Croucher celebrates Foundation Day Dinner

13 December 2016

The Croucher Foundation held its annual Foundation Day Dinner last Thursday, celebrating 37 years of promoting the advancement of science in Hong Kong and commending this year’s recipients of the Croucher Innovation Awards, Senior Research Fellowships, and Senior Medical Research Fellowships.

Nicholas Yang, JP, Secretary for Innovation and Technology for the Hong Kong SAR was the guest of honour. Mr Yang also shared some inspiring words for this year’s class of awards recipients, composed of both scholars with years of experience under their belts and those just starting their scientific careers.

Prior to the dinner and awards ceremony, Scholarship, Fellowship, and Innovation Award recipients gathered for a symposium at the University of Hong Kong to share their research. 

At the awards ceremony that evening, winners of the 2016 scholarships accepted their awards for PhD and postdoctoral study at universities in Hong Kong, the U.K., Israel, Germany, Sweden, and the U.S.A.

To view the complete list of 2016 Croucher Fellowship, Scholarship, and Studentship recipients, please click here.

Innovation Awards

This year’s Innovation Awards went to Dr Danny Leung, Dr Kathy Lui, and Dr Carmen Wong.

Dr Danny Leung, currently an Assistant Professor at HKUST, will be researching the epigenetic control of endogenous retroviruses in non-coding DNA. Looking specifically at melanoma cells, he aims to explore regulating facts in melanoma cells that could repress retroviral activity and inhibit cancer cell growth.

Dr Kathy Lui is an assistant professor at the Li Ka Shing Institute of Health Sciences at the Chinese University of Hong Kong where she is studying the effects of maternal diabetes. Hyperglycaemia in the mother often leads to congenital heart disease in the infant. The effects of hyperglycaemia on the proliferation of multipotent stem cells are thought to be the cause of the reduced growth of essential heart tissue. Dr Lui hopes to a good drug-screening platform for diabetes-associated congenital heart disease treatment.

Dr Carmen Wong will be investigating the aberrant signaling pathways that lead to malignant growth in hepatocellular carcinoma. Dr Wong will be looking into targeting weaknesses in the cancer cells’ essential metabolic and DNA repair systems in the hope of opening up new treatment avenues. Dr Wong is an assistant professor in the Department of Pathology at the University of Hong Kong.

Senior Research Fellowships

The ceremony also honoured Prof Leo Poon and Prof Xiaodong Cui, recipients of this year’s Senior Research Fellowships, and Prof Anskar Leung, recipient of this year’s Senior Medical Research Fellowship.

Prof Poon, of the School of Public Health at the University of Hong Kong, was one of the first researchers to identify the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) virus. Dr Poon will continue to use his expertise in coronavirus and influenza virology to develop more powerful influenza vaccines using next generation sequencing technology.

Prof Cui is exploring the properties of one-atom thick, two-dimensional materials. 2D materials, like graphene, have been hugely successful as semiconductors, in photovoltaics, and in advancing our understanding of solid-state physics. He is currently a professor of physics at the University of Hong Kong.

Prof Anskar Leung received his Senior Research Medical Fellowship for his research into the pathogenesis and treatment of Acute Myeloid Leukemia. He is currently a clinical professor at the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Hong Kong. His research into AML will continue to develop the zebrafish as a model for screening potential therapeutic agents and studying the pathogenesis of various AML subtypes.

Startup 2.0

In addition to the presentation of this year’s awards, the Croucher Foundation was also pleased to announce the new Startup 2.0 Initiative.

This funding initiative will provide a grant of up to HK$1 million for any Croucher scholar interested in starting a business.

The Croucher Foundation hopes to provide support for scholars who may be interested in pursuing a business with a linkage to Hong Kong rather than following the academic route.

For more information on the Croucher Startup 2.0 Initiative, please click here.