Dr MAK Choi Wo, Judith

Principal Lecturer

  • BSc (London, UK), PhD (London, UK)
email judithmak@hku.hk
email 3917-9753 (Office), 3917-9952 (Lab.)

Dr. Judith Mak is currently Principal Lecturer of Departments of Medicine and Pharmacology & Pharmacy. She received her degree in Pharmacology (BSc) from The University of London in the UK. She then completed her PhD in localization of lung receptors (‘Localization of some pharmacological receptors in human and animal lung’) at the University of London under the supervision of Professor Peter J. Barnes. Following her postdoctoral training and Lecturership in the research of treatment in lung diseases 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, Associate Professor and Principal Lecturer. Her early research interest mainly 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 β2-agonist tolerance, and the interaction between glucocorticoid receptors and β2-adrenoceptors in the intracellular signaling pathways leading to the combination therapy of long-acting inhaled β2-agonist and inhaled glucocorticoid (e.g. Symbicort® and Seretide®). During her time in Hong Kong, she initially focused on research into biomarkers for asthma and COPD. Follow on; she focused on the effects of oxidative stress in airway epithelial cell function to study the molecular 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 currently plays particular focuses on understanding how oxidative stress leads to lung inflammation and how Chinese green tea, its active ingredient, epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) or other Chinese herbs such as Dendrobium officinale polysaccharides (DOP) have the potential as therapeutics for CS-mediated condition in the CS-exposed rat model. Her recent interests focus on studying the cellular mechanisms of mesenchymal stem cells in the preventive and therapeutic treatment of chronic airway diseases using rodent models. She is an internationally recognized scientist in the respiratory field. She authored and co-authored over 140 scientific papers. She has continuously collaborated with academic researchers, both locally and internationally on cross-disciplinary projects. She is the principal investigator and co-investigator of a number of research projects funded by RGC, HMRF and NSFC.

Research Profile
My Research Interests
  • Airway epithelial, smooth muscle and endothelial cell biology and function
  • Elucidation of pathophysiological pathways and possible intervention with potential therapeutic agents in rodent models of chronic airway diseases such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) (i.e. cigarette smoke-exposed rat and mouse models), asthma (i.e. ovalbumin sensitized allergen challenged and ozone-exposed mouse models), and obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) [i.e. intermittent hypoxia (IH)-exposed rat and mouse models]
  • Examination of various antioxidants including pure EGCG, one of the major catechins present in Chinese green tea; resveratrol, a polyphenol found in red wine and active ingredient like Dendrobium officinale polysaccharides (DOP) from Chinese herbal medicine in comparison to N-acetylcysteine (NAC) on oxidant/antioxidant status, protease/antiprotease status, markers of pro-inflammatory/anti-inflammatory status, and the morphological changes of the lungs in various rodent models in vivo
  • Cellular mechanisms of mesenchymal stem cells in the preventive and therapeutic treatment of chronic airway diseases, i.e. COPD and asthma

Selected Publications
  1. Han Q, Yeung SC, Ip MS, Mak JCW*. Intermittent hypoxia-induced NF-kB and HO-1 regulation in human endothelial EA.hy926 cells. Cell Biochem. Biophys. 2013;66:431-441. (2012 Impact F. 1.912; 5-year Impact F. 2.7)
  2. Guan S, Tee W, Ng D, Chan T, Peh H, Ho W, Cheng C, Mak J, Wong W. Andrographolide protects against cigarette smoke-induced oxidative lung injury via augmentation of Nrf2 activity. Br. J. Pharmacol. 2013;168:1707-1718. (2012 Impact F. 5.067; 5-year Impact F. 4.898)
  3. Lau WKW, Li X, Yeung DSC, Chan KH, Ip MSM, Mak JCW*. The involvement of serotonin metabolism in cigarette smoke-induced oxidative stress in rat lung in vivoFree Radic. Res. 2012;46:1413-1419. (2012 Impact F. 3.279; 5-year Impact F. 2.836)
  4. Chan KH, Chan SCH, Yeung SC, Man RYK, Ip MSM, Mak JCW*. Inhibitory effect of Chinese green tea on cigarette smoke-induced up-regulation of airway neutrophil elastase and matrix metalloproteinase-12 via antioxidant activity. Free Radic. Res. 2012; 46:1123-1129. (2012 Impact F. 3.279; 5-year Impact F. 2.836)
  5. Ho Y-S, Yang X, Yeung S-C, Chiu K, Lau CF, Tsang AW-T, Mak JC-W, Chang RC-C. Cigarette smoking accelerated brain aging and induced pre-Alzheimer-like neuropathology in rats. PLoS One. 7:e36752, 2012. (2012 Impact F. 3.730; 5-year Impact F. 4.244)
  6. Lau WKW, Chan-Yeung MMW, Yip BHK, Cheung AHK, Ip MSM, Mak JCW*. The Role of Circulating Serotonin in Development of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease. PLoS One 2012; 7:e31617. (2012 Impact F. 3.730; 5-year Impact F. 4.244)
  7. Lau WKW, Chan SC, Law AC, Ip MS, Mak JCW*. The role of MAPK and Nrf2 pathways in ketanserin-elicited attenuation of cigarette smoke-induced IL-8 production in human bronchial epithelial cells. Toxicol. Sci. 2012; 125:569-577. (2012 Impact F. 4.328; 5-year Impact F. 4.836)
  8. Chan KH, Yeung SC, Yao TJ, Ip MSM, Cheung AHK, Chan-Yeung MMW, Mak JCW*. Elevated plasma adiponectin levels in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Int. J. Tuberc. Lung Dis. 14:1193-200, 2010. (2012 Impact F. 2.610; 5-year Impact F. 2.502)
  9. Chan KH, Ho SP, Yeung SC, So WHL, Cho CH, Koo MWL, Lam WK, Ip MSM, Man RYK, Mak JCW*. Chinese green tea ameliorates lung injury in cigarette smoke-exposed rats. Respir. Med. 103:1746-1754, 2009. (2012 Impact F. 2.585; 5-year Impact F. 2.659)
  10. Mak JCW*, Leung HCM, Ho SP, Law BK, Lam WK, Tsang KW, Ip MS, Chan-Yeung M.  Systemic antioxidant and oxidant status in Chinese asthmatic patients.  J. Allergy Clin. Immunol.  114:260-264, 2004. (2012 Impact F. 12.047; 5-year Impact F. 10.108)

Key Offices
  • Associate Editor, Clinical & Experimental Allergy
  • Editorial Board Member, Cardiovascualar Pharmacology: Open Access Journal

  • American Thoracic Society
  • British Pharmacological Society
  • British Association for Lung Research
  • Biochemical Society
  • Hong Kong Thoracic Society
  • Hong Kong Pharmacological Society