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

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

Dr. Kit Kwok obtained his B.Sc. in Chemistry (2009) from the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) under supervision of Professor Sik Lok Lam, during which his fascination with nucleic acids research was nurtured. To broaden his research experience, Dr. Kwok embarked on an exchange program at University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) in 2007-2008, where he worked under guidance from Professor Juli Feigon (member, NAS), which paved way for his acceptance into the Pennsylvania State University (PSU) in 2009 for an enriching Ph.D program mentored by Professor Philip C. Bevilacqua and Professor Sarah M. Assmann. During the course of his Ph.D studies, Dr. Kwok co-developed the first in vivo transcriptome-wide and targeted structure probing methods (Structure-Seq and DMS/SHAPE-LMPCR) that enable robust and sensitive measurement of RNA structures in living cells, which resulted in publications in Nature, Nature Communications, and Nature Protocols, and earned him the Alumni Association Dissertation Award in 2014. In 2014, Dr. Kwok commenced on a postdoctoral fellowship as a Croucher Fellow in University of Cambridge.  He worked with the internationally recognized leader in nucleic acids research and the principal inventor of next-generation sequencing (Solexa Sequencing), Professor Sir Shankar Balasubramanian FRS FMedSci.  Dr. Kwok conducted novel research on exploring the structures and functions of RNA G-quadruplexes in the human transcriptome, which resulted in publications in Nature Methods and Angewandte Chemie. In October 2016, Dr. Kwok's joined the faculty team at the City University of Hong Kong, where he is embarking on research in nucleic acid folding and gene regulation.

Research Vision

The key focus in Dr. Kwok's current research is the development and application of innovative chemical and molecular biology tools and next-generation sequencing (NGS) technologies to better understand the RNA structure-function relationship and elucidate the mechanistic roles of RNA in regulatory pathways, stress physiologies, cell differentiation, organism development, as well as disease pathology. Gaining from these insights, he aims to develop novel approaches to target the central RNA players and achieve controlled manipulation of gene expression in the biological systems of interest, with the hope to translate the basic scientific discoveries into medical and agricultural uses to advance the living quality of human beings.

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

Position Availability

We are looking for outstanding Postgraduate Students, Research Assistants, and Postdoctoral Fellows to join the Kwok research group. 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 Professor 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) or other funding agencies.

Selected Publications

*co-first authors          +corresponding author(s)

      Original Research

  • 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.)
  • Kwok, CK., Ding, Y., Shahid, S., Assmann, S.M., & Bevilacqua, P.C. A Stable RNA G-Quadruplex within the 5’UTR of Arabidopsis Thaliana ATR mRNA Inhibits Translation. Biochem. J. 467, 91-102 (2015). (Featured in HFSP website).
  • *Ding, Y., *Tang, Y., *Kwok, CK., Zhang, Y., Bevilacqua, P.C., & Assmann, S.M. In Vivo Genome-Wide Profiling of RNA Secondary Structures Reveal Novel Regulatory Features. Nature. 505, 696-700 (2014).(Featured on the cover, F1000 site http://f1000.com/prime/718185620, Nature 505, 621-622 (2014), Nat. Meth.11, 11 (2014) and Nat. Chem. Biol. 10, 87 (2014).)
  • Kwok, CK., Ding, Y., Tang, Y., Assmann, S.M., & Bevilacqua, P.C. Determination of In Vivo RNA Structure in Low-Abundance Transcripts. Nat. Commun. 4, 2971(2013). (Featured in Nat. Meth.11, 11 (2014).)
  • Kwok, CK., Sherlock, M.E. & Bevilacqua, P.C. Decrease in RNA Folding Cooperativity by Deliberate Population of Intermediates in RNA G-Quadruplexes. Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 52, 683-686 (2013). (Featured in F1000 site. http://f1000.com/prime/717970147.)

            Invited Reviews

  • +Kwok, CK., +Merrick, C.J. G-Quadruplexes: Prediction, Characterization, and Biological Application. Trends Biotechnol. (2017). DOI: 10.1016/j.tibtech.2017.06.012
  • +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.)