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HKBU establishes “JC STEM Lab of ChemProbes” to foster research on novel diagnostic imaging technologies


Hong Kong Baptist University (HKBU) has received a generous donation of HK$10 million from The Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust to support the establishment of the “JC STEM Lab of ChemProbes”.


The Laboratory aims to foster transdisciplinary research into the development of new molecular probes as diagnostic imaging tools and translate them so they can be utilised in biomedical or clinical applications. It will also offer training to researchers of the Laboratory and its collaborative partners on the design, synthesis and validation of diagnostic probes, helping to address the talent shortage in this field in Hong Kong and southern China.


The Laboratory has been established under the leadership of its Director, Professor David Parker, Global STEM Chair Professor of the Department of Chemistry at HKBU. Professor Parker is a world-renowned chemist and a fellow of the Royal Society of London who joined HKBU in October 2022 under the Global STEM Professorship Scheme, which was launched and is supported by the HKSAR Government.


An inauguration ceremony for the Laboratory was held today (16 May). Officiating at the ceremony were Ms Ada Chu, Head of Charities (Talent and Sector Development) of The Hong Kong Jockey Club; Professor Alexander Wai, President and Vice-Chancellor of HKBU; and Professor David Parker, Director of the Laboratory.


In his welcoming address, Professor Alexander Wai expressed his immense gratitude to The Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust for its generous donation in support of the establishment of the JC STEM Lab of ChemProbes. He said: “The Trust is committed to improving the quality of life and well-being of the people in Hong Kong. I can confidently look forward to the JC STEM Lab of ChemProbes developing diagnostic tools, advancing research, forming knowledge transfer partnerships, educating the public, supporting youth and building community health. All of this will have far-reaching benefits for society.”


Promoting talent & sector development is one of the Club’s charities priority areas. The Club actively helps people from diverse backgrounds achieve their potential. It also assists the not-for-profit sector in building capacity, bringing people together to share their experiences, learn new skills and maximise their impact in the community. The Club’s support for this project, like all of its charity donations, is made possible by its unique integrated business model through which racing and wagering generate tax and charity support for the community.


The “JC STEM Lab of ChemProbes” will focus on the development of rare-earth-based molecular probes as bio-imaging agents for use in optical imaging for pre-clinical cellular and tissue studies. The probes could potentially be widely utilised in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and in various diagnostic and optical imaging protocols. It is hoped that they will eventually be translated for use in human applications in collaboration with partners in academia and industry.


Professor Parker said: “The development and eventual commercialisation of new imaging and diagnostic tools can assist in advancing the diagnosis of diseases and help simplify or alleviate certain undesirable side effects with current clinical diagnostic protocols.


“The availability of more accurate and effective diagnostic tools can also create a healthier community by allowing citizens to monitor their physical well-being on a more regular basis.”


Photo 1

Ms Ada Chu, Head of Charities (Talent and Sector Development) of The Hong Kong Jockey Club (fifth left); Professor Alexander Wai, President and Vice-Chancellor of HKBU (sixth left); Professor Rick Wong, Interim Provost (seventh right); Dr Albert Chau, Vice-President (Teaching and Learning) (third left); Professor Terence Lau, Interim Chief Innovation Officer (fifth right); Professor Liu Jiming, Associate Vice-President (Research Development) and Dean of Science (sixth right); Professor William Cheung, Associate Vice-President (Undergraduate Programmes) (fourth right); Professor Kelvin Leung, Head of the Department of Chemistry (fourth left); Professor David Parker, Global STEM Chair Professor of the Department of Chemistry (eighth right); Mrs Lily Chan, Director of the University Advancement Office and Secretary-General of the HKBU Foundation (third right) attend the inauguration ceremony.


Photo 2

Professor David Parker introduces the work of the Laboratory at the inauguration ceremony.


Photo 3

Guests and representatives of HKBU pose for a group photo at the Laboratory.