Kung, Hsiang-fu
Name : KUNG  Hsiang fu 孔祥復
Title :

Professor of Virology

Academician, Chinese Academy of Sciences

Director, State Key Laboratory in Oncology in South China (CUHK)

Research Professor of Virology, The Jockey Club School of Public Health and Primary Care
Home Department :  The Jockey Club School of Public Health and Primary Care

Email :
Phone Number: (852) 3943 7743
Fax Number (852) 2994 4988
Address: Room 406A, Lo Kwee Seong Integrated Biomedical Sciences Building, Area 39, CUHK
Website :


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.

Specialised Research Area(s):

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

Selected Publications:

1. 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.

2. Li X, Cheung KF, Ma X, Tian L, Zhao J, Go MYY, Shen B, Cheng ASL, Ying J, Tao Q, Sung JJY, Kung HF, Yu J. Epigenetic inactivation of paired box gene 5, a novel tumor suppressor gene, through direct upregulation of p53 is associated with prognosis in gastric cancer patients. Oncogene 2012; 31: 3419-3430.

3. Zheng F, Liao YJ, Cai MY, Liu YH, Liu TH, Chen SP, Bian XW, Guan XY, Lin MC, Zeng YX, Kung HF, Xie D. The putative tumour suppressor microrna-124 modulates hepatocellular carcinoma cell aggressiveness by repressing rock2 and ezh2. Gut 2012; 61: 278-289.

4. Zhang JF, He ML, Fu WM, Wang H, Chen LZ, Zhu X, Chen Y, Xie D, Lai P, Chen G, Lu G, Lin MCM, Kung HF. Primate-specific microrna-637 inhibits tumorigenesis in hepatocellular carcinoma by disrupting signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 signaling. Hepatology 2011; 54: 2137-2148.

5. Zhang JF, Fu WM, He ML, Xie WD, Lv Q, Wan G, Li G, Wang H, Lu G, Hu X, Jiang S, Li JN, Lin MCM, Zhang YO, Kung HF. Mirna-20a promotes osteogenic differentiation of human mesenchymal stem cells by co-regulating bmp signaling. Rna Biology 2011; 8: 829-838.

6. He ML, Zheng BJ, Peng Y, Peiris JSM, Poon LLM, Yuen KY, Lin MCM, Kung HF, Guan Y. Inhibition of sars-associated coronavirus infection and replication by rna interference. Jama-Journal of the American Medical Association 2003; 290: 2665-2666.

7. Nara P, Tsai W-P, Kung HF, Minassian A, Garrity R, Goudsmit J, Rimmelzwaan G. Universal cellular tropism? Nature 1992; 360: 215-216.

8. Li BQ, Kaplan D, Kung HF, Kamata T. Nerve growth-factor stimulation of the ras-guanine nucleotide exchange factor and gap activities. Science 1992; 256: 1456-1459.

9. Smith MR, Liu YL, Kim H, Rhee SG, Kung HF. Inhibition of serum-stimulated and ras-stimulated DNA-synthesis by antibodies to phospholipase-c. Science 1990; 247: 1074-1077.

10. Stacey DW, Kung HF. Transformation of nih-3t3-cells by microinjection of ha-ras p21-protein. Nature 1984; 310: 508-511.