Senior Research Fellow Yu Huang

28 May 2015

Professor Yu Huang is an experienced basic scientist with a key research interest, among many, in vascular function and dysfunction in diseases, mainly diabetes and hypertension. He is motivated by the increasing rate of new cases of diabetes, especially in mainland China, as well as the tendency of patients suffering from type II diabetes to die of cardiovascular events or kidney disease.

The diabetic condition is associated with high blood glucose, due to the lack of insulin or the dysfunction of the insulin secretion or effect. High glucose levels cause damage to cells in blood vessels, such as the endothelial cells, which is Huang’s main focus. Many drugs available in the market target this damage and aim to reduce the excess circulating glucose in order to help patients with diabetes. At the same time, Huang’s team is interested in discovering how these anti-diabetic drugs can also be used to reverse the effect of impaired vascular function by the cause of diabetic conditions.

“We would like to determine if anti-diabetic drugs in the market have multiple benefits, apart from just a blood glucose lowering effect. These drugs can act as a chemical that can suppress inflammation or try to increase the production of chemicals released from endothelial cells.”

If multiple effects for particular drugs in the market are discovered, this can help effectively address the range of problems caused by diabetes, which are all important and relevant.

Vascular dysfunction is a key element leading to major vascular diseases that in turn, affect many organ functions like the kidney or the heart. This makes it important to preserve vascular function or in the case that function is negatively affected, it is essential to discover how to regain an optimal level of functionality, reducing the harm done to the organs.

As part of the research, Huang aims to find out any new benefits physical exercise contributes to vascular function. Further study can help determine new targets for drugs to tackle, to work together with the physical activity to achieve improved vascular health.

Huang believes that close collaboration with students is important, in order to exchange views and ideas and to test whether your hypothesis is feasible or not.

He says, “Research is teamwork – it is important to maintain contact with former students when they travel to other parts of the world in order to facilitate continuous collaboration. This close contact ensures that past members of the team or the lab continue to contribute to ongoing studies and offer their perspectives, thus both benefiting from the relationship.”

Huang was awarded the Croucher Senior Research Fellowship in 2014. He is currently a Professor in the School of Biomedical Sciences in the Chinese University of Hong Kong. He is also the Director of Basic Sciences in the Institute of Vascular Medicine.

For more information on Croucher Senior Research Fellowships, please click here.


                 
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