JUSTL participant: Mr Jacky Tin Shing Hung
Mr Jacky Tin Shing Hung is a Technical Officer at The University of Hong Kong Li Ka Shing Faculty of Medicine Faculty Core Facility. He obtained his MPhil in 2016 from the Division of Life Science at The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology in the laboratory of Professor Andrew L. Miller, where he investigated the contribution of the scales of zebrafish to the short-term regulation of plasma calcium homeostasis.
The Faculty Core Facility is a central facility, under the directorship of Professor George Tsao, which houses a number of instruments available to the research community at The University of Hong Kong. The main clients are biomedical researchers and clinical scientists who bring samples for testing from the Queen Mary Hospital. The facility houses microscopes, flow cytometry equipment and various molecular biology instruments. There is also a core zebrafish facility in the same location. Mr Hung works half time looking after the microscopes and half time managing the zebrafish core facility. Regarding the latter, he is responsible for maintaining the different lines of fish kept in the facility and setting up the breeding pairs to obtain fertilised eggs.
Mr Hung attended the 2013 JUSTL programme and he worked on a couple of projects under the mentorship of Dr Alessandro Rubinacci (San Raffaele Hospital, Milan, Italy), Professor Andrew L. Miller (The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology), Professor Joseph Kunkel (University of New England, Biddeford, ME), Dr Paola Divieti-Pajevic (Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA) and Mr Alan Shipley (Applicable Electronics LLC., New Haven, CT). In one project, Mr Hung used a scanning ion-selective electrode technique (SIET) to measure the calcium ion fluxes around zebrafish scales. The results he obtained in the JUSTL programme helped his MPhil research when he returned to Hong Kong, which have just been published in the journal, Fisheries Science*. In the second project, Mr Hung worked with Dr Rubinacci on an ongoing project to study the mechanisms and endocrine regulation of bone mineralization. Again using the SIET, Mr Hung conducted experiments to determine the generation of calcium ion fluxes into and out of bone tissue. The results on the bone project that Mr Hung helped to acquire during his time on the JUSTL programme have now been published in the journal Bone**.
Mr Hung is especially appreciative for the help provided by Mr Shipley on the installation and use of the SIET, as well as for all the advice from Professor Robert Baker regarding his MPhil project.
There were a few weeks during the JUSTL programme when Mr Hung also worked with George Bell, a Research Assistant in the laboratory of Dr Alan M. Kuzirian (Marine Resources Center, MBL). Mr Bell worked mainly with cephalopods and was investigating the tentacle structure of the Bobtail squid. Mr Hung learned some histology, which he said was very useful for some of the experiments he conducted in his MPhil project.
Mr Hung told me that one event in particular stood out for him. This was when Professor Osamu Shimomura, one of the Nobel Prize winners for Chemistry in 2008 for his work on GFP (green fluorescent protein) and long-time resident at the MBL, gave one of the prestigious Friday evening lectures. Mr Hung said: “I’d seen a lot of his online talks before, but this was the first time that I’d the chance to attend one of his seminars in person and see him standing there with a bottle of green fluorescent protein in his hand.”
*Hung TS, Webb SE, Palumbo C, Lesniak AM, Shipley AM, Rubinacci A, Kunkel JG, Miller AL (2019). Assessing the ability of zebrafish scales to contribute to the short-term homeostatic regulation of [Ca2+] in the extracellular fluid during calcemic challenges. Fisheries Science doi:10.1007/s12561-019-01353-9.
**Dedic C, Hung TS, Shipley AM, Maeda A, Gardella T, Miller AL, Divieti Pajevic P, Kunkel JG, Rubinacci A (2018). Calcium fluxes at the bone/plasma interface: Acute effects of parathyroid hormone (PTH) and targeted deletion of PTH/PTH-related peptide (PTHrP) receptor in the osteocytes. Bone 116: 135-143.