Research Assistant Professor

BSc (CUHK), MPhil (CUHK), DPhil (Oxon)

Contact :

(852) 3943 5860

Academic Appointments

  • Research Assistant Professor, Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, CUHK
  • Director, CUHK Department of Ophthalmology & Visual Sciences Laboratories
  • Associate Head, Graduate Division of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, CUHK
  • Principal Investigator, Hong Kong Hub of Paediatric Excellence (HK HOPE), CUHK
  • Honorary Professor, Eye Institute of Shandong First Medical University
  • Honorary Associate Professor, Shantou University Medical College
  • Honorary Associate Professor, Eye School / Teaching Eye Hospital of Chengdu University of Traditional Chinese Medicine


The academic interests of Dr Chu focus on gene functions in various eye diseases as well as developing novel treatments for these diseases.  Dr Chu′s earlier work established molecular roles for helicases BLM and FBH1 in preserving genome stability.  Dr Chu′s work is supported by Research Grants Council (RGC) of Hong Kong, National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC), and Innovation and Technology Fund (ITF) of Hong Kong.  Dr Chu has been awarded with the United College Early Career Excellence Award and the SH Ho Visiting Professorship in 2019 and 2020 respectively.  Dr Chu has been leading active international collaborative research programmes with scientists and clinicians from USA, Denmark, France, Germany, Japan, China, India, Singapore and Australia.

Dr Chu is currently the journal editor of Scientific Reports, International Journal of Molecular Sciences, Frontiers in Ophthalmology, Heliyon and Hong Kong Journal of Ophthalmology. He also serves as reviewers of multiple journals including Nature Communications, Progress in Retinal and Eye Research, British Journal of Ophthalmology and Experimental Eye Research.

Dr Chu has been serving in the Global Members Committee (GMC) of the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology since 2022. Dr Chu has also been organizing the Annual Congress of the Asia Pacific Academy of Ophthalmology (APAO) since 2016 as the Secretary of the Visual Sciences Programme, Host Coordinator of the Visual Sciences Programme, Session Chair and Abstract Reviewer.

Research Areas

  1. Ocular inflammation: Ocular inflammation is one of the leading causes of vision damage.  Human uveitis is a group of conditions characterized by inflammatory lesions of intraocular structures.  Dr Chu is currently developing novel treatments for both infectious and autoimmune-related uveitis.  In addition, ocular inflammation could also lead to other irreversibly blinding diseases including thyroid associated orbitopathy, age-related macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy.
  2. Ocular cancer biology: Mutations in RB1 gene would lead to retinoblastoma, the most common paediatric intraocular cancer. Retinoblastoma cells have lower levels of apoptotic cell death.  Dr Chu is exploring alternative pathways that could induce apoptosis to restrict the uncontrolled cell growth in retinoblastoma.  In addition, Dr Chu also studies the pathophysiology of pterygium, an abnormally growing tissue invading from the corneoscleral limbus onto the clear cornea.  In this research area, Dr Chu actively collaborates with Professor Andrew SCHALLY (Nobel Laureate in Physiology or Medicine 1977) to study the Growth hormone-releasing hormone receptor – Growth Hormone – Insulin Growth Factor 1 (GH-GHRHR-IGF1) axis in ocular tumorigenesis.  This collaboration has led to 7 research articles in PNAS.
Visiting Scholar Department of Ophthalmology, Stanford University 2023
Grant Reviewer National Natural Science Foundation of China 2020, 2021, 2023
Mentor for the Developing Country Eye Researcher Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO) 2022, 2023
Global Members Committee Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO) 2022
PhD Thesis Examiner Department of Ophthalmology, The University of Hong Kong 2020

Research Programmes

  1. Regulation of apoptosis in retinoblastoma
  2. Novel treatments for autoimmune-related uveitis
  3. Genetic basis of corneal opacity
  4. Pathophysiology of pterygium
  5. Disease mechanisms of thyroid-associated orbitopathy
  6. Autophagy and glaucoma
  7. Novel technology in ocular drug delivery


We recently identified inhibiting a growth hormone pathway can restrict the cell growth of retinoblastoma.  Severe forms of retinoblastoma usually involve eyeball removal.  Our recent findings open a door to alternative treatments for retinoblastoma, which could hopefully preserve the visions.

Our research team has recently developed an animal model to study autoimmune inflammation in eyes.  This model system shows similar disease outcome to human uveitis.  We are using this model system to screen potential reagents that could be developed into uveitis treatment.

There is a family with multiple members showing corneal opacity.  By studying the DNA mutations, we found that all the affected members share the same DNA mutation in a gene that is important to genome stability.  We aim to characterize the gene functions in order to understand the disease mechanism of corneal opacity.

Representative Publications

  1. Du, L., Ho, B. M., Zhou, L., Yip, Y. W. Y., He, J. N., Wei, Y., Tham, C. C., Chan, S. O., Schally, A. V., Pang, C. P., Li, J. and Chu, W. K. (2023) Growth hormone releasing hormone signaling promotes Th17 cell differentiation and autoimmune inflammation. Nature Communications, 14, 3298. (Impact factor: 17.694)
  2. Ho, B. M., Du, L. and Chu, W. K. (2022) Novel epigenetic therapy for Th17 cell mediated autoimmune inflammatory diseases. eBioMedicine, 86, 104368. (Impact factor: 11.205)
  3. Zhou, L., Ng, D. S., Yam, J. C., Chen, L. J., Tham, C. C., Pang, C. P. and Chu, W. K. (2022) Post-translational modifications on the retinoblastoma protein. Journal of Biomedical Science, 29, 33. (Impact factor: 12.771)
  4. Wong, E. S., Choy, R. W. C., Zhang, Y., Chu, W. K., Chen, L. J., Pang, C. P. and Yam, J. C. (2022) Global Retinoblastoma Survival and Globe Preservation – A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Associations with Socioeconomic and Healthcare Factors. Lancet Global Health, 10, E380. (Impact factor: 38.927)
  5. Narita, T., Ito, S., Higashijima,Y., Chu, W. K., Neumann, K., Walter, J., Satpathy, S., Liebner, T., Hamilton, W. B., Maskey, E., Prus, G., Shibata, M., Iesmantavicius, V., Brickman, J. M., Anastassiadis, K., Koseki, H. and Choudhary, C. (2021) Enhancers are activated by p300/CBP activity-dependent PIC assembly, RNAPII recruitment, and pause release. Molecular Cell, 81, 2166. (Impact factor: 19.328)
  6. Liang, W. C., Ren, J. L., Yu, Q. X., Li, J., Ng, T. K., Chu, W. K., Qin, Y. J., Chu, K. O., Schally, A. V., Pang, C. P. and Chan, S. O. (2020) Signaling mechanisms of growth hormone-releasing hormone receptor in LPS-induced acute ocular inflammation. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 117, 6067. (Impact factor: 12.779)
  7. Zhang, B. N., Venegas, A. B., Hickson, I. D. and Chu, W. K. (2018) DNA replication stress and its impact on chromosome segregation and tumorigenesis. Seminars in Cancer Biology, S1044, 30277. (Impact factor: 17.012)
  8. Chu, W. K., Law, K. S., Chan, S. O., Yam, J. C. S., Chen, L. J., Zhang, H., Cheung, H. S., Block, N. L., Schally, A. V. and Pang, C. P. (2016) Antagonists of growth hormone-releasing hormone receptor induce apoptosis specifically in retinoblastoma cells. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 113, 14396. (Impact factor: 12.779)
  9. Gan, J., Ke, X., Jiang, J., Dong, H., Yao, Z., Lin, Y., Lin, W., Wu, X., Yan, S., Zhuang, Y., Chu, W. K., Cai, R., Zhang, X., Cheung, H. S., Block, N. L., Pang, C. P., Schally, A. V. and Zhang, H. (2016) Growth hormone-releasing hormone receptor antagonists inhibit human gastric cancer through downregulation of PAK1-STAT3/NF-κB signaling. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 113, 14745. (Impact factor: 12.779)
  10. Rong, S.S., Tang, F.Y., Chu, W. K., Ma, L., Yam, J. C. S., Tang, S. M., Li, J., Gu, H., Young, A. L., Tham, C. C., Pang, C. P. and Chen, L.J. (2016) Genetic associations of primary angle-closure phenotypes: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Ophthalmology, 123, 1211. (Impact factor: 14.277)

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