CHEAH Kathryn 謝賞恩

  • BSc (Hons) (U of London); PhD (Cambridge)
  • Chair of Biochemistry
  • Jimmy and Emily Tang Professor in Molecular Genetics
  • 2022 British Society for Matrix Biology Medal Award
  • 2021 Elected Member of Hong Kong Academy of Sciences
  • 2013 Fellow of the World Academy of Science

Professor Kathryn Cheah is a developmental geneticist. She received her PhD in molecular biology from the University of Cambridge, UK, was a postdoctoral fellow in the University of Manchester and Imperial Cancer Research Fund, UK. In HKU she has served as Jimmy and Emily Tang Professor in Molecular Genetics, Chair Professor of Biochemistry, School of Biomedical Sciences, The University of Hong Kong. She was awarded a Croucher Foundation Senior Fellowship (2000) and is an elected Fellow of the global academy for the advancement of science in developing countries, The World Academy of Sciences (TWAS). In 2021 she was elected as Member of the Hong Kong Academy of Sciences. She was awarded the British Society for Matrix Biology Medal Lecture 2022 for her contributions to matrix biology.

The driving motivation of her research is the realisation that, with an ageing population worldwide, genomic and regenerative medicine will play critical roles in helping to preserve healthy growth and quality of life. She uses human and mouse embryonic stem cells and genetically modified mice as models to study development and disease and develop therapeutic approaches for disorders of cartilage (e.g. osteoarthritis) and low bone mass (e.g. osteoporosis) and intervertebral disc degeneration.

She and her team pioneered the introduction of transgenic and knockout mouse technology to Greater China and Hong Kong.

She is passionate about contributing to the public and professional understanding of science and promoting the international profile of Hong Kong science through organizing international symposia and Croucher Foundation Advanced Study Institutes. She has served as Biology & Medicine Panel member on the Research Grants Council and as Biology Panel Member for the University Grants Committee Research Assessment exercises. She is currently a panel member of the Health and Medical Research Fund.

Internationally she is Senior Editor for eLife and also serves on the Editorial Board of Journal of Orthopedic Research, as Editorial Advisor: Emerging Topics in Life Sciences, on the Advisory Board, Natural Sciences.

She was elected President of the International Society for Matrix Biology 2006-2008; the founding President of the Hong Kong Society for Developmental Biology (HKSDB) (2004-2013); Hong Kong representative for Asia-Pacific Developmental Biology Network and the International Society of Developmental Biology; appointed Senior External Fellow of the University of Freiberg Institute of Advanced Studies 2011-2012; elected member, Board of Directors of the International Society of Differentiation (2012-2018). Currently she serves on the Hong Kong Advisory Board of the Gordon Research Conferences (GRC) and the GRC Board of Trustees Conference Evaluation Committee.