Prof. Kenneth M. Y. LEUNG

Chair Professor of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, Department of Chemistry
Associate Dean (Research and Postgraduate Education) of College of Science
Director of State Key Laboratory of Marine Pollution (City University of Hong Kong)

Contact Information
Office: YEUNG-B6513
Phone: +852 3442-7198
Fax: +852 3442-0522
Web: Personal website
  Google Scholar Citations
ORCID ID: 0000-0002-2164-4281
Research Interests
  • Environmental toxicology and chemistry
  • Marine pollution
  • Ecological risk assessment
  • Marine ecology and biodiversity conservation
  • Ecological restoration

Since August 2020, Professor Kenneth Leung has joined the Department of Chemistry (CHEM) in the City University of Hong Kong, where he also serves as the Director of the State Key Laboratory of Marine Pollution. Concurrently, he has been serving as Associate Dean (Research & Postgraduate Education) at the College of Science since 1st September 2022. He acted as the Acting Head of CHEM between December 2021 and March 2023.

Professor Leung is an alumnus of the City University of Hong Kong. He accomplished his Higher Diploma in Applied Sciences (Environmental Science & Technology) with distinction at the City Polytechnic of Hong Kong in 1992, a BSc degree in Applied Environmental Sciences with first class honours at the University of Portsmouth in 1993, and a MPhil degree in Environmental Science at the City University of Hong Kong in 1996. As a recipient of the Swire’s James Henry Scott PhD Scholarship, he received doctoral training at the University of Glasgow and obtained his PhD in Marine Ecotoxicology in 2000. He was subsequently awarded The Croucher Foundation Fellowship, enabling his postdoctoral study in ecological risk assessment of industrial chemicals at Royal Holloway, University of London (2000-2001).

He firstly joined the University of Hong Kong (HKU) as Research Assistant Professor in January 2002 and was promoted to Assistant Professor, Associate Professor (Tenured) and Professor in 2003, 2009 and 2013, respectively. During his tenure at HKU (January 2002 - July 2020), he also served as a Research Scientist at the Swire Institute of Marine Science (2002-2020), the Warden of Morrison Hall (2011-2017), the Associate Dean (Research and Graduate Studies) at Faculty of Science (2014-2016) and Acting/Interim Director of School of Biological Sciences (2018-2019). He is a founding Editor-in-Chief of Regional Studies in Marine Science, and serves on the Editorial Boards of Marine Pollution Bulletin, Ocean Science Journal, Fundamental Research, Water Biology and Security, and Journal of Hazardous Materials Letters. In recognition of his contributions to aquatic ecology and environmental toxicology in Asia-Pacific region, he was awarded the 19th Biwako Prize for Ecology by the Ecological Society of Japan, and conferred as a Fellow of the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry (SETAC) in 2017. In 2018, he was selected as one of the top 100 Asian Scientists by Asian Scientist Magazine. He was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry, and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Biology in May 2022 and July 2022, respectively.

He is currently serving as an expert member in various advisory committees (e.g. Advisory Council on Food and Environmental Hygiene, Advisory Council on the Environment, and Lantau Development Advisory Committee) for the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR). Owing to his professional achievements and dedicated community services, he was selected as one of the “Ten Outstanding Young Persons” for Hong Kong by Junior Chamber International in 2010. In 2018, he was appointed as a Justice of the Peace by the HKSAR Government. 


Professor Leung is passionate about finding ways to protect the marine environment and conserve biodiversity. His long-term career goal is to improve environmental quality through science and education. He trained eight MPhil and 29 PhD graduates. His research interests encompass marine pollution, ecotoxicology, environmental risk assessment, environmental quality benchmarks, marine ecology, biodiversity conservation and ecological restoration using eco-engineering. So far, he has published over 260 peer-reviewed articles in these areas (for more details, please visit his webpage: Some examples of his recent publications are shown below (*corresponding author):

  • Wang, Q., Ruan, Y.-F.*, Jin, L.-J., Tao, L.S.R., Lai, H., Li, G.-F., Yeung, L.W.Y., Leung, K.M.Y., Lam, P.K.S.* (2023). Legacy and emerging per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) in a subtropical marine food web: Suspect screening, isomer profile, and identification of analytical interference. Environmental Science & Technology, in press.
  • Zhao, L.-H., Teng, M.-M.*, Zhao, X.-L., Li, Y.X., Sun, J.-Q., Zhao, W.-T., Ruan Y.-F., Leung, K.M.Y., Wu, F.-C.* (2023). Insight into the binding model of per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances to proteins and membranes. Environment International 175: 107951.
  • Lai, R.W.S., Zhou, G.J.*, Kang, H.-M., Jeong, C.-B., Djurišić, A.B., Lee, J.-S., Leung, K.M.Y.* (2022). Contrasting toxicity of polystyrene nanoplastics to the rotifer Brachionus koreanus in the presence of zinc oxide nanoparticles and zinc ions. Aquatic Toxicology 253: 106332.
  • Zhang, K., Xu, S.-P., Zhang, Y., Lo, Y.K., Liu, M.-Y., Ma, Y., Chau, H.S., Cao, Y.-R., Wu, R.-B., Lin, H.-J., Lao, J.-Y., Tao, D.-Y., Lau, F.T.K., Chiu, S.C., Wong, G.T.N., Hui, K.W.K., Lee, K., Leung, K.M.Y.*, Lam, P.K.S.* (2022). A systematic study of microplastic occurrence in the urban water networks of a metropolis. Water Research 223: 118992.
  • Xu, Z., Wang, Y.*, Wu, F.-C.*, Feng, C.-L., Cheng, Y.-H., Dong, Z.-M., Kidd, K.A., Brooks, B.W., Leung, K.M.Y.* (2022). Sturgeons are biodiversity priorities needing special protection from chemicals and waste. Environmental Science and Technology 56: 9847-9850.
  • Li, A.J., Zhou, G.-J.*, Lai, R.W.S., Leung, P.T.Y., Wu, C.C., Zeng, E.Y., Lui, G.C.S., Leung, K.M.Y.* (2022). Extreme cold or warm events can potentially exacerbate chemical toxicity to the marine medaka fish Oryzias melastigma. Aquatic Toxicology 249: 106226.
  • Hong, P., Zhang, K., Dai, Y., Yuen, C.N.T., Gao, Y.-X., Gu, Y.-L., Leung, K.M.Y.* (2022). Application of aerobic denitrifier for simultaneous removal of nitrogen, zinc, and bisphenol A from wastewater. Bioresource Technology 354: 127192
  • Wilkinson, J.L.*, Boxall, A.B.A., Kolpin, D., Leung, K.M.Y., Lai, R.W.S. et al. (2022). Pharmaceutical pollution of the world’s rivers. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 19(8): e2113947119.
    • This paper was awarded the 2022 Cozzarelli Prize of PNAS (in the Category VI: Applied Biological, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences) on 30 April 2023. The annual Cozzarelli Prize aims to recognise the best paper in PNAS for each of the six subject categories ( This work also received the “2022 International Collaboration of the Year” Award from The Times Higher Education.
  • Tao, D.-Y., Zhang, K.*, Xu, S.-P., Lin, H.-J., Liu, Y., Kang, J.-L., Yim, T.W., Giesy, J.P., Leung, K.M.Y.* (2022). Microfibers released into the air from a household tumble dryer. Environmental Science & Technology Letters 9: 120-126.
  • Yang, Y., Zhang, X.-R.*, Jiang, J.-Y., Han, J.-R., Li, W.-X., Li, X.-Y., Leung, K.M.Y., Snyder, S.A., Alvarez, P.J.J. (2022). Which micropollutants in water environments deserve more attention globally? Environmental Science & Technology 56: 13-29.
  • Zhou, G.J.*, Ho, K.K.Y., Ip, J.C.H., Liu, S., Hu, J.Y., Giesy, J.P., Leung, K.M.Y.* (2021). Insights into the possible influence of natural retinoic acids on imposex induction in female marine gastropod. Environmental Science & Technology Letters 8: 1002-1008.
  • Mak, Y.K.Y., Tao, L.S.R.*, Ho, V.C.M., Dudgeon, D., Cheung, W.W.L., Leung, K.M.Y.* (2021). Initial recovery of demersal fish communities in coastal waters of Hong Kong, South China, following a trawl ban. Reviews in Fish Biology and Fisheries 32: 989-2007.
  • Ip, J.C.H., Leung, P.T.Y., Qiu, J.W., Lam, P.K.S., Wong, C.K.C., Chan, L.L., Leung, K.M.Y.* (2021). Transcriptomics reveal triphenyltin-induced molecular toxicity in the marine mussel Perna viridis. Science of the Total Environment 790: 148040.
  • Lai, R.W.S., Kang, H.-M., Zhou, G.J.*, Yung, M.N.M., He, Y.L., Ng, A.M.C., Li, X.Y., Djurišić, A.B., Lee, J.S., Leung, K.M.Y.* (2021). Hydrophobic surface coating can reduce toxicity of zinc oxide nanoparticles to the marine copepod Tigriopus japonicus. Environmental Science & Technology 55: 6917-6925.
  • Wang, Z., Leung, K.M.Y.*, Sung, Y.H., Dudgeon, D., Qiu, J.W.* (2021). Recovery of tropical marine benthos after a trawl ban demonstrates linkage between abiotic and biotic changes. Communications Biology 4: 212.
  • Sham, R.C.T., Ho, K.K.Y., Hui, T.T.Y., Zhou, G.J., Chan, J.K.Y., Leung, K.M.Y.* (2021). Tissue distribution of triphenyltin compounds in marine teleost fishes. Journal of Hazardous Materials 401, 123426.
  • Leung, K.M.Y.*, Yeung, K.W.Y., You, J., Choi, K.H., Zhang, X.W., Smith, R., Zhou, G.J., Yung, M.M.N., Arias-Barreiro, C., An, Y.J., Burket, S.R., Dwyer, R., Goodkin, N., Hii, Y.S., Hoang, T., Humphrey, C., Iwai, C.B., Jeong, S.W., Juhel, G., Karami, A., Kyriazi-Huber, K., Lee, K.C., Lin, B.L., Lu, B., Martin, P., Nillos, M.G., Oginawati, K., Rathnayake, I.V.N., Risjani, Y., Shoeb, M., Tan, C.H., Tsuchiya, M.C., Ankley, G.T., Boxall, A.B.A., Rudd, M.A., Brooks, B.W. (2020). Towards sustainable environmental quality: Priority research questions for Asia. Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry 39, 1485-1505.
  • Zhou, G.J., Lin, L., Li, X.Y., Leung, K.M.Y.* (2020). Removal of emerging contaminants during chemically enhanced primary sedimentation of sewage and acidogenic fermentation of sludge. Water Research 175: 115646.
  • Yeung, K.W.Y., Zhou, G.J., Hilscherova, K., Giesy, J.P., Leung, K.M.Y.* (2020). Current understanding on potential ecological risks of retinoic acids in aquatic environments. Environment International 136: 105464.

Awards and Honours

  • The Special Prize (Prize of the Korean Invention Promotion Association) and Gold Medal with Congratulations from the Jury for Excellent Efforts in Creating Invention on Eco-tiles for Enhancing Marine Biodiversity, at the 48th International Exhibition of Invention Geneva, Geneva, Switzerland (2023).
  • The President's Award of the City University of Hong Kong (2022).
    [This award recognizes faculty who have made exemplary contributions to research and professional education that have helped CityU achieve local and global distinction.]
  • Elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Biology (2022)
  • Elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry (2022)
  • Recognized as One of the Top 100,000 Scientists in the World by the (in Environmental Science & Engineering; (2022)
  • Recognized as One of the Top 2% Scientists in Marine Biology & Hydrobiology in the world by the Stanford-Elsevier Indicators, in the Category of Single Year Impact (October 2021).
  • Presidential Citation for Exemplary Service by Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, SETAC World Council (2019).
  • Certificate for Top Downloaded Article in Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry [2017-2018] by Wiley (2019).
  • Appointed as a Justice of the Peace by the Hong Kong SAR Government (2018).
  • Selected as One of the Top 100 Asian Scientists by the Asian Scientist Magazine [The Asian Scientist 100 – 2018 Edition] (2018).
  • The SETAC Fellows Award by the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry (2017).
  • The 19th Biwako Prize for Ecology by the Ecological Society of Japan (2017).
  • Outstanding Research Student Supervisor Award 2015-2016 by the University of Hong Kong (2016).
  • Certificate for Highly Cited Research in Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology, Part C [2013-2016] by Elsevier (2016).
  • Selected as one of the Ten Outstanding Young Persons by Junior Chamber International Hong Kong (2010).
  • Marine Pollution Bulletin Highly Cited Author Award [2005-2009] by Elsevier (2010).