16 April 2018

CUHK Receives Three Ministry of Education Higher Education Outstanding Scientific Research Output Awards



Three scientific research projects led by researchers of The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) have received three Higher Education Outstanding Scientific Research Output Awards (Science and Technology) 2017 from the Ministry of Education (MoE), including 2 second-class award in natural sciences, and 1 second-class award in scientific and technological progress.  The award presentation ceremony was held last Saturday (14 April) on CUHK campus.  Mr. CHEN Baosheng, Minister of Education of the People’s Republic of China, presented awards at the ceremony. Other guests included Mr. XU Tao, Director General, Department of International Cooperation and Exchanges, MOE; Ms. LIU Jin, Director, Office of Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan Affairs, MOE; Mr. LU Yugang, Director General, Department of Basic Education, MOE; Mr. LIU Guiqin, Director General, Department of Social Sciences, MOE; Prof. LI Lu, Director General of the Education, Science and Technology Department, the Liaison Office of the Central People's Government in the HKSAR; Dr. CHOI Yuk-lin, Under Secretary for Education, HKSAR Government, Prof. Rocky S. TUAN, Vice-Chancellor and President of CUHK; and Mr. LI Naiyiu, President of Beijing-Hong Kong Academic Exchange Center officiated at the ceremony. During the visit, the delegation led by Mr. Chen Baosheng also learned about the University’s latest developments and paid a visit to the Institute of Space and Earth Information Science.

Here is a summary of CUHK award-winning projects in 2017: 

Second-class award in Natural Sciences 

  • Prof. HUANG Yu, Professor of the School of Biomedical Sciences; Prof. Jack WONG Wing-tak and Prof. CHEN Zhenyu from the School of Life Sciences; Prof. TIAN Xiaoyu from the School of Biomedical Sciences, and Professor Huang’s former PhD students, Dr. Christine WONG Siu-ling, Dr. Anna CHEANG Wai-san, Dr. LIU Jian, and Dr. ZHANG YangMolecular mechanism and novel therapeutic targets in treating endothelial dysfunction of metabolic syndrome

The team led by Prof. Huang Yu, in collaboration with his former PhD students at Peking University Health Science Centre and Hebei Medical University, identified a few novel factors which are important for vascular endothelial cell dysfunction, during 2009 to 2015. The team focused on the balance between oxidative stress, cyclooxygenase-2 and nitric oxide on the regulation of endothelial cell function in mediating endothelial cell dysfunction in the context of cardio-metabolic disease. They discovered the mechanism by which bone morphogenetic protein-4 induces harmful effect on endothelial cells through oxidative stress and cyclooxygenase, which was published on Circulation Research, and also identified new target or mechanisms of existing drugs, for example, the beneficial effect of anti-diabetic drug ‘rosiglitazone’ on vascular health mediated through fat-derived hormone adiponectin, which was published on Cell Metabolism. These new therapeutic targets are of guiding significance for the development of cardiovascular pathophysiology and pharmacology studies and for the introduction of new targeted intervention strategies. 

  • Prof. JIANG Liwen, Choh-Ming Li Professor of Life Sciences, Director of the AoE Centre for Organelle Biogenesis and Function, and Director of the Centre for Cell and Developmental Biology, and Dr. GAO Caiji, Dr. ZHUANG Xiaohong, Dr. SHEN Jinbo, Dr. CUI Yong, Dr. WANG Xiangfeng and Dr. CAI Yi from the School of Life Sciences — Molecular mechanisms of selective transport and degradation of plant proteins 

Proteins sorting and transport as well as its degradation in different organelles is an essential process to maintain the normal cellular metabolism and physiological functions, which plays a crucial role in regulating plant growth and development under various environmental conditions.  The research results of the team led by Prof. Jiang Liwen include the identification of novel key regulators involved in protein sorting, transport and degradation, as well as their molecular mechanisms in organelle biogenesis (multivesicular body / pre-vacuolar compartment, autophagosome and vacuole) and essential roles in plant growth and development; and the establishment of a method for measuring the environmental pH value in plant cells, providing a powerful tool for studying the pH-dependent physiological processes.  Relevant research results have been published in top international academic journals such as PNAS, Current Biology, and The Plant Cell. These findings provide new insights into the development of biotechnology to improve plant bioreactors for the production of pharmaceutical proteins and the improvement of crop yields. In addition, Professor Jiang has led the ‘Centre for Organelle Biogenesis and Function’ project funded by the Research Grants Council’s Areas of Excellence Scheme (AoE) to conduct cutting-edge research. 

Second-class award in Scientific and Technological Progress 

  • Prof. WONG Kam-fai, Associate Dean (External Affairs) of the Faculty of Engineering and Professor of the Department of Systems Engineering and Engineering Management (SEEM); Dr. Gabriel FUNG Pui-cheong and Mr. LI Bo from SEEM — Development and industrialisation of ‘Bilingual Trilingualism’-based retrieval and understanding platform on large scale social media

    The research team led by Prof. Wong Kam-fai, in collaboration with the Harbin Institute of Technology Shenzhen Graduate School, the University of International Relations, and the 54th Research Institute of China Electronics Technology Group Corporation, have jointly developed a ‘Bilingual Trilingualism’-based Retrieval and Understanding Platform on Large Scale Social Media. This platform is able to effectively retrieve targeted information from a complex web environment, which includes simplified and traditional Chinese, English, and Cantonese for Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan residents. The platform can also distinguish leaders and followers of a particular topic through the comments and forwarded messages of Weibo. Thus, the conversation will be identified and analysed more precisely, and the influential information will be extracted for topic summarisation. Novel technologies including deep learning, conditional random fields, and distributed cloud computing are adopted to provide services such as ‘Bilingual Trilingualism’-based social media information retrieval, multi-source and multi-dimension hot event evolution, cross-languages and cross-domains text analysis and summarisation, as well as sentiment analysis of the spread and evolution of topics on social media. These services will perfectly meet the needs of large scale ‘Bilingual Trilingualism’-based social media information retrieval and understanding, which are beneficial to the development of Internet information security and cross-border e-commerce related industries. 

About Higher Education Outstanding Scientific Research Output Awards 

The Higher Education Outstanding Scientific Research Output Awards (Science and Technology) is set up by the MoE to recognise outstanding research projects at all tertiary institutions in mainland China. Since 2009, Hong Kong's tertiary institutions have been included in the scheme. The award is presented to individuals or units who have made remarkable contributions in the areas of scientific discovery, technological innovation, science and technology advancement and implementation of patented technologies. The Natural Sciences Award honours researchers who have made discoveries in natural science and applied science, or given explanations to natural phenomena and characteristics; the Technology Advancement Award honours research achievements in applied technologies of natural science that have made creative contributions, or individuals or units who have made important contributions to the popularisation of science.

A group photo of guests with Mr. Chen Baosheng (middle), Minister of Education of the People’s Republic of China and Prof. Rocky Tuan (6th left), Vice-Chancellor of CUHK.
A group photo of guests with Mr. Chen Baosheng (middle), Minister of Education of the People’s Republic of China and Prof. Rocky Tuan (6th left), Vice-Chancellor of CUHK.

Prof. Huang Yu (left) and his team receive the award certificate from Mr. Chen Baosheng (2nd left), Minister of Education of the People’s Republic of China.
Prof. Huang Yu (left) and his team receive the award certificate from Mr. Chen Baosheng (2nd left), Minister of Education of the People’s Republic of China.

Prof. Jiang Liwen (4th left) and his team receive the award certificate from Mr. Chen Baosheng (4th right).
Prof. Jiang Liwen (4th left) and his team receive the award certificate from Mr. Chen Baosheng (4th right).

Prof. Wong Kam-fai (2nd left) and his team receive the award certificate from Mr. Chen Baosheng (2nd right).
Prof. Wong Kam-fai (2nd left) and his team receive the award certificate from Mr. Chen Baosheng (2nd right).

A group photo of all award recipients and guests.
A group photo of all award recipients and guests.

Mr. Chen Baosheng (7th left), Minister of Education of the People’s Republic of China, leads a delegation to CUHK and meets with Prof. Rocky Tuan (6th left), Vice-Chancellor of CUHK  and representatives from the University.
Mr. Chen Baosheng (7th left), Minister of Education of the People’s Republic of China, leads a delegation to CUHK and meets with Prof. Rocky Tuan (6th left), Vice-Chancellor of CUHK and representatives from the University.

The delegation of MOE learns about the University’s latest developments.
The delegation of MOE learns about the University’s latest developments.

The delegation visits the Institute of Space and Earth Information Science.
The delegation visits the Institute of Space and Earth Information Science.