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HKU ResearcherPage: Mak, JCW
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Dr Judith Mak
  • Associate Professor
Dr. Judith Mak is currently Associate Professor of Departments of Medicine and Pharmacology & Pharmacy. She received her PhD from the University of London under the supervision of Professor Peter J. Barnes. Following her postdoctoral training and Lecturership at the National Heart & Lung Institute of Imperial College London, she returned to Hong Kong in 2002 and joined the Department of Medicine, University of Hong Kong, where she went through the ranks of Research Assistant Professor, Assistant Professor and Associate Professor. Her early research has been focused on cellular and molecular mechanisms of asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), understanding and developing therapies. Her major research contributions have been in the understanding of the development of b2-agonist tolerance, and the interaction between glucocorticoid receptors and b2-adrenoceptors in the intracellular signaling pathways leading to the combination therapy of long-acting inhaled b2-agonist and inhaled glucocorticoid (e.g. SymbicortÒ and SeretideÒ). She is an internationally recognized scientist in the respiratory field. She has authored and co-authored over 110 scientific papers.
Since returning to Hong Kong, she has initially focused on research into biomarkers for asthma and COPD. Her current interests are focused on the effects of oxidative stress in airway epithelial function. She has developed an interest in pathophysiological mechanisms underlying cigarette smoke (CS)-induced lung inflammation in COPD and intermittent hypoxia (IH, a hallmark feature of obstructive sleep apnea)-induced cardiac and endothelial cell injury. She plays particular focuses on understanding how oxidative stress leads to lung inflammation and how Chinese green tea has the potential as therapeutics for the disease in the CS-exposed rat model. She has more recent interests in serotonin homeostasis in cigarette smoke-related COPD. She has published the first paper ever to show the elevation of plasma 5-HT levels in COPD in a case-control study. She is also the first to show the involvement of serotonin metabolism in cigarette smoke-induced oxidative stress in vivo and the novel anti-oxidative and anti-inflammatory role of ketanserin (a selective 5-HT2A receptor antagonist). She is currently researching on the impact of environmental pollution and nanoparticles on the lungs using animal models.
Photomicrographs of H & E staining for histological changes (A and B), and PAS staining for mucin-containing goblet cells (C and D) of rat lung and airway sections after exposure to sham air (A and C) and cigarette smoke (B and D). Cigarette smoke caused alveolar wall destruction (B) and an increase in the number of mucin-containing goblet cells (D).
 Research Team Members
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