Dr. Doris W T AU

PhD (HK), CBiol, MIBiol

Associate Professor of Department of Chemistry
Member of State Key Laboratory of Marine Pollution (City University of Hong Kong)


Contact Information

Office: YEUNG-B6527
Phone: +852 3442-9710
Fax: +852 3442-0522
Email: bhdwtau@cityu.edu.hk
ORCID ID: 0000-0003-4490-5971
Scopus Author ID: 7004909228

Research Interests

  • Environment and human health
  • Molecular and cellular toxicology
  • Biomarker development
  • Medaka models
  • Transgenerational inheritance
  • Epigenetics

Dr. Doris WT Au, Ph.D. (The University of Hong Kong and Portsmouth University, UK), is currently Associate Professor in the Department of Chemistry, City University of Hong Kong.

The DA lab is interested in toxicology research. Her team applies omics, molecular, biochemical and cellular approaches, together with relevant whole organismal phenotypic endpoints, to identify underlying mechanisms and to predict population level consequences. Her current research is focused on the investigation of multigenerational toxicity, with special interest in studying transgenerational inheritance of skeletal deformity, reproductive and immune impairments induced by environmental contaminants and physical stresses (including endocrine disruptors, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, hypoxia) using various medaka models.  The primary goals are for elucidating the underlying epigenetic/genetic mechanisms, developing novel prognostic/diagnostic epigenetic biomarkers and assessment of ecological and public health risks. She also has a keen interest in studying telomere and telomerase biology in fish and developing medaka as an alternative vertebrate model for aging research. Dr Au has over 120 peer reviewed publications and delivered over thirty invited symposia/plenary/ keynote lectures.

In 2015, Dr Au received the Brain Pool Fellowship, awarded by the prestigious Korean Federation of Science and Technology Societies, South Korea. She was also the Distinguished Lecturer in Toxicology, awarded by the Toxicology Centre, University of Saskatchewan, Canada in 2008. Dr Au is currently the co-Chair of the International Scientific Committee for the International Symposium on Toxicity Assessment (ISTA), which is a signature toxicology symposia series since 1983.  She is/was the guest editor for the journals Marine Pollution Bulletin and Environmental Science & Pollution Research, editorial board of the Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety.


  • Consultant for many milestone projects (with total contract value exceeded $22M) commissioned by the Hong Kong SAR government, including the development of bioindicator systems for marine pollution monitoring, development of chronic tests for toxicity identification and impact assessment, and establishment of marine water quality standards for Hong Kong.
  • Member of eight Council/Board/Advisory Committee, appointed by the Hong Kong SAR Government, including the Veterinary Surgeons Board of Hong Kong (VSB), the Food and Heath Bureau (the Council on Human Reproductive Technology and the Advisory Council on Food and Environmental Hygiene), the Environment Bureau (the Appeal Board), the Commerce and Economic Development Bureau (the Appeal Board), the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD).
  • Organizer/lecturer of over ten regional training courses for various international organizations (including United Nations and APEC), the State Key Laboratory in Marine Pollution and State Key Laboratory of Marine Environmental Sciences in China.
  • Chair/Secretary/Committee member of thirteen international conferences/symposia.


Full Publication List

Doris AU has published 114 SCI papers including two Nature Communication and one Nature Medicine, 9 peer reviewed book chapters, over 150 conference abstracts/invited conference proceedings/ conference papers.

Ten selected publications in the past five years

  • Wang SY, et al, Au DWT, Wong AST, Kong RYC, and Wu RSS (2016) Hypoxia causes transgenerational impairments in reproduction of fish. Nature Communication Vol 7, p 12114, doi: 10.1038/ncomms12114.
  • Seemann F, Jeong CB, Zhang G, Wan MT; Guo BS; Peterson DR; Lee JS; Au DWT (2017) Ancestral benzo(a)pyrene exposure affects bone integrity in F3 adult fish (Oryzias latipes), Aquatic Toxicology 183:127-134 (http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.aquatox.2016.12.018).
  • Seemann F, Peterson DR, Witten PE, Guo BS, Shantanagouda AH, Ye R, Zhang G, Au DWT (2015). Insight into the transgenerational effect of BaP on bone formation in a teleost fish (Oryzias latipes). Comp. Biochem. Physiol. Part C. Toxicol. Pharmacol. doi:10.1016/j.cbpc.2015.10.001.
  • Li D, et al., AU DWT, Peng S, Zhang Z, Zhang B, Pan X, Qian A, Shang P, Xiao L, Jiang B, Wong CK, Xu J, Bian Z, Liang Z, Guo D, Zhu H, Tan W, Lu A and Zhang G (2016) "Osteoclast-derived exosomal miR-214-3p inhibits osteoblastic bone formation", Nature Communications, Vol 7, March 2016, p 10872, doi: 10.1038/ncomms10872.
  • Liang C, Guo B, Wu H, Shao N, Li D, Liu J, Dang L, Wang C, Li H, Li, S, Lau, W K, Cao, Y, Yang, Z, Lu, C, He, X, AU DWT et al, and Zhang G. (2015) Aptamer-functionalized lipid nanoparticles targeting osteoblasts as a novel RNA interference-based bone anabolic strategy", Nature Medicine, 21(3) p 288, doi: 10.1038/nm.3791.
  • Shanthanagouda AH, Guo BS, Ye RR, Chao L, Chiang MWL, Gopalakrishnan S, Cheung NKM, Zhang G, AU DWT. (2014). Japanese medaka: A non-mammalian vertebrate model for studying sex and age-related bone metabolism in vivo. PLoS One 2014, 9:2 e88165 (Doi:10.1371/journal.pone. 0088165).
  • Gopalakrishnan S, Cheung NKM, Yip BWP, Au DWT (2013) Medaka fish exhibits longevity gender gap, a natural drop in estrogen and telomere shortening during aging: A unique model for studying sex dependent longevity. Frontier in Zoology 2013, 10:78 (DOI: 10.1186/10.1186/1742-9994-10-78).
  • Tao Y, Mao XZ, Hu JY, Mok HOL, Wang LY, Au DWT*, Zhu J, Zhang XH (2013) Mechanisms of photosynthetic inactivation on growth suppression of Microcystis aeruginosa under UV-C stress. Chemosphere (93) 637-644.
  • Ye RR, Lei ENY, Lam MHW, Chan AKY, Bo J, van de Merwe JP, Fong ACC, Yang MMS, Lee JS, Segner HE, Wong CKC, Wu RSS, Au DWT (2012) Gender specific modulation of immune system complement genes expression in marine medaka Oryzias melastigmas following dietary exposure of BDE-47. Environmental Science and Pollution Research 19:2477-2487.
  • Leung YH, Chan CMN, Ng AMC, Chan HT, Chiang MWL, Djurisic AB, Ng YH, Jim WY, Guo MY, Leung FCC, Chan WK and AU DWT (2012) Antibacterial activity of ZnO nanoparticles with a modified surface under ambient illumination", Nanotechnology 23(47) p475703 (doi: 10.1088/0957-4484/23/47/475703).

Ten selected publications before 2011

  • Bo J., Cai L, Xu JH, Wang KJ, Au DWT (2011) The marine medaka Oryzias melastigma – A potential marine fish model for innate immune study. Marine Pollution Bulletin 63: 267-276.
  • Kong RYC, Giesy JP, Wu RSS, Chen EXH, Chiang MWL, Lim PL, Yuen BBH, Yip BWP, Mok HOL, Au DWT (2008) Development of a marine fish model for studying in vivo molecular responses in ecotoxicology. Aquatic Toxicology 86, 131-141.
  • Tao Y, Zhang XH, Au DWT*, Mao XZ, Yuan K. (2010) The effects of sub-lethal UV-C irradiation on growth and cell integrity of cyanobacteria and green algae. Chemosphere 78:541-547.
  • Padilla S, Cowden J, Hinton DE, Johnson R, Flynn K, Hardman RC, Yuen BH, Law S., Kullman SW, Au DWT (2009). Use of Medaka in Toxicity Testing. In: Current protocols in toxicology 1.10.1-1.10.36. John Wiley & Sons. Inc.
  • Wang HH, Wang YX., Leung CF, Au DWT, Xuan S, Chak CP, Lee SKM, Sheng H, Zhang G, Qin L, Griffith JF, Ahuja AT (2009) Durable mesenchymal stem cell labelling by using polyhedral superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles Chemistry: A European Journal 15(45): 12417 – 12425.
  • Zhang XW, Hecker M, Park JW, Tompsett AR, Newsted J, Nakayama K, Jones PD, Au DWT, Kong R, Wu RSS, Giesy JP (2008) Real time PCR array to study effects of chemicals on the Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Gonadal axis of the Japanese medaka. Aquatic Toxicology 88, 173-182.
  • Tam HK, Djurisic AB, Chan CMN, Xi YY, Tse CW, Leung YH, Chan WK, Leung FCC, Au DWT (2008) Antibacterial activity of ZnO nanorods prepared by hydrothermal method. Thin Solid Films 516, 6167-6174.
  • Au DWT (2004) The application of histo-cytopathological biomarkers in marine pollution monitoring: A review. Marine Pollution Bulletin 48, 817-834.
  • Au DWT, Pollino CA, Wu RSS, Shin PKS, Lau STF, Tang JYM (2004) Chronic effects of suspended solids on gill structure, osmoregulation, growth, and triiodothyronine in juvenile green grouper (Epinephelus coioides). Marine Ecology Progress Series. 266:255-264.
  • Au DWT, Chiang MWL, Tang JYM, Yuen BBH, Wang YL, Wu RSS (2002). Impairment of sea urchin sperm quality by UV-B radiation: predicting fertilization success from sperm motility. Marine Pollution Bulletin 44: 583-589.


  • Estrogenic chemicals impair immune function and reproduction in fish: Unraveling gender specific effects and underlying mechanisms.
  • Understanding the relationship between gender, estrogen and telomere biology in fish: Towards developing an alternative vertebrate model for aging studies.
  • Cytological changes and turnover of fish intestinal cells upon chronic exposure to dietary benzo[a]pyrene: Relating biochemical markers to pathological responses.
  • Enhanced UV-B radiation on phototaxis and settlement of barnacle larvae, in relation to cytological changes in larval eyes.
  • Pathological studies on fish gill and liver upon chronic exposure to toxic algal toxin.