Dr. Chun Kit KWOK (Kit)

PhD (Pennsylvania State University), Postdoc (University of Cambridge)

Assistant Professor of Department of Chemistry


Contact Information

Office: YEUNG-B6608
Lab: YEUNG-P2405
Phone: +852 3442-6858
Fax: +852 3442-0522
Email: ckkwok42@cityu.edu.hk
Twitter: @kitkwok6
Web: Personal Homepage
ORCID ID: 0000-0001-9175-8543
Author ID:

Research Interests

  • RNA Biology
  • Chemical Biology
  • Nucleic Acids
  • G-Quadruplex
  • Gene Regulation
  • Aptamer

Dr. Kit Kwok obtained his B.Sc. in Chemistry (2009) from the Chinese University of Hong Kong, after completing an exchange program at University of California, Los Angeles in 2007-2008. He completed his PhD in Pennsylvania State University (2014), mentored by Professor Philip C. Bevilacqua and Professor Sarah M. Assmann. In Apr 2014, Dr. Kwok worked as a Croucher Postdoctoral Fellow in University of Cambridge under Professor Sir Shankar Balasubramanian. In Oct 2016, Dr. Kwok's joined the City University of Hong Kong as an Assistant professor.  In Dec 2019, he was awarded the CityU President’s Award.

Dr. Kwok’s current research focus is to explore the role of RNA structures and interactions in biology, especially the functions of G-quadruplex structures/interactions and long non-coding RNA structures/interactions in the mammalian transcriptome and their relevance to gene regulation, RNA metabolism and diseases. A new research direction in the Kwok lab is to develop targeting tools for detection, imaging, or intervention of these important RNA structures and interactions. See Research for more details.

To cultivate a stimulating learning environment for students and to establish RNA community in Hong Kong, Dr. Kwok, together with Dr. Minh Le, has founded the Hong Kong RNA Club in Aug 2017 and organized RNA seminar and symposium events regularly. (http://www.kitkwok.com/hk-rna-club.html).

Research Vision

The discovery of new classes of RNA with regulatory functions have challenged the central dogma of molecular biology and caused a paradigm shift in biological, medical, and agricultural research. RNA plays a crucial role in regulation of gene expression in normal and stress physiology; however, the RNA structure-function relationship and the underlying biochemical mechanism remain elusive. My research focus is to develop biochemical technologies to decipher the hidden layers of information in RNA such as RNA structure; identify the RNA binding partners and molecular basis of interactions; and elucidate the mechanistic roles of RNA in regulatory pathways, stress physiologies, cell differentiation/organism development, as well as disease pathology. My long-term ambition is to uncover the central RNA players in stress physiologies and diseases that could reveal novel RNA-mediated gene regulations, as well as to develop targeting strategies via chemical, aptamer and CRISPR approaches for manipulation of gene expression and potential biotechnological applications, bringing my research closer relevance to improving the quality of human life.

For more details about Dr. Kwok’s current research and team, please click here.

Position Availability

We are looking for outstanding PhD Students and Postdoctoral Fellows to join the Kwok Lab. Researchers within the group will be exposed to diverse chemical and biochemical techniques at our laboratory in the Department of Chemistry.

If you are interested to join the group, please kindly send your i) cover letter, ii) academic transcripts and GPA, and iii) CV which includes a summary of past research experience and publication records, and your research interests to Dr. Kwok: (email: ckkwok42@cityu.edu.hk).

We strongly encourage and support eligible PhD and Postdoc applicants to apply for their own support, either from the Hong Kong PhD Fellowship Scheme (https://cerg1.ugc.edu.hk/hkpfs/index.html), RGC Postdoctoral Fellowship Scheme (https://www.ugc.edu.hk/eng/rgc/funding_opport/pdfs.html) or other funding agencies.

Selected Publications

*co-first authors          +corresponding author(s)

      Original Research

  • Chan, C. Y., & +Kwok, C. K. Specific Binding of a D‐RNA G‐Quadruplex Structure with an L‐RNA Aptamer. Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 59, 5293 –5297 (2020).
  • Lyu, K., Chen, S. B., Chan, C. Y., Tan, J. H., & +Kwok, C. K. Structural analysis and cellular visualization of APP RNA G-quadruplex. Chemical Science. 10, 11095 - 11102 (2019).
  • Yeung, P.Y., Zhao, J., Chow, E.Y.C., Mou, X., Hong, H.Q., Chen, L.L., Chan, T.F., +Kwok, C.K. Systematic evaluation and optimization of the experimental steps in RNA G-quadruplex structure sequencing. Sci. Rep. 9, 8091 (2019).
  • Chan, C.Y., Umar, M.I., +Kwok, C.K. Spectroscopic analysis reveals the effect of a single nucleotide bulge on G-quadruplex structures. Chem Comm. 55, 2616 - 2619 (2019).
  • Chan, K.L., Peng, B., Umar, M.I., Chan, C.Y., Sahakyan, A.B., Le, M.T.N., +Kwok, C.K. Structural Analysis Reveals Formation and Role of RNA G-Quadruplex Structures in Human Mature MicroRNAs. Chem Comm. 54, 10878-10881 (2018).
  • Kwok, CK., Marsico, G., Sahakyan, A., Chambers V.S., Balasubramanian, S. rG4-Seq Reveals Widespread Formation of G-Quadruplex Structures in the Human Transcriptome. Nat. Methods 13, 841-844 (2016).
  • Kwok, CK., Sahakyan, A., Balasubramanian, S. Structural Analysis using SHALiPE to Reveal RNA G-Quadruplex Formation in Human Precursor MicroRNA. Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 55, 8958-8961 (2016).
  • *Crenshaw, E., *Leung, B.P., *Kwok, CK., Olson, K., Sebastian, N.P., Ansaloni, S., Schweitzer-Stenner, R., Akins, M.P., Bevilacqua, P.C., & Saunders, A.J. Amyloid Precursor Protein Translation is Regulated by a 3’UTR Guanine Quadruplex. PloS One.10 (11): e0143160. (2015).
  • *Ding, Y., *Kwok, CK., Tang, Y., Bevilacqua, P.C., & Assmann, S.M. Structure-Seq: Genome-Wide Profiling of In Vivo RNA Structure at Single Nucleotide Resolution. Nat. Protoc. 10 1050-1066 (2015).
  • Kwok, CK., & Balasubramanian, S. Targeted Detection of G-Quadruplexes in Cellular RNAs. Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 54, 6751-6754 (2015). (Selected as Hot Paper.)

            Invited Reviews or Featured Articles

  • Umar, M.I.; Ji, D.; Chan, C.-Y.; +Kwok, C.K. G-Quadruplex-Based Fluorescent Turn-On Ligands and Aptamers: From Development to Applications. Molecules 24, 2416 (2019).
  • Qian, X., Zhao, J., Yeung, P.Y., Zhang, Q.F.C., +Kwok, C.K., Revealing LncRNA Structures and Interactions by sequencing-based approaches. Trends Biochem. Sci. 44, 33-52 (2019).
  • +Kwok, CK., Marsico, G., +Balasubramanian, S. Detecting RNA G-quadruplexes (rG4s) in the Transcriptome. Cold Spring Harb Perspect Biol. 10:a032284 (2018).
  • +Ding, Y., +Kwok, CK. Emergence of Vascular Plants. Nature Plants 4, 325–326 (2018).
  • +Kwok, CK., +Merrick, C.J. G-Quadruplexes: Prediction, Characterization, and Biological Application. Trends Biotechnol. 35, 997–1013 (2017).
  • +Kwok, CK., Dawn of the In Vivo RNA Structuome and Interactome. Biochem Soc. Trans. 44, 1395-1410 (2016).
  • +Kwok, CK., Tang, Y., +Assmann, S.M., & +Bevilacqua, P.C. The RNA Structurome: Transcriptome-Wide Structure Probing using Next-Gen Sequencing. Trends Biochem. Sci. 40, 221-232 (2015). (Featured on the cover)