Department of Biochemistry
Assistant Dean (Reseach Affairs)
Li Ka Shing Faculty of Medicine
The University of Hong Kong
Hong Kong, China
After graduating from the University of Melbourne with a Bachelor of Science (with honours), Master of Science and a PhD, Danny Chan continued research at his alma mater on heritable skeletal disorders with a focus on extracellular matrix proteins. His research contributed significantly to the understanding of the molecular consequences in many forms of the human osteochondrodysplasias. In recognition, he was presented with an award for “Excellence in Medical Research” by the State Premier of Victoria, Australia. He joined the University of Hong Kong in 1998, maintaining his research in skeletal biology using mouse as a model to address disease mechanisms in vivo, as well as human genetic studies to define genetic risk factors for common degenerative skeletal conditions such as intervertebral disc degeneration. Key findings in his laboratory included the consequence of cellular stress in chondrocytes allowing matured chondrocytes to be “rejuvenated”, and how the capacity and range of a signaling molecule, Indian hedgehog, are regulated in development, published in PLoS Biology and Nature, respectively. Recently, he published in the American Journal of Human Genetics a significant discovery of a genetic risk factor for intervertebral disc degeneration and osteoarthritis that regulates TGF signaling, providing the potential of a new therapeutic target and preventive strategy. In 2010, he received a Research Output Prize from the University of Hong Kong. Overall, his research interest is in skeletal biology, focusing on development, growth and degenerative processes of the skeleton in health and disease In addition, he coordinates a Human Genetic Programme to identify genetic risk factors for the development of intervertebral disc degeneration.