Kathryn Cheah Song Eng

  • Senior Research Fellowship in 2000 at The University of Hong Kong
Kathryn Song Eng CHEAH is Chair Professor of Biochemistry at The University of Hong Kong and an internationally renowned expert on understanding gene regulation and function and how mutations cause disease, with an emphasis on the skeletal system and the inner ear. She has contributed insights into the regulation and function of genes in vivo and the molecular pathogenesis of disease by generating transgenic mice and mouse models and by studying human degenerative skeletal disorders especially degenerative intervertebral disk disease (DDD). Examples of key discoveries of her group are: SOX9 is a direct regulator of key cartilage gene COL2A1 (Nature Genetics 1997); discovery that Sox2 is the gene responsible for hearing, a breakthrough that could eventually lead to a cure for congenital deafness (Nature 2005); identifying stress triggered by the presence of unfolded proteins as a contributory cause of congenital skeletal disorders (PLoS Biol, 2007). She made major contribution towards the discovery of the underlying cause of the human short digit disorder Brachydacyly type A (Nature 2009). She is the Principal Investigator and Director of an Hong Kong University Grants Council Area of Excellence Programme “Developmental Genomics & Skeletal Disease’ an 8 year multidisciplinary programme involving scientists and clinicians combining molecular, biochemical, cellular, developmental and in vivo models with genomic, genetic and clinical studies, to address key issues in skeletal biology. In the area of public service, she served on the Biology and Medicine Panel of the Research Grants Council of Hong Kong for 6 years. She is the founding President of Hong Kong Society for Developmental Biology and was the President of the International Society for Matrix Biology 2006-2008. She actively promotes public understanding of science in the region. (2000/2001)