitor Screening", Journal of the American Chemical Society, 2021, 143, 5396 – 5405 ( Link )
  • L. C.-C. Lee, A. W.-Y. Tsang, H.-W. Liu and K. K.-W. Lo, "Photofunctional Cyclometalated Iridium(III) Polypyridine Complexes Bearing a Perfluorobiphenyl Moiety for Bioconjugation, Bioimaging, and Phototherapeutic Applications", Inorganic Chemistry, 2020, 59, 17496 – 14806 ( Link )
  • P. K.-K.- Leung and K. K.-W. Lo, "Modulation of emission and singlet oxygen photosensitisation in live cells utilising bioorthogonal phosphorogenic probes and protein tag technology", Chemical Communications, 2020, 56, 6074 – 6077 ( Link )
  • K. K.-W. Lo, "Preface: The 23rd International Symposium on the Photochemistry and Photophysics of Coordination Compounds (ISPPCC 2019)", Journal of Inorganic Biochemistry, 2020, 209, 111128 ( Link )
  • J. Shum, P.-Z. Zhang, L. C.-C. Lee and K. K.-W. Lo, "Bioorthogonal Phosphorogenic Rhenium(I) Polypyridine Sydnone Complexes for Specific Lysosome Labeling", ChemPlusChem, 2020, 85, 1374 – 1378 ( Link ). Cover Picture for Issue 7/2020 ( Link )
  • K. K.-W. Lo, "Molecular Design of Bioorthogonal Probes and Imaging Reagents Derived from Photofunctional Transition Metal Complexes", Accounts of Chemical Research, 2020, 53, 32 – 44 ( Link )
  • A. S.-Y. Law, L. C.-C. Lee, M. C.-L. Yeung, K. K.-W. Lo and V. W.-W. Yam, "Amyloid Protein-Induced Supramolecular Self-Assembly of Water-Soluble Platinum (II) Complexes: A Luminescence Assay for Amyloid Fibrillation Detection and Inhibitor Screening", Journal of the American Chemical Society, 2019, 141, 18570 – 18577 ( Link )
  • J.-H. Zhu, B. Z. Tang, and K. K.-W. Lo, "Luminescent Molecular Octopuses with a Polyhedral Oligomeric Silsesquioxane Core and Iridium(III) Polypyridine Arms: Synthesis, Aggregation Induced Emission, Cellular Uptake and Bioimaging Studies", Chemistry – A European Journal, 2019, 25, 10633 – 10641 ( Link ).
  • S. P.-Y. Li, V. M.-W. Yim, J. Shum and K. K.-W. Lo, "Iridium(III) Polypyridine Complexes with a Disulfide Linker as Biological Sensors and Cytotoxic Agents", Dalton Transactions, 2019, 48, 9692 – 9702 ( Link ) (under the theme "Diagnostics and Medical Applications" of the themed issue "d-Block Chemistry").
  • A. M.-H. Yip, J. Shum, H.-W. Liu, H. Zhou, M. Jia, N. Niu, Y. Li, C. Yu and K. K.-W. Lo, "Luminescent Rhenium(I) Polypyridine Complexes Appended with a Perylene Diimide or Benzoperylene Monoimide Moiety: Photophysics, Intracellular Sensing, and Photocytotoxic Activity", Chemistry – A European Journal, 2019, 25, 8970 – 8974 ( Link )
  • J. Shum, P. K.-K. Leung and K. K.-W. Lo, "Luminescent Ruthenium(II) Polypyridine Complexes for a Wide Variety of Biomolecular and Cellular Applications", Inorganic Chemistry, 2019, 58, 2231 – 2247 ( Link )
  • L. C.-C. Lee, H. M.-H. Cheung, H.-W. Liu and K. K.-W. Lo, "Exploitation of Environment-sensitive Luminophores in the Design of Novel Sydnone‐based Bioorthogonal Imaging Reagents", Chemistry – A European Journal, 2018, 24, 14064 – 14068 ( Link ).
  • K. Y. Zhang, P. Gao, G. Sun, T. Zhang, X. Li, S. Liu, Q. Zhao, K. K.-W. Lo, and W. Huang, "Dual-phosphorescent Iridium(III) Complexes Extending Oxygen Sensing from Hypoxia to Hyperoxia", Journal of the American Chemical Society, 2018, 140, 7827 – 7834. ( Link ).
  • A. M.-H. Yip and K. K.-W. Lo "Luminescent Rhenium(I), Ruthenium(II), and Iridium(III) Polypyridine Complexes Containing a Poly(ethylene glycol) Pendant or Bioorthogonal Reaction Group as Biological Probes and Photocytotoxic Agents", Coordination Chemistry Reviews, 2018, 361, 138 – 163 ( Link ).
  • L. C.-C. Lee, K.-K. Leung and K. K.-W. Lo, "Recent Development of Luminescent Rhenium(I) Tricarbonyl Polypyridine Complexes as Cellular Imaging Reagents, Anticancer Drugs, and Antibacterial Agents", Daltons Transactions, 2017, 46, 16357 – 16380 ( Link ).
  • C. T.-S. Lau, C. Chan, K. Y. Zhang, V. A. L. Roy and K. K.-W. Lo, "Photophysical, Cellular Uptake, and Bioimaging Studies of Luminescent Ruthenium(II) Polypyridine Complexes Containing a D-Fructose Pendant", European Journal of Inorganic Chemistry, 2017, 5288 – 5294 ( Link ). Included in the Cluster Issue entitled "Luminescent Materials: Metal Complexes, Clusters, and Nanomaterials" ( Link ). Guest Editorial ( Link ).
  • K. K.-S. Tso, H.-W. Liu and K. K.-W. Lo, "Phosphorogenic Sensors for Biothiols Derived from Cyclometalated Iridium(III) Polypyridine Complexes Containing a Dinitrophenyl Ether Moiety", Journal of Inorganic Biochemistry, 2017, 177, 412 – 422 ( Link ).
  • Y. Li, S. Yin, Y. Lu, H. Zhou, H. Jiang, N. Niu, H. Huang, L. Zhang, K. K.-W. Lo and C. Yu, "Choline Sensing Based on In Situ Polymerization of Aniline on the Surface of Upconverting Nanoparticles", Journal of Materials Chemistry B, 2017, 5, 7861 – 7865 ( Link ).
  • X. Huang, S. A. Shahzad, Y. Li, Y. Zhang, H. Zhou, H. Jiang, K. K.-W. Lo and C. Yu. "Silver Nanoclusters Capped Silica Nanoparticles as a Ratiometric Photoluminescence Nanosensor for the Selective Detection of I and S2−", Analytical Chimica Acta, 2017, 988, 74 – 80 ( Link ).
  • Y. Zhang, Y. Li, C. Zhang, Q. Zhang, X. Huang, M. Yang, S. A. Shahzad, K. K.-W. Lo and C. Yu and S. Jiang, "Fluorescence Turn-on Detection of Alkaline Phosphatase Activity Based on Controlled Release of PEI-capped Cu Nanoclusters from MnO2 Nanosheets", Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry, 2017, 409, 4771 – 4778 ( Link ).
  • H.-W. Liu, W. H.-T. Law, L. C.-C. Lee, J. C.-W. Lau and K. K.-W. Lo, “Cyclometalated Iridium(III) Bipyridine–Phenylboronic Acid Complexes as Bioimaging Reagents and Luminescent Probes for Sialic Acids”, Chemistry – An Asian Journal, 2017, 12, 1545 – 1556 ( Link ).
  • T. S.-M. Tang, H.-W. Liu and K. K.-W. Lo, “Monochromophoric Iridium(III) Pyridyl-tetrazine Complexes as a Unique Design Strategy for Bioorthogonal Probes with Luminogenic Behavior”, Chemical Communications, 2017, 53, 3299 – 3302 ( Link ). Cover Picture for Issue 23 ( Link ).
  • S. P.-Y. Li, A. M.-H. Yip, H.-W. Liu and K. K.-W. Lo, “Installing an Additional Emission Quenching Pathway in the Design of Iridium(III)-based Phosphorogenic Biomaterials for Bioorthogonal Labeling and Imaging", Biomaterials2016103, 305 – 313 ( Link ).
  • T. S.-M. Tang, H.-W. Liu and K. K.-W. Lo, “Structural Manipulation of Ruthenium(II) Polypyridine Nitrone Complexes to Generate Phosphorogenic Bioorthogonal Reagents for Selective Cellular Labelling”, Chemistry – A European Journal201622, 9649 – 9659 ( Link ).
  • K. K.-S. Tso, K.-K. Leung, H.-W. Liu and K. K.-W. Lo, “Photoactivatable Cytotoxic Agents Derived from Mitochondria-targeting Luminescent Iridium(III) Poly(ethylene glycol) Complexes Modified with a Nitrobenzyl Linkage”, Chemical Communications201652, 4557 – 4560 ( Link ).
  • L. C.-C. Lee, J. C.-W. Lau, H.-W. Liu and K. K.-W. Lo, “Conferring Phosphorogenic Properties on Iridium(III)-based Bioorthogonal Probes through the Modification with a Nitrone Unit”, Angewandte Chemie International Edition201655, 1046 – 1049 ( Link ).
  • K. K.-W. Lo, “Luminescent Iridium(III) and Rhenium(I) Complexes as Biomolecular Probes and Imaging Reagents”. Advances in Inorganic Chemistry201668, 97 – 140 ( Link ).
  • K. K.-W. Lo, “Luminescent Rhenium(I) and Iridium(III) Polypyridine Complexes as Biological Probes, Imaging Reagents, and Photocytotoxic Agents”, Accounts of Chemical Research201548, 2985 – 2995 (Link ).   Cover Picture for Issue 12 ( Link ).
  • T. S.-M. Tang, A. M.-H. Yip, K. Y. Zhang, H.-W. Liu, P. L. Wu, K. F. Liu, K. W. Cheah and K. K.-W. Lo, “Bioorthogonal Labeling, Bioimaging, and Photocytotoxicity Studies of Phosphorescent Ruthenium(II) Polypyridine Dibenzocyclooctyne Complexes”, Chemistry – A European Journal201521, 10729 – 10740  (Link ;).
  • K. Y. Zhang, H.-W. Liu, M.-C. Tang, A. W.-T. Choi, N. Zhu, X.-G. Wei, K.-C. Lau and K. K.-W. Lo, “Dual-Emissive Cyclometalated Iridium(III) Polypyridine Complexes as Ratiometric Biological Probes and Organelle-Selective Bioimaging Reagents”, Inorganic Chemistry201554, 6582 – 6593 ( Link ).
  • K. K.-W. Lo and K. K.-S. Tso, “Functionalization of Cyclometalated Iridium(III) Polypyridine Complexes for the Design of Intracellular Sensors, Organelle-targeting Imaging Reagents, and Metallodrugs”, Inorganic Chemistry Frontiers20152, 510 – 524 ( Link ).
  • A. W.-T. Choi, H.-W. Liu and K. K.-W. Lo, “Rhenium(I) Polypyridine Dibenzocyclooctyne Complexes as Phosphorescent Bioorthogonal Probes: Synthesis, Characterization, Emissive Behavior, and Biolabeling Properties”, Journal of Inorganic Biochemistry2015, 148, 2 – 10 ( Link ). The 12th European Biological Inorganic Chemistry Conference (EuroBIC 12) ( Link ).
  • W.-T. Choi, K. K.-S. Tso, V. M.-W. Yim, H.-W. Liu and K. K.-W. Lo, “Modification of 1,2,4,5-Tetrazine with Cationic Rhenium(I) Polypyridine Units to Afford Phosphorogenic Bioorthogonal Probes with Enhanced Reaction Kinetics”, Chemical Communications201551, 3442 – 3445 ( Link ).
  • K. K.-W. Lo, T. S.-M. Tang, K.-K. Leung, M.-W. Louie, H.-W. Liu and S. H. Cheng, “Phosphorescent Biscyclometalated Iridium(III) Ethylenediamine Complexes Functionalized with Polar Ester or Carboxylate Groups as Bioimaging and Visualization Reagents”, Dalton Transactions201544, 4945 – 4956 ( Link ).  Dalton Discussion 15: Metal Ions in Medical Imaging: Optical, Radiopharmaceutical and MRT Contrast (Link ).
  • A. W.-T. Choi, V. M.-W. Yim, H.-W. Liu and K. K.-W. Lo, “Rhenium(I) Polypyridine Diamine Complexes as Intracellular Phosphorogenic Sensors: Synthesis, Characterization, Emissive Behavior, Biological Properties, and Nitric Oxide Sensing”, Chemistry  A European Journal201420, 9633 – 9642 ( Link ).
  • W. H.-T. Law, K.-K. Leung, L. C.-C. Lee, C.-S. Poon, H.-W. Liu and K. K.-W. Lo, “Cyclometalated Iridium(III) Bipyridyl–Phenylenediamine Complexes with Multicolor Phosphorescence: Synthesis, Electrochemistry, Photophysics, and Intracellular Nitric Oxide Sensing”, ChemMedChem20149, 1316 – 1329 ( Link ).
  • K. Y. Zhang and K. K.-W. Lo, Metal Complexes for Cell and Organism Imaging. In Inorganic Chemical Biology: Principles, Techniques and Applications; G. Gasser Ed.; John Wiley & Sons: UK, 2014, pp 99 – 148 ( Link ).
  • J. Liu, K.-K. Yee, K. K.-W. Lo, K. Y. Zhang, W.-P. To, C.-M. Che and Z. Xu, “Selective Ag(I) Binding, H2S Sensing, and White-Light Emission from an Easy-to-Make Porous Conjugated Polymer”, Journal of the American Chemical Society2014136, 2818 – 2824 ( Link ).
  • S. P.-Y. Li and K. K.-W. Lo, “Utilization of the Photophysical and Photochemical Properties of Phosphorescent Transition Metal Complexes in the Development of Photofunctional Cellular Sensors, Imaging Reagents, and Cytotoxic Agents”, RSC Advances20144, 10560 – 10585 ( Link ).
  • W. H.-T. Law, L. C.-C. Lee, M.-W. Louie, H.-W. Liu, T. W.-H. Ang and K. K.-W. Lo, "Phosphorescent Cellular Probes and Uptake Indicators Derived from Cyclometalated Iridium(III) Bipyridine Complexes Appended with a Glucose or Galactose Entity", Inorganic Chemistry, 201352, 13029 – 13041 ( Link ).
  • K. Y. Zhang, K. K.-S. Tso, M.-W. Louie, H.-W. Liu and K. K.-W. Lo, "A Phosphorescent Rhenium(I) Tricarbonyl Polypyridine Complex Appended with a Fructose Pendant That Exhibits Photocytotoxicity and Enhanced Uptake by Breast Cancer Cells", Organometallics201332, 5098 – 5102 ( Link ).
  • K. Y. Zhang and K. K.-W. Lo, Chemosensing and Diagnostics. In Coordination and Organometallic Chemistry (Volume 8) of Comprehensive Inorganic Chemistry II; V. W.-W. Yam Ed.; Elsevier: Amsterdam, 2013, pp 657 – 732 ( Link ).
  • S. P.-Y. Li, C. T.-S. Lau, M.-W. Louie, Y.-W. Lam, S.-H. Cheng and K. K.-W. Lo, "Mitochondria-targeting Cyclometalated Iridium(III)–PEG Complexes with Tunable Photodynamic Activity", Biomaterials2013, 34, 7519 – 7532 ( Link ).
  • K. K. W. Lo, W. H. T. Law, J. C. Y. Chan, H. W. Liu and K. Y. Zhang, "Photophysical and Cellular Uptake Properties of Novel Phosphorescent Cyclometallated Iridium(III) Bipyridine D-Fructose Complexes", Metallomics20135, 808 – 812 ( Link ).  An invited paper included in the Themed Issue Metallomics in China.
  • Y. S. Chung, S. P. Y. Li, M. W. Louie, K. K. W. Lo and V. W. W. Yam, "Induced Self-assembly and Disassembly of Water-soluble Alkynylplatinum(II) Terpyridyl Complexes with “Switchable” Near-infrared (NIR) Emission Modulated by Metal–Metal Interactions over Physiological pH: Demonstration of pH-responsive NIR Luminescent Probes in Cell-imaging Studies", Chemical Sciences20134, 2453 – 2462 (Link ).
  • X. Chen, G. Zhu, Y. Yang, B. Wang, L. Yan, K. Y. Zhang, K. K.-W. Lo and W. Zhang, “A Diamond Nanoneedle Array for Potential High-Throughput Intracellular Delivery", Advanced Healthcare Materials, 20132, 1103 – 1107 ( Link ).  Cover Picture for Issue 8 ( Link ).
  • A. W.-T. Choi, C.-S. Poon, H.-W. Liu, H.-K. Cheng and K. K.-W. Lo, “Rhenium(I) Polypyridine Complexes Functionalized with a Diaminoaromatic Moiety as Phosphorescent Sensors for Nitric Oxide, New Journal of Chemistry201337, 1711 – 1719 ( Link ).  An invited paper included in the China Souvenir Special Issue.  Cover Picture for Issue 6 ( Link ).
  • K. K. W. Lo, B. T. N. Chan, H. W. Liu, K. Y. Zhang, S. P. Y. Li and T. S. M. Tang, “Cyclometalated Iridium(III) Polypyridine Dibenzocyclooctyne Complexes as the First Phosphorescent Bioorthogonal Probes”, Chemical Communications201349, 4271 – 4273 ( Link ).