Start main content

Academic Staff

Dr GAO, Bo 高波

Dr GAO, Bo 高波

  • BSc, PhD (Shanghai Jiao Tong U)
  • Assistant Professor
L3-64, Laboratory Block, 21 Sassoon Road, Hong Kong
+852 3917 6809
+852 2855 1254

Cell Signaling in Development and Disease

  • Wnt/PCP signaling
  • Genetic Skeletal Disorders
  • B.Sc. Shanghai Jiao Tong University
  • Ph.D. Shanghai Jiao Tong University
  • Research Associate, Department of Biochemistry, The University of Hong Kong
  • Postdoctoral Fellow, National Human Genome Research Institute, NIH
  • Research Fellow, National Human Genome Research Institute, NIH
  • Staff Scientist, National Human Genome Research Institute, NIH

Dr. Gao obtained his bachelor and doctoral degrees from Shanghai Jiao Tong University (SJTU) in Shanghai, where he received the academic training in the fields of human genetics and developmental genetics. After completing his postdoctoral training at U.S. National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI), National Institutes of Health (NIH), he worked in the same institute as research fellow and staff scientist. In 2015, Dr. Gao joined The University of Hong Kong as Assistant Professor.

Cell signaling is a major strategy that all living beings take to control basic cellular activities and coordinate their actions across tissues and organs. It plays fundamental roles in development, physiology and homeostasis by spatial and temporal regulation and coordination of cell proliferation, differentiation, survival and polarity. Our laboratory is interested in understanding the molecular mechanism of how Wnt signaling regulates Planar Cell Polarity (PCP), which is an evolutionarily conserved essential mechanism that provides directional information to regulate polarized cellular and tissue behaviors. Disruption of Wnt/PCP signaling underlies a variety of developmental defects (e.g., neural tube defects, skeletal dysplasias), while its activation has been implicated in cancer malignancy. We use molecular, biochemical, cellular and genetic approaches to investigate signaling mechanisms of Wnt/PCP pathway and their functions in normal developmental processes and human diseases.

Our laboratory is also interested in studying the pathogenic mechanisms of human genetic skeletal disorders and the signaling pathways linked to these diseases. Skeletal disorder is a heterogeneous group of conditions associated with various abnormalities of the skeleton (e.g., bone, cartilage, tendon and ligament), many of which are the results of genetic defects that disrupt the normal skeletal growth and development. We aim to identify novel genetic risk factors and use animal models to understand their pathogenic mechanisms.

Wnt/PCP signaling

  1. Gao B, Song H, Bishop K, Elliot G, Garrett L, English MA, Andre P, Robinson J, Sood R, Minami Y, Economides AN, Yang Y. Wnt signaling gradients establish planar cell polarity by inducing Vangl2 phosphorylation through Ror2. Dev Cell. 2011, 20(2): 163-176.
  2. Gao B. Wnt Regulation of Planar Cell Polarity (PCP). Curr Top Dev Biol. 2012, 101:263-295.
  3. Gao B, Yang Y. Planar Cell Polarity in vertebrate limb morphogenesis. Curr Opin Genet Dev. 2013 Aug;23(4):438-44.
  4. Gao B, Ajima R, Yang W, Li C, Song H, Anderson MJ, Liu RR, Lewandoski MB, Yamaguchi TP, Yang Y. Coordinated directional outgrowth and pattern formation by integration of Wnt5a and Fgf signaling in planar cell polarity. Development. 2018 Apr 13;145(8).
  5. Yang W, Garrett L, Feng D, Elliott G, Liu X, Wang N, Wong YM, Choi NT, Yang Y and Gao B. Wnt-induced Vangl2 phosphorylation is dose-dependently required for planar cell polarity in mammalian development. Cell Res. 2017 Dec;27(12):1466-1484.
  6. Feng D, Wang J, Yang W, Li J, Lin X, Zha F, Wang X, Ma L, Choi NT, Mii Y, Takada S, Huen MSY, Guo Y, Zhang L, Gao B. Regulation of Wnt/PCP Signaling through p97/VCP-KBTBD7-mediated Vangl Ubiquitination and Endoplasmic Reticulum-Associated Degradation. Science Advances. 2021 May 14;7(20):eabg2099.
  7. Wang J, Feng D, Gao B. An overview of potential therapeutic agents targeting WNT/PCP signaling. Handbook of Experimental Pharmacology. 2021;269:175-213.
  8. Feng D, He Z, Gao B. Analysis of the Ubiquitination and Phosphorylation of Vangl Proteins. Bio Protoc. 2022 in press.

Genetic Skeletal Disorders

  1. Gao B, Guo J, She C, Shu A, Yang M, Tan Z, Yang X, Guo S, Feng G, He L. Mutations in IHH, encoding Indian hedgehog, cause brachydactyly type A-1. Nat Genet. 2001, 28(4):386-8.
  2. Gao B, He L. Answering a century old riddle: brachydactyly type A1. Cell Res. 2004, 14(3):179-87.
  3. Gao B, Hu J, Stricker S, Cheung M, Ma G, Law KF, Witte F, Briscoe J, Mundlos S, He L, Cheah KS, Chan D. A mutation in Ihh that causes digit abnormalities alters its signalling capacity and range. Nature. 2009, 30;458(7242):1196-200.
  4. Li C, Wang N, Schaffer AA, Liu X, Zhao Z, Elliott G, Garrett L, Choi NT, Wang Y, Wang Y, Wang C, Wang J, Su P, Chan D, Cui S, Yang Y, Gao B. Mutations in COMP cause familial carpal tunnel syndrome. Nat Commun. 2020 July 20; 11(1):3642. doi:  10.1038/s41467-020-17378-z.
  5. Feng X, Cheung JPY, Je JSH, Cheung PWH, Chen SX, Yue M, Wang N, Choi VNT,  Yang XY, Song YQ, Luk KDK, Gao B. Genetic variants of TBX6 and TBXT identified in patients with congenital scoliosis in Southern China. J Orthop Res. 2021 May; 39(5):971-988.
  6. Lai W, Feng X, Yue M, Cheung PWH, Choi VNT, Song YQ, Luk KDK, Cheung JPY, Gao B. Identification of Copy Number Variants in a Southern Chinese Cohort of Patients with Congenital Scoliosis. Genes. 2021, 12(8), 1213.
  7. Chen P, Tan Z, Shek HT, Zhang J, Zhou Y, Yin S, Dong Z, Xu J, Qiu A, Dong L, Gao B, To MKT. Phenotypic Spectrum and Molecular Basis in a Chinese Cohort of Osteogenesis Imperfecta With Mutations in Type I Collagen. Front Genet. 2022 Jan 28;13:816078.
  • Research Grant Council – Early Career Scheme 2017–2020 (PI)
  • Research Grant Council – General Research Fund 2019–2022 (PI)
  • Research Grant Council – General Research Fund 2020–2023 (PI)
  • Research Grant Council – General Research Fund 2021–2024 (PI)
  • Research Grant Council – General Research Fund 2022–2025 (PI)
  • Health and Medical Research Fund 2018–2020 (PI)
  • Health and Medical Research Fund 2019–2021 (PI)
  • Health and Medical Research Fund 2020–2023 (PI)
  • Health and Medical Research Fund 2021–2024 (PI)
  • National Natural Science Foundation – General Program 2018–2021 (PI)
  • National Natural Science Foundation – General Program 2022–2025 (PI)
  • National Excellent Postgraduate Scholarship (2001)
  • Dr Cheng Yu Tung Fellowship, Hong Kong (2002)
  • Shanghai Youth Science and Technology Innovation Mayor Award (2003)
  • Second-Class Prize of National Natural Science Award (2003)
  • National Youth Science and Technology Innovation Award (2004)
  • Nomination Award of National Excellent Doctoral Dissertation (2008)
  • NIH The Fellows Award for Research Excellence (FARE) (2010)
  • NHGRI Intramural Research Training Award (2012)
  • NIH Genome Recognition of Employee Accomplishments and Talents (GREAT) Award (2013 & 2014)
  • Chinese Medical Science and Technology Award for Youths (2020)
  • Scientific Reports (2019–present)
  • Frontiers in Cell and Developmental Biology (2020–present)
  • FENG, Di (Postdoc, PhD student 2016–2020)
  • LIN, Xiaochen (Postdoc, PhD student 2017–2020)
  • WANG, Xiaolu (O&T Postdoc, O&T PhD student, 2018–2021)
  • FENG, Xin (PhD student, 2018– )
  • ZHA, Fangzi (PhD student, 2019– )
  • YANG, Shaobo (PhD student, 2020– )
  • LIU, Zhiyin (PhD student, 2020– )
  • ZHANG, Xiaotian (PhD student, 2021– ), HKPF and HKU-PS awardee
  • WANG, Zihan (PhD student, 2022– ), HKPF and HKU-PS awardee
  • YI, Jianshu (PhD student, 2022– )
  • ZHANG, Jianan (O&T PhD student, 2022– )
  • YANG, Rui (RA, 2022– )


Last update: 2022-09-12