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Researchers from PolyU and M.U.S.T. Collaborate in the Development of a Recombinant RBD Vaccine Against SARS-CoV-2

Coronavirus (the virus that causes COVID-19) has continued to spread across the world. Here in Hong Kong, people are confronting a third wave of outbreaks, with the number of confirmed infections surging to over 3,000 in just a few weeks. Since the early days of the outbreak, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) has been working with various research partners in the fight against COVID-19 through the development of different diagnostic and preventive measures. PolyU and the Macau University of Science and Technology (M.U.S.T), in collaboration with other Chinese institutions, announced today a significant breakthrough in the development of a COVID-19 vaccine. Their study is the focus of a research paper recently published in the prestigious science journal Nature, entitled “A Vaccine Targeting the RBD of the S protein of SARS-CoV-2 Induces Protective Immunity”. (link)

3 Aug, 2020

Research & Innovation Innovation and Technology Development Office


PolyU contributes to the Nation’s first Mars mission with the Mars Camera

The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) has successfully developed and manufactured the “Mars Landing Surveillance Camera” (“Mars Camera”), one of the key instruments onboard the Mars spacecraft, to participate in the Nation’s first Mars mission Tianwen-1, which was launched today. The spacecraft for the Mars probe comprises an orbiter, a lander and a rover, aiming to complete orbiting, landing and roving in one single mission, an unprecedented attempt globally, as well as to obtain scientific exploration data on the Red Planet. Located on the outside top surface of the Mars lander platform, the Mars Camera will monitor the landing status, the surrounding environment and movements of the rover with respect to the unfolding and status of the solar panels and antennae. The information is critical for the successful movement of the Mars Rover onto the Mars surface.

23 Jul, 2020

Research & Innovation Faculty of Engineering

PolyU Tripartite Hospitality Programme Wins McCool Breakthrough Award

The Master of Science in Global Hospitality Business (MGH) programme was selected as the McCool Breakthrough Award recipient for 2020 by the International Council of Hotel, Restaurant, and Institutional Education (I-CHRIE), the world’s largest organisation of hospitality and tourism educators, for its innovative approach of this graduate degree programme. The tripartite programme is jointly offered by the School of Hotel and Tourism Management (SHTM) of The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, École hôtelière de Lausanne (EHL) in Switzerland and the Conrad N. Hilton College at the University of Houston (UH) in the USA. In granting the Award, the Award Committee acknowledged that “the cross-cultural, three-continent approach that includes immersion in business projects, certification, and field trips to global business hubs is certainly distinctive and noteworthy. It is unquestionably a unique approach to hospitality graduate education”. The one-of-a-kind MGH programme has successfully run for five years since inception. Launched in 2015, it was the first time that the three world-leading institutions, representing the best of the East and the best of the West, have joined hands to help define the future of global hospitality development. This innovative educational strategy allows students to spend one semester in each of the three continents – Europe, Asia and North America – capitalising on three outstanding faculties and campuses. It provides students with exposure to three distinct markets and three diverse cultures to develop their hospitable attitude and construct their management toolbox. With an unparalleled global educational experience, the MGH is able to facilitate students to truly “think global, act local”. “We are deeply grateful to I-CHRIE for having recognised us with this prestigious award,” Professor Kaye Chon, SHTM Dean, Chair Professor and Walter and Wendy Kwok Family Foundation Professor in International Hospitality Management, said. “In a world that has become very connected, it is vital for future hospitality leaders to have strong international perspectives to excel in the dynamic global environment. The SHTM is privileged to join hands with the EHL and UH to nurture talents to define the future development of the global hospitality landscape.” The SHTM has made a lasting mark in hospitality and tourism education by being a three-time recipient of the McCool Breakthrough Award. The School previously received the award in 2012 for its groundbreaking approach to hospitality education with the opening of Hotel ICON. In 2017, Dean Kaye Chon received the award for founding the annual Graduate Education and Graduate Students’ Research Conference in Hospitality and Tourism. The McCool Breakthrough Award is given to an individual, group, programme, school, college, association or corporation that has made a significant breakthrough or introduced a unique approach in the spirit of I-CHRIE’s mission. The Award recognises an event, activity, or programme in memory of Willie McCool, a dedicated and successful astronaut and son of Audrey and Barry McCool, faculty members at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.   *****END****   About PolyU’s School of Hotel and Tourism Management For over 40 years, PolyU’s School of Hotel and Tourism Management has refined a distinctive vision of hospitality and tourism education and become a world-leading hotel and tourism school. Rated No. 1 in the world in the “Hospitality and Tourism Management” category according to ShanghaiRanking’s Global Ranking of Academic Subjects 2020, placed No. 1 globally in the “Commerce, Management, Tourism and Services” category in the University Ranking by Academic Performance in 2019/2020 and ranked No. 1 in the world in the “Hospitality, Leisure, Sport & Tourism” subject area by the CWUR Rankings by Subject 2017, the SHTM is a symbol of excellence in the field, exemplifying its motto of Leading Hospitality and Tourism. The School is driven by the need to serve its industry and academic communities through the advancement of education and dissemination of knowledge. With more than 70 academic staff drawing from 21 countries and regions, the SHTM offers programmes at levels ranging from undergraduate degrees to doctoral degrees. Through Hotel ICON, the School’s groundbreaking teaching and research hotel and a vital aspect of its paradigm-shifting approach to hospitality and tourism education, the SHTM is advancing teaching, learning and research, inspiring a new generation of passionate, pioneering professionals to take their positions as leaders in the hospitality and tourism industry.

16 Jul, 2020

Achievements School of Hotel and Tourism Management


PolyU Intimate Fashion Show 2020 Balancing beauty and functionality, showcasing the creativity of the new generation

The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) held the PolyU Intimate Fashion Show 2020 on 9 July at the Hotel ICON, showcasing the creativity and design talents of 12 graduating students. The 12 collections of six outfits each that were on show were designed and produced by students majoring in Intimate Apparel and Activewear in the University’s Institute of Textiles and Clothing (ITC), with raw materials sponsored by intimate apparel manufacturers and suppliers. The chief sponsor this year is Nobeemas, a well-known high-end lingerie brand of Melaydoti. Three renowned figures in the design and fashion industry, Ms Beverly Black, Mr Dorian Ho and Mr Walter Ma, were invited as judges to select the Show’s Grand Prize. ITC alumna and TVB artist, Ms Chan Yan Yan, was also invited as MC for the Show. The Grand Prize was won by Au Cho-Ying, Sally with her “Mountainous” sportingcollection. Sally derived inspiration from huge mountains. She then made use of her Chinese brush painting skills to illustrate mountain scenes, and combined them with smocking patterns. Sally said sportswear is as skintight as intimate wear, and she took the functional features into consideration while doing tailoring: "I hope my designs can strike a balance between beauty and functionality – for example, the neckline should not be too high or too low. One can feel the comfort of wearing an item when doing sports while keeping a sleek look”. Another student, Chow Ching-lam, Ariel's work - "Infinity O" - was chosen by the audience as the "Audience Favorite". Ariel's design incorporates silver chains. She explained that there are many limitations in real life, but we should not limit our capacity to imagine. Through this collection, she hopes to express her endless imagination and her courage to breakthrough. Prof. Wing-tak Wong, Dean of Faculty of Applied Science and Textiles, PolyU, expressed his gratitude to the textile industry for its generous support to the Show, which enhanced the diversity of students’ learning experience. Prof. Jintu Fan, Chair Professor and Head of ITC, remarked that the students have overcome enormous challenges in completing their collections as the University was closed for a few months due to the COVID-19 pandemic. He believes that our students have fully demonstrated their innovation, talent and passion for intimate apparel and activewear design in the Show. Ms Angie Lau, Chairman of Hong Kong Intimate Apparel Industries’ Association and the CEO of Clover Group International Limited, stressed that HKIAIA would continue to support and nurture the younger generation for the continuous development of the industry.   *****END****

13 Jul, 2020

Events Faculty of Applied Science and Textiles


PolyU discovers the effect of chemical compound PTU on autophagy in zebrafish embryos, sheds light on cancer medication research

The zebrafish has been utilised as a model organism for biomedical research globally for half a century, mainly due to the high genetic similarity (over 70%) between zebrafish and human genes, with over 80% of human morbid genes related to at least one zebrafish orthologue. As test subjects, zebrafish are suitable for high throughput applications (to screen a large amount of genetic data simultaneously) and are widely used as a model organism for studying vertebrate development and for characterising diseases such as cancer, to help in identifying and testing new drugs. Fast development, cost-effective and easy to breed are also primary drivers for using the zebrafish research model. However, a recent research project led by Dr Alvin MA Chun-hang, Assistant Professor of the Department of Health Technology and Informatics, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU), has revealed that the conventional application of 1-phenyl 2-thiourea (PTU), a pigment suppresser used in the zebrafish research model, may affect the results of autophagy-related studies. This ground-breaking finding subsequently sheds light on the respective research guidelines and the research protocol in on-going studies on autophagy and haematology, warranting researchers to re-examine research that is linked to existing cancer therapy options. The research titled “1-phenyl 2-thiourea (PTU) Activates Autophagy in Zebrafish Embryos” (link) was published in Autophagy, a peer-reviewed science journal in April 2020. In most research using the zebrafish model, a chemical compound called 1-phenyl-2-thiourea (PTU) is commonly used to suppress pigment formation in zebrafish embryos, maintaining optical transparency to facilitate microscopic imaging. Over the past three years, the PolyU research team led by Dr MA has been using the zebrafish model to investigate the causes of leukaemia and its relationship with autophagy (self-eating) – a mechanism of metabolism that involves the degradation of cells by lysosomes and the process of cell renewal and regeneration. It is a cellular reaction to various physiological and pathological conditions regulating important processes, including intracellular material turnover, cell death, proliferation, development, ageing and tumourigenesis. According to Dr Ma, “Upon 0.003% PTU treatment, aberrant autophagosome and autolysosome formation, accumulation of lysosomes and elevated autophagic flux were observed in various tissues and organs of the zebrafish,” He pointed out that “Autophagy is crucial in the process of drug resistance of various cells and over-activation of autophagy may potentially interfere with the efficacy of drugs. The research finding means that when we are using this prominent model to study any autophagy-related processes like cancer, the results may not be truly reflected. These studies could have produced skewed results. Researchers should avoid using PTU in autophagy-related research in the future.” Dr MA added that the team has already suspended the use of PTU in zebrafish research. Light-sheet microscopy, which offers greater imaging depth, will be employed as an alternative, for image autophagy in the zebrafish embryo with pigment for their study on leukaemia. Furthermore, the new research findings also provide a direct mechanistic link between autophagy and melanoma, suggesting autophagy probably regulates melanoma development and drug resistance through interaction with tyrosinase, a key rate-limited regulator of melanin synthesis. Investigation into details of the molecular mechanism between autophagy and melanoma is expected in the future. Professor YIP Shea-ping, Head of Department of Health Technology and Informatics, said, “We are pleased to see our research team’s recent discovery published in Autophagy, the highest impact journal in the field. Dr MA has also been invited as co-author for new guidelines on autophagy research using zebrafish embryos, a revision that takes place every four years. With the new guidelines in place, we will be able to modify the way we conduct autophagy-related studies with the zebrafish model and, hopefully, to open the door to new treatments for various deadly diseases.”   ***** END *****  

9 Jul, 2020

Research & Innovation Faculty of Health and Social Sciences


PolyU Food Safety Consortium becomes the first and only Codex Observer as non-governmental organisation in Hong Kong and Mainland China

The Food Safety Consortium (FSC) hosted at The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) is delighted to have become an Observer at the Codex Alimentarius Commission (Codex), a body established by the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) and World Health Organisation (WHO) to develop food standards under the Joint FAO/WHO Food Standards Programme.

2 Jul, 2020

Others Innovation and Technology Development Office

The Chairmen of the Councils of the UGC Funded Universities issue the following statement

The Chairmen of the Councils of the UGC Funded Universities issue the following statement regarding The Law of the People's Republic of China on Safeguarding National Security in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (the National Security Law): Many countries around the world have put in place legislation to safeguard their own national security. We support the promulgation and implementation of the National Security Law, which applies to The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of The People's Republic of China. In addition to protecting our national security, the new law will help safeguard Hong Kong's prosperity and stability as well as our "One Country, Two Systems", with a view to putting an end to the year-long social instability which Hong Kong has suffered. We appeal to all stakeholders of the university communities to remain steadfast in their respective roles and to make continuous contributions to the community and our future generations by leveraging our traditional strengths in academic freedom, cultural diversity and broad international perspectives. Mr Lester Huang, Chairman of the Council of City University of Hong Kong Dr Clement Chen, Chairman of the Council of Hong Kong Baptist University Mr Andrew Yao Cho-fai, Chairman of the Council of Lingnan University Dr Norman Leung Nai-pang, Chairman of the Council of The Chinese University of Hong Kong Professor Frederick Ma Si-hang, Chairman of the Council of The Education University of Hong Kong Dr Lam Tai-fai, Chairman of the Council of The Hong Kong Polytechnic University Mr Andrew Liao, Chairman of the Council of The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology Professor Arthur Li, Chairman of the Council of The University of Hong Kong (Listed in alphabetical order of university titles)

1 Jul, 2020

Others Communications and Public Affairs Office


PolyU’s newest research on metalens-array-based high-dimensional and multi-photon quantum source published in Science

The top international journal, Science, has announced the latest paper of a joint team from The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU), Nanjing University, University of Science and Technology of China, National Taiwan University, Academia Sinica, East China Normal University, and National United University. The paper title is “Metalens-array-based high-dimensional and multi-photon quantum source” (link), and it reports on cutting-edge research in quantum information optics. The team’s work has resulted in the development of an advanced high-dimensional quantum entangled optical chip (optical meta-device). By combining quantum optics and metasurface optics, a 10×10 meta-lens array is designed, fabricated, and integrated with a nonlinear crystal (BaB2O4). It is experimentally demonstrated that the multi-photon pairs are superimposed and correlated with each other. The schematic of the high-dimensional quantum entangled optical chip (optical meta-device) is shown in Figure 1. In recent years, the internet plays an essential role in human life generally and in the rise of artificial intelligence technology specifically. The related needs are also booming, such as big data, the Internet of Things, etc. The computing speed and the storage capacity requirements have increased exponentially. According to Moore’s Law, the semiconductor industrial processes are quickly approaching their theoretical and physical limits, and improvement in the computing speed of the modern semiconductor chip has been gradually slowing down. To cope with higher information security, message-carrying capacity, and computation ability, quantum optics is seen as the most powerful solution. In quantum information science, such as quantum computing, quantum communication, and quantum cryptography, the physical picture is based on the generation, transmission, processing, and analysis of the quantum bits (qubits). In digital computing science, 0 and 1 are used as the binary variables. In quantum optics, a pair of entangled photons can contain multiple quantum states. When the quantum states of multiple pairs of entangled photon pairs are coupled and superimposed on each other, a new high-dimensional quantum superposition state will be generated, as shown in Figures 2 and 3. In the team’s work, a 10×10 meta-lens array and spontaneous down-conversion nonlinear crystals are integrated to form a high-dimensional quantum entangled optical chip (optical meta-device). This meta-device can generate 100 entangled photon pairs simultaneously, and the photon pairs correlate with each other. The research team has successfully developed a high-dimensional quantum entangled light source chip (meta-device). The interference experiment obtained a fidelity of nearly 98.4%, which confirmed the feasibility of this high-dimensional quantum entangled optical chip (optical meta-device). This breakthrough research will help quantum information science to realise many applications in our daily life in the future, such as quantum mobile communications, email access, online transactions, cashless payments, ATMs and e-banking, internet security, machine learning, artificial intelligence, neural networks and other applications related to security and confidentiality.   ***** End *****  

26 Jun, 2020

Research & Innovation Faculty of Engineering


PolyU collaborates with Macau University of Science and Technology to advance diagnosis of COVID-19 pneumonia

COVID-19 is taking its toll on the world, affecting more than 200 countries and regions. In the face of a surge in cases, rapid diagnosis and identification of high-risk patients for early intervention is crucial for controlling the pandemic. The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) is committed to the fight against COVID-19 and has been collaborating with various partners in the prevention and control of the disease.  PolyU today announced the launch of a new AI system jointly developed with the Macau University of Science and Technology (M.U.S.T.) in conjunction with other Chinese institutions, to assist in the rapid diagnosis of COVID-19 pneumonia. This research was published in the prestigious international journal Cell, in a paper entitled “Clinically Applicable AI System for Accurate Diagnosis, Quantitative Measurements, and Prognosis of COVID-19 Pneumonia Using Computed Tomography” (link).  The novel AI-assisted diagnostic system, based on computed tomography (CT) chest imaging, can efficiently distinguish COVID-19 pneumonia from other viral pneumonia, and predict the severity level in 20 seconds, with an accuracy of up to 90% or above. It assists radiologists and physicians in performing a quick diagnosis, especially when the health system is overloaded.

15 Jun, 2020

Research & Innovation Innovation and Technology Development Office

PolyU secures HK$32.6 million research funding from Research Impact Fund

Five research projects led by The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) have secured HK$32.6 million funding from the Research Impact Fund (RIF) under Research Grants Council (RGC) in the 2019/20 round of funding. For the second year running, PolyU obtained the largest amount of funding support among local universities in terms of the dollar amount and the total number of funded projects. The five projects awarded funding represent 45% of both funding and number of projects of the RIF in 2019/20. The funding will be used to advance a variety of research areas in data storage technology, space exploration, edge learning, glaucoma treatment and ultrasound imaging technology for assessing cardiovascular diseases. The projects, led by PolyU as the “coordinating university”, are as follows, which details are listed in the Appendix. Project Project-in-charge Funding Amount (HK$ million) Data Storage and Retrieval Using Peptides and Tandem Mass Spectrometry Sequencing Dr YAO Zhongping Associate Professor, Department of Applied Biology and Chemical Technology 9.7 Forward-looking Intravascular Photoacoustic/Ultrasound Imaging Technology for the Asssessment and Guidance of Cardiovascular Chronic Total Occlusion Intervention Dr LAM Kwok-ho Associate Professor & Associate Head, Department of Electrical Engineering 4.3 Mapping and characterization for optimized evaluation of potential landing sites on the Moon and Mars to support future missions Dr WU Bo Associate Professor, Department of Land Surveying and Geo-Informatics 4.5 Improving Vision and Quality of Life in Patients with Glaucoma Using Non-Invasive Brain Stimulation and Perceptual Learning: A Randomized Clinical Trial Dr CHEONG Ming Yan Allen Associate Professor, School of Optometry 8.8 Edge Learning: the Enabling Technology for Distributed Big Data Analytics in Cloud-Edge Environment Professor GUO Song Professor & Associate Head, Department of Computing 5.3 Total Amount 32.6 Professor Alexander Wai, Deputy President and Provost of PolyU, said, “This is testimony to the University’s capacity in undertaking impactful and translational research projects, as well as a recognition to our efforts in promoting knowledge advancement. PolyU will continue to leverage our strengths to foster strategic collaboration and partnerships across disciplines and institutions. We look forward to the fruitful results of the research teams’ research and their contributions to the well-being of humankind. “ The RIF, established by the University Grants Committee and administered by the RGC, aims to encourage universities in Hong Kong to conduct more collaborative research projects that may help meet Hong Kong's strategic and societal needs, and foster more collaborative efforts with stakeholders beyond academia.   ***** END *****

9 Jun, 2020

Research & Innovation Others

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