Hong Kong Immunology Forum 2021

- HKSI Annual General Meeting and Scientific Meeting

Time : December 4, 2021 Saturday (12:00-17:00)

Open remarks

Prof. Kathy LUI
Chairman of HKSI
13:00 - 13:05

Welcome Message

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

On behalf of all council members of the Hong Kong Society for Immunology (HKSI), I would like to express our sincere gratitude for your tremendous support and active participation in the Hong Kong Immunology Forum 2021. The theme of our Forum this year is to promote human health by making innovative discoveries in Immunology Research. This forum will provide an opportunity for us to share the frontier knowledge with experts in the field.

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Keynote speech

Prof. Tak Wah MAK

University of Toronto;

The University of Hong Kong

13:05 - 13:55

Topic: New Frontiers of Immunotherapy

Dr. Mak is a world-renowned immunologist and cancer biologist. His landmark paper on the cloning of a human T cell receptor gene was an important breakthrough in our understanding of the human immune system. Since then, Dr. Mak has focused on elucidating the mechanisms underlying immune responses and tumorigenesis. He pioneered the use of genetically engineered mouse strains to identify genetic susceptibility factors associated with various immune disorders or different types of cancer. In particular, his team discovered that CTLA4 is a negative regulator of T cell activation, paving the way for the development of anti-CTLA4 agents now in clinical use for autoimmune diseases. Dr. Mak’s lab also made major contributions to defining the functions of PTEN as well as the relationship between the breast cancer susceptibility genes BRCA1 and BRCA2 and defects in DNA repair. His achievements have been recognized through many international awards, including the Gairdner International Prize, the Novartis Prize in Immunology, the Sloan Prize, the Paul Ehrlich Prize and the King Faisal Prize of Medicine. He is a foreign associate of the US National Academy of Sciences and a Fellow of the Royal Society. He has been actively promoting Science in Hong Kong. For example, he has served as the Chairman of the Croucher Foundation from 2011 till 2021.

Invited talk 1

Prof. Bin ZHOU

Chinese Academy of Science

14:00 - 14:30

Topic:  Diverse origins of macrophages in lung injury and repair

Dr. Zhou has completed his MD from Zhejiang University and PhD from Peking Union Medical College. He has done his postdoc training with Dr. William Pu at Boston Children’s Hospital, Harvard University. In 2010, he has established his own research group at Chinese Academy of Sciences in Shanghai. His research focuses on developing new genetic technologies to better understand cell origin and cell fate plasticity in organ development, tissue homeostasis, diseases and regeneration. Recently, Zhou’s lab develops dual recombinases-mediated genetic approach to elucidate in vivo cell fate with enhanced precision. He uses genetic lineage tracing technology to understand the in vivo cell fate and function of immune cells in organ repair and regeneration. As a young investigator, he is a Fellow of the International Society of Heart Research. He has also been recognized with many prestigious awards including Royal Society-Newton Advanced Fellowship, XPLORER PRIZE, National Science Fund for Distinguished Young Scholars, etc.

Invited talk 2

Prof. Shohei HORI

The University of Tokyo

14:30 – 15:00

Topic:  Molecular control of Treg cell function by transcription factor Foxp3 and T cell receptor signals

Dr. Hori has been studying the mechanisms of immunological self-tolerance, particularly those that are mediated by Foxp3+ Treg cells. In 2003, together with Dr. Shimon Sakaguchi, he identified Foxp3 as a “master” transcription factor that controls Treg cell development and function. After establishing his own laboratory at RIKEN Research Center for Allergy and Immunology in 2004, his group continues to study the mechanisms that control the stability and adaptability of Treg cells. His group demonstrated that the vast majority of Foxp3+ T cells constitute a committed Treg cell lineage that maintains epigenetic memory of Foxp3 expression and suppressive function. However, the immune system harbors a small fraction of Foxp3+ T cells that do not possess such epigenetic memory and differentiate to helper T cells in response to perturbations from the extracellular environment. More recently, his team also uncovered a molecular mechanism that controls the ability of Treg cells to change their phenotype and adapt to various tissue and inflammatory environments. In October 2016, his laboratory moved to the Graduate School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, The University of Tokyo.

Invited talk 3

Prof. Alfred Sze Lok CHENG

The Chinese University of Hong Kong

15:00 – 15:30

Topic:  Translating epigenetic mechanism discoveries into cancer immunotherapies

Dr. Cheng is a Professor in the School of Biomedical Sciences and an Assistant Dean (Research) of the Faculty of Medicine at the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK). He obtained his Ph.D. on hepatitis B and liver cancer under the mentorship of Prof. Joseph Sung at CUHK in 2002 and postdoctoral training on cancer epigenetics from Prof. Tim Huang’s lab at the Ohio State University. His current work focuses on the epigenetic and transcriptional regulation in tumor-immune ecosystem, with strong links to computational and clinician scientists for translational research. The major objective is to unravel the cellular and molecular basis of therapeutic resistance to facilitate rational design of mechanism-based immunotherapy for cancer patients.

Invited talk 4

Dr. Kwan Ting CHOW

City University of Hong Kong

15:30 – 15:50

Topic:  Mechanisms of immune modulation in the tumor microenvironment

Dr. Chow received her bachelor’s degree in Biomedical Engineering from Duke University (Durham NC, USA). After two years of research in cancer genomics at Broad Institute and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute of Harvard and MIT (Boston MA, USA), she moved to University of California, Berkeley (Berkeley CA, USA) to pursue graduate studies in Molecular and Cell Biology. Her PhD research focused on gene regulation during B lymphocyte development and malignant transformation. With a Croucher Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship and an NIH F32 National Research Service Award, Dr. Chow conducted postdoctoral research at University of Washington (Seattle WA, USA) studying innate immune signaling and gene networks that regulate the anti-viral immune response. Dr. Chow joined City University of Hong Kong in 2018. Currently, the Chow lab focuses on investigating what constitute a protective immune response against cancer in order to design effective cancer immunotherapy. The lab combines concepts and techniques from biochemistry, molecular and cell biology, cancer biology, immunology, virology, genomics, cell and animal models, and systems biology to dissect the molecular pathways and gene regulatory networks that modulate the anti-cancer immune response. The ultimate goal of the lab is to develop vaccines and targeted therapies that harness the natural ability of our immune system to fight cancer.



This is the rundown for Hong Kong Immunology Forum 2021.