HKU young scientists awarded China’s Excellent Young Scientists Fund 2021

By Eric Lee
Sep 06th 2021

Dr Zheng Chaogu and Dr Louise Amy Ashton have been awarded the prestigious fund under the National Natural Science Foundation of China, an organisation managed by the Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST).

This has been the third consecutive year for HKU to be awarded the highest number of projects among its peer institutions, after the fund was extended to Hong Kong and Macau for applications by eight designated universities since 2019.

The Fund is highly competitive, with only 25 projects in total funded across Hong Kong and Macau this year. Each project will receive a funding of RMB1.6 million over a maximum period of three years, in the form of cross-border remittance to directly support the researchers’ work in Hong Kong or Macau.

Their award-winning projects:

Dr Zheng Chaogu
Project Title: Developmental Neurobiology
In this project, Dr Zheng plans to continue using the touch circuit as a model to study the molecular mechanisms of synaptogenesis, the decision between chemical and electrical synapses, the “innexin code” underlying the specificity of gap junctions, and the process of circuit remodeling during development. Expected results from this project can have profound impacts on our understanding of how neuronal networks are established and how the nervous system develops.

Dr Louise Amy Ashton
Project Title: Understanding insect responses to environmental change in rainforest
This project will help address the urgent global issue of insect declines, as well as broaden our understanding of how ecosystems and their functions are changing under climate change.