Dr. KAO Yi Tsun, Richard

B.Sc.(Hons), Ph.D. (University of British Columbia)

Associate Professor

Email: rytkao@hku.hk

ORCID : https://orcid.org/0000-0001-8703-4980

HKU Scholars Hub: https://hub.hku.hk/cris/rp/rp00481

Personal Website


Dr. Richard Kao received his Ph. D. (Microbiology; under the supervision of Julian Davies) in 1999 from the University of British Columbia and subsequent postdoctoral training from Harvard Medical School. Richard joined the University of Hong Kong in 2001 as a Research Assistant Professor, first in HKU-Pasture Research Center, and later in the Department of Microbiology. Now he is the Assistant Professor in the Department of Microbiology and the Director of Chemical Genetics Unit, Research Center of Infection and Immunology, Li Ka Shing Faculty of Medicine, the University of Hong Kong. Currently Dr. Kao’s research focuses on the application of chemical genetics in infectious diseases. His work on SARS-associated coronavirus (SARS-CoV), which was published in Chemistry & Biology in 2004, has established the world’s first model of chemical genetics in virology and illustrated that chemical genetic approach could be employed to probe most, if not all, druggable targets of a pathogenic virus. After the SARS work, Dr. Kao’s team employed similar approach to identify new druggable targets in influenza viruses and published in Nature Biotechnology in 2010 an article detailing the groundbreaking discovery of influenza A nucleoprotein as a druggable antiviral target and the compound nucleozin as a potent antagonist of the nucleoprotein. This is also the first time that a study led by local researchers in Hong Kong is published in Nature Biotechnology.

research focus

  1. Application of chemical genetics in infectious diseases;
  2. Novel druggable targets in pathogenic microbes and antimicrobial drug discovery;
  3. Antimicrobial biomaterials. 

selected publications

  1. Kao, R.Y., Yang, D., Lau, L.S., Tsui, W.H.W., Hu, L., Dai, J., Chan, M.P., Chan, C.M., Wang, P., Zheng, B., Huang, J., Madar, J.C.S., Sun, J., Chen, G., Chen, H., Guan Y., and Yuen, K.Y. 2010. Identification of influenza A nucleoprotein as an antiviral target. Nature Biotechnology. 28:600-605.
  2. Ho, P.L., Lo, P.Y., Chow, K.H., Lau, E.H., Lai, E.L., Cheng, V.C., Kao, R.Y. 2010. Vancomycin MIC creep in MRSA isolates from 1997 to 2008 in a healthcare region in Hong Kong. J Infect. 60:140-145.
  3. Lau, R.W., Ho, P.L., Kao, R.Y., Siu, G.K., Cheng, V.C., Yuen, K.Y., Yam, W.C. 2009. Rapid diagnosis of multidrug-resistant smear-positive pulmonary tuberculosis. Int J Antimicrob. Agents. 35:202-203.
  4. Leung, T.Y., Ho P.L., Yuen, K.Y., Woo, W.L., Lam, T.H., Kao R.Y.T., Seto, W.H. and Yam, W.C. 2006. Molecular characterization of isoniazid resistance in Mycobacterium tuberculosis: identification of a novel mutation in inhA, Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy 50: 1075-1078.
  5. Woo, P.C., Lau, S.K., Wong, B.H., Tsoi, H.W., Fung, A.M., Kao, R.Y., Chan, K.H., Peiris, J.S., Yuen, K.Y. 2005. Differential sensitivities of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) coronavirus spike polypeptide enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) and SARS coronavirus nucleocapsid protein ELISA for serodiagnosis of SARS coronavirus pneumonia. J Clin Microbiol. 43:3054-8.
  6. Woo, P.C.Y., Ma, S.S.L., Teng, L.L., Li, W.S., Kao, R.Y.T., Lau, S.K.P. and Yuen, K.Y. 2005. Construction of an inducible expression shuttle vector for Laribacter hongkongensis, a novel bacterium associated with gastroenteritis, FEMS Microbiology Letters 252: 57-65.
  7. Kao, R.Y., To, A.P.C., Ng, L.W.Y., Tsui, W.H.W., Lee, T.S.W., Tsoi, H.W., Yuen, K.Y. 2004. Characterization of SARS-CoV main protease and identification of biologically active small molecule inhibitors using a continuous fluorescence-based assay. FEBS Lett. 576:325-330.
  8. Kao, R.Y., Tsui, W.H.W., Lee, T.S.W., Tanner, J.A., Watt, R.M., Hung, J.D., Hu, L.H., Chen, G.H., Chen, Z.W., Zhang, L.Q., He, T., Chan, K.H., Tse, H., To, A.P.C., Ng, L.W.Y., Wong, B.C.W., Tsoi, H.W., Yang, D., Ho, D.D., Yuen, K.Y. 2004. Identification of novel small molecule inhibitors of severe acute respiratory syndrome-associated coronavirus by chemical genetics. Chem. Biol. 11:1293-1299.
  9. Kao, R, Jenkins, J.L., Olson, K.A., Key, M.E., Fett, J.W., and Shapiro, R. 2002. A small-molecule inhibitor of the ribonucleolytic activity of human angiogenin that possesses antitumor activity. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 99:10066-10077.
  10. Kao, R. and Davies, J. 2000. Single amino acid substitutions affecting the specificity of the fungal ribotoxin mitogillin. FEBS Lett. 466: 87-90. (a figure from the paper was selected as the front cover photograph of the journal).