Alumni Kaleidoscope: Michael Huen - BSc(BICH), Mphil(BICH)
Professor, School of Biomedical Sciences
Assistant Dean (Innovation and Technology), LKS Faculty of Medicine
The University of Hong Kong
Michael originally had not considered pursuing a career in science, but his Final Year Project with Professors Jeffrey Wong and Hannah Hong Xue in the last year of his undergraduate studies greatly changed his mindset. He was hooked once he experienced the joy of working hard to come up with new discoveries, and went on to complete his MPhil and PhD studies at HKUST and The University of Hong Kong respectively before going to the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota, USA for his postdoctoral training. Michael stayed at Mayo Clinic for six months before following his former mentor to Yale University, where he remained for the next two and half years.
In 2009, Michael returned to Hong Kong to start his academic career at The University of Hong Kong where he is now Professor of School of Biomedical Sciences. Michael's lab – the Huen Laboratory – focuses on understanding how cells detect and respond to DNA damage. His favorite part of research is witnessing first-hand unexpected discoveries, and he and his team are constantly hard at work to identify the proteins that preserve and repair damaged DNA based on the rationale that many of these proteins are aberrantly expressed or mutated in cancers and other genetic diseases.
In recognition of his dedication and contributions to the scientific community, he was awarded the Early Career Award 2012-13 by the Research Grants Council and the Outstanding Young Researcher Award 2014-15 by The University of Hong Kong. In 2016 he was also elected to co-organise the Gordon Research Conference on Genomic Instability in 2018 and 2022.
Michael recalls his time at HKUST fondly. "It was where I realized what I am passionate about in life. I was very fortunate to have been mentored by Prof. Jeffrey Wong and Prof. Hannah Hong Xue, who were both very supportive and motivating. It was also during this time that I made many good friends, some of which I now work closely with," he says.
Know more about Michael's Research here: