Chan Wing Tung 陳穎彤

  • Studentship in 2023 at Hong Kong University of Science and Technology

About Wing Tung Chan’s work

Wing Tung Chan is researching small molecule therapeutics for the treatment of Leigh Syndrome (LS). LS is a rare inherited neurometabolic disorder that affects the central nervous system, skeletal muscles and the heart, and can be caused by mutations in nuclear or mitochondrial DNA. It causes severe symptoms (e.g. subacute necrotizing encephalopathy, epilepsy, dystonia, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy) and premature death in human patients, but there is currently no effective treatment.

LS is commonly caused by a mutation in the NDUFS4 gene which can lead to defects in the electron transport chain (ETC) in complex I - a large protein complex located in the inner mitochondrial membrane.

Chan’s research is focused on CPEB4, a RNA-binding protein that controls polyadenylation-induced translation. Building on previous findings that CPEB4 regulates expression of many mitochondrial proteins, Chan is researching whether CPEB4 overexpression can restore adenosine triphosphate (ATP) production in LS, and so rescue the disease phenotypes.

The first aim of her project will be phenotypic characterization of NDUFS4 mutation models in vitro and in vivo following CPEB4 overexpression, to validate her hypothesis. The second aim will be small molecule drug screening for positive regulators of CPEB4, followed by in vitro and in vivo validation.

This would be a novel approach to treating mitochondrial diseases and could widely benefit human patients suffering from conditions related to mitochondrial dysfunction, such as neurodegenerative diseases and diabetes mellitus.


Wing Tung Chan graduated in Pharmacy with first-class honours from the Chinese University of Hong Kong in 2020, where she made the Dean’s List in the Faculty of Medicine and the College Head’s List at United College. She was also the recipient of a scholarship from the Fortune Pharmacal Lai Yung Kwoon Foundation. Chan is a Registered Pharmacist in Hong Kong, and is currently a research assistant at Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, where she is pursuing her PhD.