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.
The Suen Chi-Sun Family

Suen Chi-Sun Professorship in Clinical Science

To work tirelessly, to be industrious; this is who Suen Chi-Sun was. With passion and dedication to make a difference, he lived. In this spirit, our endowment supports the unflagging efforts in research and development to prevent and cure disease.

The Suen Chi-Sun Family
Sham Pak-Chung

Sham Pak-Chung

Appointed in 2016

The Centre for Genomic Sciences was established by The University of Hong Kong (HKU) to provide leadership in genome research by developing expertise and infrastructure for studies in genomics, proteomics, and bioinformatics. The Centre participates in local and international projects, and supports the Departments of Microbiology and Zoology in identifying and sequencing the agent of the 2003 SARS outbreak.

Professor Sham Pak-Chung is the Chair Professor of Psychiatric Genomics and the Director of the Centre for Genomic Sciences at the LKS Faculty of Medicine, HKU. Professor Sham is working with scientists at the Centre to develop methodologies for studying the role of genetic variations in disease, and to identify genetic loci that contribute to Mendelian and complex disorders. He is at the forefront of research in the field of genomics and has made major substantive discoveries that have led to new insights and understanding of human diseases.

With over 20 years of research experience focusing on the genetics and genomics of human diseases, Professor Sham has made important innovations to family and twin studies, genome-wide linkage scans, candidate gene and genome-wide association studies, and whole-exome sequencing studies. PLINK, a computer programme he co-developed with former students, has become a standard tool for genome-wide association studies, receiving over 7,000 citations since its release in 2007. Using these and other methods, he has made major scientific discoveries including novel genes and genetic variants for Hirschsprung disease, bone mineral density, degenerative disc disease, systemic lupus erythematosis, cardiovascular disease, dilated cardiomyopathy, spinocerebellar ataxia, epilepsy, and schizophrenia.

Professor Sham studied natural sciences and medicine at Cambridge and Oxford Universities, respectively, and trained in Psychiatry at the Bethlem Royal and Maudsley Hospitals, UK. After three years of research training as a Wellcome Trust Fellow, he was appointed Senior Lecturer and Honorary Consultant Psychiatrist at the Institute of Psychiatry at Bethlem Royal and Maudsley Hospitals, UK. In 2000 he was appointed Professor of Psychiatric & Statistical Genetics at King’s College London, and received a PhD in Genetics from Cambridge University. In 2004 he visited HKU under the Distinguished Visiting Professorship Scheme. And from 2007 to 2012 he served as Head of Psychiatry at HKU. Professor Sham is also the Co-Director of the State Key Laboratory in Brain and Cognitive Sciences, LKS Faculty of Medicine, HKU.

He is well known in the fields of genetics and genomics. His monograph “Statistics in Human Genetics” remains a popular introduction for post-graduate students almost 20 years after publication. He has a strong international network of collaborators, having served as Academic Director for the regular International Workshops for Statistical Methodology for Human Genomic Studies held annually in Colorado, US. He has participated in major international projects such as the International HapMap Project, and the European Network of National Schizophrenia Networks studying Gene-Environment Interactions (EU-GEI), as well as major international genomics consortia such as the Psychiatric Genomics Consortium. He serves on the editorial boards of high-impact peer-reviewed journals, and the advisory boards of leading research centres such as the MRC Centre for Neuropsychiatric Genetics and Genomics at Cardiff University and Bio-X Institutes at Shanghai Jiao Tong University.

Former Holder(s):

Ronnie T P Poon

Appointed in 2011

For more than a century the Department of Surgery has served as a leading light in the development of surgical skills and education in Hong Kong. It has been staffed over the years by many dedicated and highly trained professionals whose achievements have put Hong Kong firmly on the international stage.

Professor Ronnie Poon is one of the world’s leading authorities on liver cancer. His work has contributed significantly to improved knowledge of tumour biology, and has advanced surgical and non-surgical treatments for this deadly disease. As a result of his work, treatment outcomes have improved, along with the chances of patients’ long-term survival, and an ultimate cure.

Liver cancer is one of the five most common cancers worldwide, with a particularly high incidence in Hong Kong and mainland China. More than half of the world’s one million new cases per year occur in the Chinese population, and it is the second most common cancer killer in China.

Professor Poon was the first researcher to elucidate the role of the vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) in liver cancer, which stimulates the growth of new vessels to supply oxygen and nutrients for tumour growth. His findings contributed to the development of a molecular targeting drug inhibiting VEGF, which interrupts tumour growth by cutting off its blood supply. This drug is currently the only one approved by the food and drug administration authorities in the USA and China for the treatment of liver cancer. It has been shown to prolong the survival of patients.

More recently, a research team of Professor Poon was the first in the world to identify and characterize cancer stem cells in human liver cancer, and to isolate a subpopulation of stem cells responsible for the spread of cancer. He is now conducting research to develop new drugs to target such cells, which may ultimately provide a cure for cancer.

Professor Poon’s clinical research has also led to improvements in surgery techniques, with current near-zero operative mortality rates and improved long-term survival. In addition, Professor Poon has pioneered the use of non-surgical treatments, such as radiofrequency ablation, microwave ablation and high-intensity focused ultrasound, a totally non-invasive technique which involves eradicating cancer by focusing an ultrasound beam from outside the body into the tumour. He set up the first and so far the only high-intensity focused ultrasound liver cancer treatment centre in Hong Kong. He also started a community-wide liver cancer screening programme for the high-risk population of hepatitis B virus carriers.

Among his many honours, Professor Poon was awarded the 2006 International Guest Scholarship of the American College of Surgeons, and, in 2007, the James IV Travelling Scholarship of the James IV Association of Surgeons – the most prestigious scholarship available to academic surgeons in the world.

Professor Poon serves as associate editor of two leading international journals and is on the editorial board of several others. He is currently Deputy Chief of the Division of Hepatobiliary and Pancreatic Surgery and Deputy Director of the Centre for Cancer Research at HKU. He is a fellow of the Hong Kong College of Surgeons, the Royal college of Surgeons in Edinburgh, the American College of Surgeons. In addition, he chairs the Scientific Committee of International Hepatopancreatobiliary Association. He also serves as Chairman of Advisory Board of Asian Foundation for Cancer Research.