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Featured Researchers

Professor Zhaoxiang Bian

Associate Vice-President
(Chinese Medicine Development)

Professor Zhaoxiang Bian




A leading expert in Chinese medicine clinical studies, Professor Bian Zhaoxiang has made a seminal contribution to the research of Chinese medicine in gastrointestinal diseases, such as colorectal cancer, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), chronic constipation and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), which have become increasingly common. Although Western medicine has provided cures for these diseases, patients are constantly afflicted by the side effects that accompany treatment. Therefore, more and more patients are turning to Chinese medicine, which not only has proven effectiveness but also fewer side effects. 

In 2016, Professor Bian and his team found that a natural compound, “Pd-Ib”, extracted from the Chinese herb Bupleurum malconense could effectively alleviate acute ulcerative colitis. The research team was granted a US patent and expected to develop Pd-Ib into a new drug. In the same year, HKBU entered into a cooperation agreement with The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) and PuraPharm Corporation Ltd to develop new drugs for treating IBS. This collaboration was founded on a pioneer project between Professor Bian’s research team and the Faculty of Medicine at CUHK that had been treating IBS with Chinese medicine since 2002.


Professor Bian’s major research topics involve: 


  • Basic mechanism of visceral hyperalgesia and gastrointestinal motility disorder and its associated depression; 
  • Psychological stress and colorectal cancer; 
  • Clinical trials with Chinese medicine for digestive diseases, including IBS, IBD, functional constipation and colorectal cancer; and
  • New drug development based on Chinese herbal medicine and its active fraction for digestive diseases.




  • 2nd Award, 2018 International Award for Contribution to Chinese Medicine-achievement Award in Medical Science, World Federation of Chinese Medicine Society, (2018) 
  • Golden Award, 46th International Exhibition of Inventions Geneva (2018)
  • Science and Technology Award (1st Class), China Association for Traditional Chinese Medicine, China (2013) 
  • Research Award (2nd Class), 4th Internal Conference of Integrated Digestive Disease, World Association of Chinese Medicine (2013) 
  • Top Ten Research Papers, China Medicinal Plants Association (2012)


    Research Outputs

    • Zhao, L., W. Yang, F. Huang, L. Lu, C. Lin, T. Huang, Z. Ning, L. Zhai, L. L. D. Zhong, W. Lam, Z. Yang, X. Zhang, C. Cheng, L. Han, Q. Qiu, X. Shang, R. Huang, H. Xiao, Z. Ren, D. Chen, S. Sun, H. El-Nezami, A. Lu, X. Fang, W. Jia & Z. Bian. “A Clostridia-rich microbiota enhances bile acid excretion in diarrhea-predominant irritable bowel syndrome.” Journal of Clinical Investigation 130.1 (2020): 438-450. DOI: 10.1172/JCI130976.
    • Wong, H. L. X., H. Qin, S. W. Tsang, X. Zuo, S. Che, C. F. W. Chow, X. Li, H. T. Xiao, L Zhao, T. Huang, C. Y. Lin, H. Y. Kwan, T. Yang, F. M. Longo, A. Lyu & Z. Bian. Early life stress disrupts intestinal homeostasis via NGF-TrkA signaling. Nature Communications 10.1 (2019): 1745. DOI: 10.1038/s41467-019-09744-3.
    • Huang T, Mi H, Lin CY, Zhao L, Zhong LL, Liu FB, Zhang G, Lu AP, Bian ZX*; for MZRW Group. MOST: most-similar ligand based approach to target prediction. BMC Bioinformatics. 2017 Mar 11;18(1):165. doi: 10.1186/s12859-017-1586-z.
    • Qin, H. Y., K. H. Zang, X. Zuo, X. A. Wu & Z. X. Bian. Quercetin Attenuates Visceral Hypersensitivity and 5-Hydroxytryptamine Availability in Postinflammatory Irritable Bowel Syndrome Rats: Role of Enterochromaffin Cells in the Colon.” Journal of Medicinal Food 22.7 (2019). DOI: 10.1089/jmf.2018.4264.
    • Zhao, L., Y. Huang, L. Lu, W. Yang, T. Huang, Z. Lin, C. Y. Lin, H. Y. Kwan, H. L. X. Wong, Y. Chen, S. Sun, X. Xie, X. Fang, H. Yang, J. Wang, L. Zhu & Z. Bian. Saturated long-chain fatty acid-producing bacteria contributes to enhanced colonic motility in rats. Microbiome 6.1 (2018):107.
    • Cheng CW, Wu TX, Shang HC, Li YP, Altman DG, Moher D, Bian ZX*; CONSORT-CHM Formulas 2017 Group. CONSORT Extension for Chinese Herbal Medicine Formulas 2017: Recommendations, Explanation, and Elaboration. Ann Intern Med. 2017 Jun 27. doi: 10.7326/M16-2977
    • Zhong LLD, Bian ZX* et al., Efficacy of MaZiRenWan, a Chinese Herbal Medicine, in Patients with Functional Constipation in a Randomized Controlled Trial. Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2018 Apr 12. pii: S1542-3565(18)30341-0. doi: 10.1016/j.cgh.2018.04.005. [Epub ahead of print]
    • Cheng CW, Bian ZX*, Zhu LX, Wu JC, Sung JJ. Efficacy of a Chinese herbal proprietary medicine (Hemp Seed Pill) for functional constipation. Am J Gastroenterol, 2011, Jan, 106(1):120-9. DOI: 10.1038/ajg.2010.305.