In 2005, the University celebrated the inauguration of the first 8 Endowed Professorships,
a milestone in the University's history.
To date, a total of 119 Endowed Professorships have been established.
Mrs Clara Fok, in memory of her late husband, Mr Lawrence Fok

Clara and Lawrence Fok Professorship in Precision Medicine

In continuing Lawrence’s generous nature of giving, it is our hope that the establishment of this Endowed Professorship will both contribute to and encourage research of a subject that promises to revolutionise the treatment and prevention of disease by capitalising on personal variations, such as an individual’s genes, environment, and lifestyle. In these and other ways, scientific and technological advances have the potential to bring about an unprecedented tailoring of medical treatment and health care to the individual characteristics of patients.

Mrs Clara Fok, in memory of her late husband, Mr Lawrence Fok
Jin Dong-Yan

Jin Dong-Yan

Appointed in 2016
On July 1, 2015, the pre-clinical Departments of Anatomy, Biochemistry and Physiology were amalgamated into the School of Biomedical Sciences, making it the newest school in both the LKS Faculty of Medicine and The University of Hong Kong (HKU). But its origins date back to 1912, when the Schools of Anatomy and Physiology were incorporated as faculty departments. The School, with more than a century of pioneering history in the development of modern medicine, now focuses on “interdisciplinary synergies and research excellence at the frontiers of biomedical sciences”.

Professor Jin Dong-Yan is one of a number of principal investigators at the School of Biomedical Sciences, HKU, where he conducts pioneering research into molecular virology and oncology. Professor Jin’s primary research is on the molecular basis of viral diseases and cancer, with the focus on cancer-causing viruses and host-virus interaction. He uses a combination of biochemical and genetic approaches with the aim of applying the knowledge gained to prevent and control human diseases. His team’s previous work has broken new ground in understanding how viruses cause the abnormal division of cells, promote cell survival and evade host defense.

In his 1998 study of a viral oncogenic protein named Tax, which causes a highly lethal blood cancer known as adult T-cell leukemia, he identified a cellular protein named MAD1, which is a key component of a cell cycle checkpoint that guards against the abnormal division of cells. In 2006, his group characterised another cellular protein, which is also crippled by Tax to give rise to abnormal numbers of chromosomes in leukemic cells. The team’s work in 2008 revealed how the Epstein-Barr virus, which causes lymphoid and nasopharyngeal cancers, uses a viral small RNA molecule to promote the survival of cancer cells. These findings, and others, have unravelled novel disease mechanisms, revealing new targets and strategies for precision treatment and are thought to be conceptual breakthroughs that will impact the future practice of medicine.

Professor Jin obtained his PhD at the State Key Laboratory for Molecular Virology in Beijing in 1991. He joined HKU in 1999 after receiving postdoctoral training at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, at the National Institutes of Health in the US from 1994 to 1999. He is the recipient of a National Award for Outstanding Young Medical Scientist (1993), an Outstanding Young Investigator Award from the National Natural Science Foundation of China (2001), a National Natural Science Award of China (2001), a Scholar Award from the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society in the US (2001-2006), a New Foreign Investigator Award under the Global Health Research Initiative Program of the National Institutes of Health in US (2002-2008), an Outstanding Research Award from HKU (2008), a Croucher Senior Research Fellowship (2014), and an Outstanding Research Student Supervisor Award from HKU (2015).

He is an Editorial Board member of international journals including Retrovirology, PLoS ONE, Nucleic Acid Therapeutics, Emerging Microbes and Infections, Journal of the Formosan Medical Association and Frontiers in Bioscience. He is also Deputy Editor-in-Chief of Cell and Bioscience, the official journal of the Society of Chinese Bioscientists in America.