Molecular Biology

Molecular Biology Experts

Kung Hsiang Fu

Li Ka Shing Institute of Health Sciences
Hong Kong


Professor Hsiang-fu Kung is an experienced scientist in molecular genetics, molecular oncology and virology. He was awarded the NIH Merit Award in 1998 during his tenure as Chief, Laboratory of Biochemical Biology, NCI, NIH and later elected as a Member of the Chinese Academy of Sciences. Professor Kung has published over four hundred scientific papers and book chapters. He serves on editorial boards of international journals, and enjoy visiting and adjunct professorship in many international universities. Other than his achievements in basic science, Professor Kung has also made significant contribution in applied research. He is the inventor of many US patents, from immunology, virology to therapeutics. His research areas include: bacterial genetics and metabolism, enzymology, gene regulation, cytokines, oncogenes and tumor suppressor genes, growth and differentiation factors, signal transduction, embryonic development and traditional Chinese medicine. Professor Kung’s research provided a better understanding of the regulation of β- galactosidase synthesis, the roles of Met-tRNA transformylase and ribosome release factor in protein synthesis. He was involved in the development of interferon into therapeutical drug at Hoffmann-La-Roche Inc. starting from gene cloning to the preparation of the final product under GMP condition. Roche’s product was the first human interferon entering world market. Several patents have been issued to Roche with Professor Kung as the inventor. Furthermore, he has been investigating the mechanism of actions of interferons and other cytokines (e.g. immune interferon, IL-1, IL-2, IL-6, IL-8 and EPO). His work has been published in international journals with high impact factors. Also, he is the first to purify and crystallize recombinant human leukocyte interferon-αA, prove the transforming activity of Ras protein and establish the role of phospholipase C and nerve growth factor (NGF) in Ras-mediated signal transduction pathways. His work led to the development of anti-cancer drug targeting on the activity of Ras farnesyl-protein transferase. Using Xenopus embryo system, he demonstrated the physiological roles of bone morphogenetic protein-4 (BMP-4) during embryonic development, i.e. dorsal-ventral patterning, hematopoiesis and neurogenesis. In addition, he elucidated the BMP-4 signaling pathways and demonstrated the role of GATA-1b protein in the inhibition of neurogenesis. BMP-4 has been under clinical trials of the treatment of bone fracture or used as chemoprotective/radioprotective agent for cancer patients. He is among the first group in applying molecular biology approaches in the systematic studies of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). He purified several anti-tumor and anti-viral agents from TCM and elucidated their mechanisms of action. The purified agents have been patented by Professor Kung and his colleagues. Also, he identified the active anti-HIV components in HCG preparations which provide a new strategy for the development of anti-HIV drugs.

Research Interest

Bacterial genetics and metabolism Enzymology, gene regulation, cytokines, oncogenes and tumor suppressor Genes, growth and differentiation factors Signal transduction, embryonic development and traditional Chinese medicine


  • Fu WM, Zhang JF, Wang H, Xi ZC, Wang WM, Zhuang P, Zhu X, Chen SC, Chang TM, Leung KS, Lu G, Xu HX, Kung HF. Heat shock protein 27 mediates the effect of 1,3,5-trihydroxy-13,13-dimethyl-2h-pyran [7,6-b] xanthone on mitochondrial apoptosis in hepatocellular carcinoma. Journal of Proteomics 2012; 75: 4833-4843

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