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Academic Staff

Dr CHANG, Raymond Chuen Chung 鄭傳忠

Dr CHANG, Raymond Chuen Chung 鄭傳忠

  • BSc, MPhil (CUHK); PhD (LMU, Munich)
  • Associate Professor
L4-49, Laboratory Block, 21 Sassoon Road, Hong Kong
+852 3917 9127
+852 2817 0857
  • Neurodegeneration
  • Pathogenesis of Alzheimer’s disease
  • Molecular mechanisms of risk factors for Alzheimer’s disease
  • Parkinson’s disease dementia
  • Lewy Body Dementias
  • Neuroimmune responses / Neuroimmunology
  • Vision loss in Alzheimer’s disease
  • Molecular signaling of neurodegeneration
  • Postdoctoral Fellow, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, National Institutes of Health, USA (1997-2000)
  • PhD, University of Munich (LMU), Munich, Germany (1994-1997)
  • MPhil, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong (1991-1993)
  • BSc, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong (1987-1991)
  • Founder and Secretary, HKU Alzheimer’s Disease Research Network under Strategic Research Theme of Aging, HKU
  • Member, State Key Laboratory of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, HKU
  • Member, HKU Strategic Research Themes on Neuroscience, Ageing, Food Science and Drug Discovery

Laboratory of Neurodegenerative Diseases

Mission of the Laboratory:

  • To elucidate the molecular mechanisms of neuronal death in aging-associated neurodegenerative diseases in order to develop neuroprotective agents

Focuses of Research:

  1. Molecular Mechanisms of Neuronal Degeneration (neuronal apoptosis, autophagy, synaptic degeneration & dysfunction of axonal transport) and Pharmacological Intervention including herbal medicine in Neurodegenerative Diseases
  2. Impact of Immune Responses in Neurological Disorders such as Alzheimer’s Disease and Glaucoma
  3. Elucidating the biological mechanisms of different risks factors leading to neurodegeneration and how to prevent different risk factors

Summary of Research:

  1. Molecular signaling of neuronal apoptosis, autophagy, synaptic degeneration and blockage of axonal transport.
    My research interest is to study the molecular signaling pathways of neuronal death in Alzheimer’s disease. It has been demonstrated that postmortem human brain section displays activated caspases, suggesting that neuronal apoptosis occurs in Alzheimer’s disease. We (Laboratory of Neurodegenerative Diseases) are the first to show that a novel double-stranded RNA-dependent protein kinase (PKR) is involved in ß-amyloid peptide-induced neuronal apoptosis. Although it is originally named as double-stranded RNA-dependent protein kinase, recent findings have shown that PKR is a stress kinase for different stress signals. PKR is not simply involved in neuronal apoptosis; it also plays significant roles in the highly regulated degenerative processes. Apart from PKR, a major on-going project in our laboratory is to elucidate and map out how intracellular organelles such as endoplasmic reticulum (ER) and mitochondria are affected by low molecular weight ß-amyloid (Aß) peptides, resulting in either autophagy or neuronal apoptosis. In addition, we are now investigating the signaling events leading to autophagic neuronal death and synaptic degeneration. Understanding of the molecular signaling pathways will definitely pave a road for a better therapeutic strategy against neurodegenerative diseases.
  2. Cell-cell Interactions of glial cells on disease progression of neurodegeneration. 
    Apart from the signaling pathways within neurons, cell-cell interaction between glia and neurons is also an important target for the therapy of neurodegenerative diseases. For example, how immune responses in the central nervous system affect the fate of neurons in various neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and glaucoma, is another thematic study in our group. Immune responses do not often occur in the brain, but only in the presence of potent immune stimulants or neuronal injuries. Innate immune components such as microglial cells are affected by normal neurotransmission and neurons. One of our research topics is to study how immune responses of glial cells in the eye affect the degeneration of retinal ganglion cells in glaucoma.
  3. Pharmacological targeting and drug discovery from herbal medicine for neurodegenerative diseases 
    With all the above basic science studies, we are able to engage in applied research in searching for neuroprotective agents from Chinese medicine to natural products. Through the collaboration with colleagues in School of Biological Science and Department of Chemistry, we have identified several compounds that have high potentials to be neuroprotective agents. We are attempting to develop and commercialize some of the products into pharmaceutical market. We believe that prevention of neurodegeneration is better than treatment.
  4. Pathophysiological mechanisms of risk factors leading to aging-associated neurodegeneration 
    In recent years, we are particularly interested in understanding the pathophysiological mechanisms of different risk factors leading to neurodegenerative diseases. Epidemiological studies have shown that repeated episodes of depression can lead to neurodegeneration in the hippocampus. We have demonstrated that depression can be considered to be a type of neurodegeneration leading to atrophy of hippocampus. We are actively investigating how depression leads to neurodegeneration in Alzheimer’s disease. Apart from depression, we are also investigating high-fat diet, hypertension, cigarette smoking and systemic inflammation. All these studies will advance our knowledge of how different factors lead to aging-associated neurodegeneration, and how we can prevent neurodegeneration.
  5. Pathophysiological changes of retina to inform disease progression in the brainPathophysiological changes of retina to inform disease progression in the brain
    Our laboratory has been investigating pathological changes in the retina of Alzheimer’s disease. We could find accumulation of ß-amyloid peptide and hyper-phosphorylation of tau protein in the retina of transgenic mice in Alzheimer’s disease. On the other hand, we could find similar pathology in glaucoma and aging-related macular degeneration. We propose that high level of ß-amyloid peptide can be a pathological factor triggering neurodegeneration in different forms of glaucoma. We are investigating the similarity of their pathologies so that our eyes can be a window for monitoring disease progression and efficacy of therapeutic intervention. This is a novel concept in neurodegenerative disease research.
  • Pathological changes of cholinergic neurons in Lewy Body Dementia
  • Molecular mechanisms of retinal degeneration in Alzheimer’s disease
  • Pathological consequence of systemic inflammation in Alzheimer’s disease
  • Cellular and molecular mechanisms of intracellular organelles (mitochondria & the endoplasmic reticulum) in degenerative processes of Alzheimer’s disease
  • Pathophysiological mechanisms of depression to synergize neurodegeneration and dementia in Alzheimer’s disease
  • Effects of Chinese medicine as neuroprotective agents in neurodegeneration

(Pubmed for publications in Journals): * = correspondence author; h-index = 35 by Scopus)

  1. Liu AKL, Hurry MED, Ng OTW, DeFelice J, Lai HM, Pearce RKB, Wong GTC, Chang RCC*, Gentleman SM (2016) Bringing CLARITY to human brain: visualization of Lewy pathology in three-dimensions. Neuropathol. Applied Neurobiol., 42, 573-587. Doi: 10.1111/nan.12293. [Correspondence author; Impact factor: 5.347 in the field of neuroscience; Rank of Journal: 33/258 (Top 12.8%) in the field of Neuroscience]
  2. Sy LK, Lok CN, Wang JY, Liu Y, Cheng L, Wan PK, Leung CT, Cao B, Kwong WL, Chang RCC Che CM (2016) Identification of “sarsasapogenin-aglyconed” timosaponins as novel Aß lowering modulators of amyloid precursor protein (APP) processing. Chem. Sci., 7, 3026-3214. [Impact factor: 8.668; Rank of Journal: 147165 (Top 10.3%) in Chemistry, Multidisciplinary]
  3. Liu AKL, Chang RCC, Pearce RKB, Gentleman SM (2015) Friedrich Lewy’s Nucleus basalis of Meynert revisited: anatomy, history and differential involvement in Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. Acta Neuropathol., 129, 527-540. [[Impact factor: 12.213; Rank of Journal: 9/258 (Top: 3.5%) in the field of Neuroscience]
  4. Poon DCH, Ho YS, You R, Tse J, Chu K and Chang RCC* (2015) PKR deficiency alters E. coli-induced sickness behaviors but does not exacerbate neuroimmune responses or bacterial load. J Neuroinflamm., 12:212. (DOI: 10.1186/s12974-015-0433-2) [Impact factor: 5.102 in the field of neuroscience; Rank of Journal: 40/258 (Top 15.5%) in the field of Neuroscience]
  5. Poon CH, Ho YS, Chiu K, Wong HL, Chang RCC* (2015) Sickness: From the focus on cytokines, prostaglandins, and complement factors to the perspectives of neurons. Neurosci. Biobehav. Rev., 57, 30-45. [Impact factor: 8.299 in the field of neuroscience; Rank of Journal: 17/258 (Top 6.6%) in the field of Neuroscience]
  6. Chang RCC*, Ho YS, Wong S, Gentleman SM, Ng HK (2014) Neuropathology of cigarette smoking. Acta Neuropathol., 127, 53-69. [Impact factor: 12.213; Rank of Journal: 9/258 (Top: 3.5%) in the field of Neuroscience]
  7. Wuwongse S, Cheng SSY, Wong GTH, Hung CHL, Zhang NQ, Ho YS, Law ACK, Chang RCC* (2013) Effects of corticosterone and amyloid-beta on proteins essential for synaptic function: Implications for depression and Alzheimer’s disease. BBA- Mol. Basis Dis., 1832, 2245-2256. [Impact factor: 5.467; Rank of Journal: 45/286 (Top: 15.7%) in the field of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology]
  8. Ho YS, Yang XF, Lau JCF, Hung CHL, Wuwongse S, Zhang Q, Wang JZ, Baum L, So KF, Chang RCC* (2012) Endoplasmic reticulum stress induces tau pathology and forms a vicious cycle: Implication in Alzheimer’s disease pathogenesis. J. Alzheimers Dis., 28, 839-854. [Impact factor: Impact factor: 3.731 in the field of neuroscience; Rank of Journal: 77/258 (Top 29.8%) in the field of Neuroscience]
  9. Hung CHL, Ho YS, Chang RCC* (2010) Modulations of mitochondrial calcium as a pharmacological target for Alzheimer’s disease. Ageing Res. Rev., 9, 447-456. [Impact factor: 6.174; Rank of Journal: 3/44 (Top: 6.8%) in the field of Geriatric & Gerontology]
  10. Wuwongse S, Chang RCC*, Law ACK (2010) The putative neurodegenerative links between depression and Alzheimer’s disease. Prog. Neurobiol., 91, 362-375. [Impact factor: 12.163; Rank of Journal: 7/258 (Top: 2.7%) in the field of Neuroscience]
2017 Video, Poster and Public Talk on GeronTechnology for the “Prevention of Ageing –associated neurodegeneration in Alzheimer’s disease and glaucoma by anti-aging Chinese medicine Wolfberry”, Hong Kong Conventional Centre, June 18, 2017.
2014 Interviewed by Bloomberg News on “Alzheimer Crisis in China”, January 2014.
2013 Press Release, Society for Neuroscience, “Can the Eyes help Diagnose Alzheimer’s Disease?”, USA, November, 2013
2013 Interviewed by Greek Newspaper “Kathimerini” on “Eyes help diagnose Alzheimer’s disease”, The most prominent Greek Newspaper, Greece, November 2013.
2012 RTHK Radio 1 program “精靈一點” to talk about how to translate basic science research of Gouqizi (Wolfberry) to application of neurodegeneration. December 31.
2012 RTHK TV program “To have a healthy and happy life” for Gouqizi (Wolfberry) as preventive medicine and secondhand cigarette smoking leading to neurodegeneration in Alzheimer’s Disease. December 9. (It is broadcasted in ATV and TVB in both English and Chinese Channels.)
2012 Metro Newspaper “How do we improve dementia?” on 3/12/12 (Chinese).
2011 RTHK Radio 1 program “精靈一點” to talk about Gouqizi (Wolfberry) and neurodegeneration in Alzheimer’s disease. November 25.
2011 Oriental Daily News, Wolfberry against Glaucoma and Alzheimer’s disease (In Chinese) “杞子抗青光眼 阻止腦退化” September 25.
2010 TVB Tuesday Report, Interview for Wolfberry as anti-aging Chinese Medicine
2010 Publication for community: “從醫學基礎研究到保健產品談老年癡呆症:你我知多少?”In: L. K. Lam et. al,育醫造才:探索醫學世界 (Explore the World of Medicine). Hong Kong, The University of Hong Kong Li Ka Shing Faculty of Medicine, 2010, 76-78.
2009 Ming Po Weekly, Interview of how to prevent Alzheimer’s Disease
2009 South China Morning Post, Telephone interviewed about Alzheimer’s Disease
2009 NOW TV, Alzheimer’s disease and Neuroprotective Wolfberry
2009 RTHK Radio 1 Channel, Alzheimer’s disease and Neuroprotective Wolfberry
2008 NOW TV, Glaucoma and Neuroprotection
2008 RTHK Health TV program, Alzheimer’s disease
2007 Health Column, Dementia and improvement of memory, Jessica
2007 Health Column, Dementia and improvement of memory, Oriental Daily
2005 Press interview of Alzheimer’s Disease and Neuroprotective Effects of Gouqizi (Wolfberry) to all Newspapers and press (Chinese and English)
2005 Health Press: Alzheimer’s Disease and Neuroprotective Wolfberry, MetroDaily


The laboratory has been supported by General Research Fund (GRF), RGC-NSFC Joint Research Scheme, and RGC-Procore France Joint Research Scheme by Research Grant Council of Hong Kong, Health and Medical Research Fund of Hong Kong, Innovative and Technology Fund, American Health Assistant Foundation (now called BrightFocus Foundation, USA), The Glaucoma Foundation (USA), Azalea (1972) Foundation, Croucher Foundation, contract research by GlaxoSmithKline R&D and NeuroTech (HK) Limited, and generous donation from Ms. Kit-Wan CHOW.

  • Shenzhen Outstanding Science and Technology Prize (Group Second Prize), (2014)
  • Young Investigator Travel Award, International Society to Advance Alzheimer Research and Treatment (2008)
  • Neuroscientist - Teacher Partner Award, Society for Neuroscience, USA (2006)
  • Research Fellow Award for Research Excellence, National Institutes of Health, USA (1999)
  • NIH Visiting Fellowship Award, NIH, U.S.A. (1997-2000)
  • NATO Scholarship – Full sponsorship of the participation in NATO advanced course in flow cytometry, France (1995)
  • Research Fellow Award for outstanding Hong Kong pre-doctoral student, German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), Germany (1993-1997)
  • Grant Reviewer, British Medical Research Council (2014-now)
  • Grant Reviewer, British Biotechnology and Biological Science Research Council (2014-now)
  • Grant Reviewer, Kuwait Foundation of Advanced Sciences, Kuwait (2012-now)
  • Grant Reviewer, National Science Center, Poland (2011-now)
  • Grant Reviewer, Research Grant Council, Hong Kong (2008-now)
  • Member in Scientific Review Committee, Alzheimer Association, USA (2005-now)
  • Animal Ethic Committee, Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong (2010-2016)
  • Scientific Advisory Board, International Conference on Alzheimer’s / Parkinson’s Diseases (2008-now)
  • Council member, Hong Kong Society of Neuroscience, Hong Kong (2008-now)
  • Council member, Hong Kong Society of Immunology, Hong Kong (2008-now)
  • Member in Scientific Advisory Board, Chinese Brain Bank, Tongji Medical College, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Wuhan, CHINA (2007-now)
  • Scientific advisor for Biotechnology Curriculum in Po Leung Kuk Laws Foundation College (the first biotechnology curriculum in secondary school in Hong Kong) (2004-now)
  1. Editor-in-Chief, American Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Dementia
  2. Section Chief Editor, Journal of Neuroimmune Pharmacology
  3. Associate Editor, Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease
  4. Advance in Alzheimer’s Disease
  5. Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, Dementia & Parkinsonism
  6. Neuroimmunology and Neuroinflammation
  7. Chinese Medicine
  8. Asia Journal of Neuroscience
  9. Journal of Brain and Behavioral Sciences
  10. Neural Regeneration Research
  11. Dataset Paper in Neuroscience
  12. Advance in Neuroscience Research
  13. Neurology, Open Access
  14. Dataset Paper in Medicine (Ophthalmology)
  15. International Journal of Ophthalmic Research
  16. International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Medicine
  17. Anatomy & Physiology: Current Research
  18. The Open Enzyme Inhibition Journal
  19. World Journal of Methodology
  20. Journal of Neurology and Psychology
  21. Medicine
  22. "Medicine and Pharmacy" Board, InTech Open Access Publisher
  1. Lycium Barbarum and Human Health”, (2015) edited by Raymond Chuen-Chung CHANG and Kwok-Fai SO. Springer Netherlands, April 2015, ISBN 978-94-017-9657-6 (hard copy), ISBN 978-94-017-9658-3 (eBook).
  2. Advanced Understanding of Neurodegenerative Diseases”, (2011) edited by Raymond Chuen-Chung CHANG. (by invitation to be editor) InTech Open Access Publisher, ISBN 978-953-307-485-6 (
  3. Neurodegenerative Diseases - Processes, Prevention, Protection and Monitoring”, (2011) edited by Raymond Chuen-Chung CHANG. (by invitation to be editor) InTech Open Access Publisher, ISBN 978-953-307-529-7 (
  1. So KF, Yuen WH, Chang RCC, Zee SY (2005) Methods using Lycium Barbarum Extracts as Neuroprotective Agents for Retinal Ganglion Cells Degeneration. US Patent 20050196418-A1.
  2. Chang RCC, Yuen WH, So KF, Zee SY (2005) Water-soluble polysaccharide extract, useful to inhibit neuronal cell death and to treat or prevent e.g. age-related disorders, comprises arabinose, galactose, glucose, xylose, rhamnose, mannose, glucuronic acid and galacturonic acid. US Patent US2005170028-A1.
  • Dr. John Man-Tak CHU (Postdoc)
  • Miss Samarntha Ran YOU (PhD student)
  • Miss Anuri SHAH (PhD student, HKU-King's Joint PhD Program)
  • Miss Cindy Chi-Ching PANG (PhD student, HKU-King’s Joint PhD Program)
  • Miss Chunxia HUANG (PhD student, Anesthesiology) 
  • Miss Jenny Yan LIU (PhD student, Anesthesiology)
  • Miss Summer Mung-Yee WONG (MPhil student)
  • Ms. Carmen KM LOK (Lab Manager)
  • Mr. Krit LEE (Research Assistant, Part-time MMedSci student)
  • Mr. Jeff CF Lau (Research Assistant)
  • Mr. Ulysses TF LAM (Research Assistant)
  • Ms Becky STELL (Research Assistant)
  • Mr Joy Yan LAM (Student Research Assistant)
  • Miss Jenna WY CHING (Student Research Assistant, Univ. British Columbia)