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HKBU research project receives the Ministry of Education’s Higher Education Outstanding Scientific Research Output Awards


Research Team

(From left) Dr Lung Hong Lok, Dr Jiang Lijun, Professor Gary Wong Ka-Leung and Professor Mak Nai-Ki's research project “The design, fundamental research and biological applications of fluorescent small molecules” won the Higher Education Outstanding Scientific Research Output Awards 2020. 


A HKBU research project won a second-class award at the Higher Education Outstanding Scientific Research Output Awards 2020 (Science and Technology) from the Ministry of Education.  This year, a total of 289 awards were given out by the Ministry of Education, among them Hong Kong scholars received five awards.

The award-winning project, titled “The design, fundamental research and biological applications of fluorescent small molecules”, was led by Professor Gary Wong, Head of Department and the Dr. Mok Man Hung Endowed Professor in Chemistry, Department of Chemistry. As the principal investigator, Professor Wong led the research team to develop a series of fluorescent small molecules with new special functions. Due to their versatile photoelectric properties, the fluorescent small molecules have a wide range of applications in the fields of fluorescent probes, organic electroluminescence, and solar cell photosensitizers. Owing to the unique electronic configuration of rare earth ions, rare earth complexes can emit from ultraviolet, visible and infrared regions, and have long fluorescence lifetimes and high quantum yields, resulting in important application prospects in a number of popular research fields such as medical imaging and diagnosis.


Research Team
A research team led by Professor Gary Wong Ka-Leung (centre), Dr Lung Hong Lok (right) and Dr Law Ga-lai develop a novel dual-targeting drug for treating cancers associated with EBV.

Professor Wong worked alongside HKBU colleagues Dr Lung Hong Lok, Assistant Professor of the Department of Chemistry, Professor Mak Nai Ki, Professor of the Department of Biology.  They were joined by colleagues from the Hong Kong Polytechnic University: Dr Jiang Lijun, Research Assistant Professor, Dr Law Ga-lai, Associate Professor, Department of Applied Biology and Chemical Technology, and Professor Wing-tak Wong, Chair Professor of Chemical Technology. The project covers the following three aspects of work:

  1. Important breakthrough of rare earth complexes and small molecules in the field of rare earth optics (JACS, 2011, 20120-122)
  2. Strategic design of Light-Controlled Diagnosis and Treatment using Rare Earth Complexes Small Molecules (PNAS, 2014, E5492-497; J.Med. Chem., 2017, 8923-932)
  3. Development of biomolecules/target responsive fluorescent small molecules (Chem. Sci., 2016, 2151-156; Nat. Biomed. Eng., 2017, 0042)

This research study has significant impact on supporting technological innovation in related fields and advancing new functional small molecules, especially for the development and application of new rare earth complexes.

The Higher Education Outstanding Scientific Research Output Awards (Science and Technology) was set up by the Ministry of Education to recognise and promote outstanding research projects at all tertiary institutions nationwide. The award is presented to academicians, researchers or units which have made remarkable contributions in scientific and technology advancement.

Please click here for more information about the award: (Chinese only).

Contact Our Researchers


Professor Gary Wong



Dr Lung Hong Lok



Professor Mak Nai Ki