Professor TANG Chi Wai, Sydney

Prof S Tang

Deputy Department Chairperson
Yu Professor in Nephrology
Chair Professor of Renal Medicine

  • MBBS (HK), MD (HK), PhD (HK), MRCP (UK), FHKCP, FHKAM (Medicine), FRCP (Edinburgh), FRCP (Glasgow), FRCP (London), FASN
Professor Sydney Tang is currently Chair Professor of Renal Medicine and Yu Professor in Nephrology at the University of Hong Kong. He underwent his training in Nephrology and Internal Medicine at the University of Hong Kong, King’s College London, UK and the University of Washington, WA, USA.


Research Profile

 Areas of research interest:

  • Clinical management of IgA nephropathy
  • Pathogenesis of diabetic kidney disease
  • Pathogenesis of chronic kidney disease and acute kidney injury 


Professor Tang is known for his contribution to both clinical and basic sciences in the field of nephrology. The research team has dissected some of the most important intracellular pathways through which excessive albumin, high glucose and glycated proteins induce toxicity to kidney tubule cells, the very cell type in the kidney that determines ultimate clinical outcomes in patients with chronic kidney disease. Albumin is a strong stimulus for tubular interleukin-8 overexpression through activation of nuclear factor-kappa B-dependent pathways, providing a mechanism for the occurrence of interstitial inflammatory cell infiltration that is observed in all forms of chronic proteinuric nephropathies. High glucose activates the Toll-like receptor that senses and reacts to diabetic injury in the kidney, and these observations are reproduced using gene knockout animal models, thus providing a novel therapeutic target for diabetic nephropathy which is currently the most prevalent disease leading to kidney failure in developed countries. In acute kidney injury, long non-coding RNA Neat1 is found to play a major role. In IgA nephropathy, a podocyte and glomerular-interstitial cross-talk pathway exists to mediate the occurrence of proteinuria and tubulointerstitial injury. The results of these observations have been published in Nat Rev Nephrol, J Clin Invest, J Am Soc Nephrol, Kidney Int and Am J Kidney Dis. Prof Tang is also the lead author in the Diabetic Kidney Disease chapter of the number one kidney textbook in the world, Comprehensive Clinical Nephrology, 6th Edition (2019)

In the realm of clinical science, the focus is on the prevalence and mechanism of sleep apnea in patients with kidney disease and the treatment of IgA nephropathy, the commonest form of primary nephropathy worldwide. The prevalence of sleep apnea among peritoneal dialysis patients could be as high as 60-90%, and this is mainly related to fluid accumulation in the upper airway during sleep leading to obstructive sleep apnea, and accumulation of uremic toxins leading to central sleep apnea. In IgA nephropathy, both immunosuppressive and non-immunomodulating approaches may partially ameliorate proteinuria, a key prognostic biomarker in chronic nephropathies, in selected patient groups. The results of these observations have been published in Clin J Am Soc Nephrol, J Am Soc Nephrol, and Kidney Int. Prof Tang is also the Editor in a dedicated issue of Semin Nephrol (2018) entitled IgA Nephropathy: 50 years on, and a core member of the KDIGO Glomerular Diseases Guideline 2020 (and the 2024 update) on IgA nephropathy.  

Selected Publications
  1. Xue R, Yiu WH, Chan KW, Lok SWY, Zou Y, Ma J, Li H, Chan LYY, Huang XR, Lai KN, Lan HY, Tang SCW. Long Non-coding RNA Neat1, NLRP3 Inflammasome, and Acute Kidney Injury. J Am Soc Nephrol 2024 Apr 30
  2. Rovin BH, Barratt J, Heerspink HJL, Alpers CE, Bieler S, Chae DW, Diva UA, Floege J, Gesualdo L, Inrig JK, Kohan DE, Komers R, Kooienga LA, Lafayette R, Maes B, Małecki R, Mercer A, Noronha IL, Oh SW, Peh CA, Praga M, Preciado P, Radhakrishnan J, Rheault MN, Rote WE, Tang SCW, Tesar V, Trachtman H, Trimarchi H, Tumlin JA, Wong MG, Perkovic V; DUPRO steering committee and PROTECT Investigators. Efficacy and safety of sparsentan versus irbesartan in patients with IgA nephropathy (PROTECT): 2-year results from a randomised, active-controlled, phase 3 trial. Lancet 2023; 402: 2077-2090  
  3. Chan KW, Kwong ASK, Tan KCB, Lui SL, Chan GCW, Ip TP, Yiu WH, Cowling BJ, Taam Wong V, Lao L, Feng Y, Lai KN, Tang SCW. Add-on Rehmannia-6-Based Chinese Medicine in Type 2 Diabetes and CKD: A Multicenter Randomized Controlled Trial. Clin J Am Soc Nephrol 2023; 18: 1163-1174.
  4. Li H, Leung JCK, Yiu WH, Chan LYY, Li B, Lok SWY, Xue R, Zou Y, Lai KN, Tang SCW. Tubular β-catenin alleviates mitochondrial dysfunction and cell death in acute kidney injury. Cell Death Dis 2022; 13: 1061 
  5. Tang SCW, Yiu WH. Innate immunity in diabetic kidney disease. Nat Rev Nephrol 2020; 16: 206-222
  6. Li B, Leung JCK, Chan LYY, Yiu WH, Tang SCW. A global perspective on the crosstalk between saturated fatty acids and Toll-like receptor 4 in the etiology of inflammation and insulin resistance. Prog Lipid Res 2020; 77: 101020
  7. Li B, Leung JCK, Chan LYY, Yiu WH, Li Y, Lok SWY, Liu WH, Chan KW, Tse HF, Lai KN, Tang SCW. Amelioration of endoplasmic reticulum stress by mesenchymal stem cells via hepatocyte growth factor/c-met signaling in obesity-associated kidney injury. Stem Cells Transl Med 2019; 8: 898-910
  8. Wong DW, Yiu WH, Chan KW, Li Y, Li B, Lok SW, Taketo MM, Igarashi P, Chan LYY, Leung JCK, Lai KN, Tang SCW. Activated renal tubular Wnt/β-catenin signaling triggers renal inflammation during overload proteinuria. Kidney Int 2018; 93: 1367-1383
  9. Yiu WH, Wong DW, Wu HJ, Yam I, Li RX, Chan LY, Leung JC, Lan HY, Lai KN, Tang SC: Kallistatin protects against diabetic nephropathy in db/db mice by suppressing AGE-RAGE-induced oxidative stress. Kidney Int 2016; 89: 386-398
  10. Lin M, Yiu WH, Li RX, Wu HJ, Wong DL, Chan LY, Leung JC, Lai KN, Tang SC: The TLR4 antagonist CRX-526 protects against advanced diabetic nephropathy. Kidney Int 2013; 83: 887-900
  11. Lin M, Au WS, Chan AW, Yiu WH, Chan LY, Leung JC, Chan KW, Lai KN, Tang SC: Toll-like receptor 4 promotes tubular inflammation in diabetic nephropathy. J Am Soc Nephrol 2012; 23: 86-102
  12. Diabetes and the Kidney. K.N. Lai and S.C.W. Tang, eds. Karger AG, 2011 (Book)
  13. Tang SC, Lam B, Leung WS, Chu CM, Ho YW, Ip MS, Lai KN: Sleep apnea as a novel risk predictor for cardiovascular morbidity and death in peritoneal dialysis patients. Kidney Int 2010; 77: 1031-1038
  14. Tang SC, Tang AW, Wong SS, Leung JC, Ho YW, Lai KN: Long-term study of mycophenolate mofetil treatment in IgA nephropathy. Kidney Int 2010; 77: 543-549
  15. Tang SC, Leung JC, Chan LY, Eddy AA, Lai KN: Angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitor but not angiotensin receptor blockade or statin ameliorates murine adriamycin nephropathy. Kidney Int 2008; 73: 288-299
  16. Lai KN, Leung JCK, Chan LY, Guo H, Tang SC: Interaction between proximal tubular epithelial cells and infiltrating monocytes/T cells in the proteinuric state. Kidney Int 2007; 71: 526-538
  17. Tang SC, Lam B, Ku PP, Leung WS, Chu CM, Ho YW, Ip MS, Lai KN: Alleviation of sleep apnea in patients with chronic renal failure by nocturnal cycler-assisted peritoneal dialysis. J Am Soc Nephrol 2006; 17: 2607-2616 
  18. Tang SC, Leung JC, Chan LY, Tsang AW, Lai KN: Activation of tubular epithelial cells in diabetic nephropathy and the role of the PPAR-gamma agonist. J Am Soc Nephrol 2006; 17: 1633-1643
  19. Tang S, Leung JC, Chan LY, Lui YH, Tang CS, Kan CH, Ho YW, Lai KN: Mycophenolate mofetil alleviates persistent proteinuria in IgA nephropathy. Kidney Int 2005; 68: 802-812
  20. Tang S, Leung JC, Abe K, Chan KW, Chan LY, Chan TM, Lai KN: Albumin stimulates interleukin-8 expression in proximal tubular epithelial cells in vitro and in vivo. J Clin Invest 2003; 111: 515-527

Key Offices
  1. University Grants Council – Member of Health Sciences Panel, Research Assessment Exercise 2020
  2. The University of Hong Kong – Member of the University Research Committee (2021 – 2023), Chairman of Life Sciences Panel, Presidential Postdoctoral Fellowship Scheme (since 2020), Member of University Selection and Promotion Committee (since 2019), Chairman of Promotion and Tenure Panel, Faculty of Science (2017-2021), Warden of Morrison Hall (since 2017), Chairman of Institutional Review Board of LKS Faculty of Medicine and Hospital Authority Hong Kong West Cluster (2013-2021), Elected Member of LKS Faculty of Medicine Human Resources Committee (2008 – 2011)
  3. Hong Kong Hospital Authority – Member of Hospital Governing Committee, Grantham Hospital (since 2013); Member of Central Renal Committee (since 2012)
  4. Hong Kong College of Physicians – Council Member (since 2020), Chairman of Specialty Board in Nephrology (since 2023), Chairman of Basic Physician Board (2015 – 2019)
  5. Hong Kong Medical Council – Chairman of Credentials Subcommittee and Memeber of Licentiate Committee (2011 – 2014)
  6. HKSAR Government Food and Health Bureau – Panel Member of Grant Review Board for Health and Medical Research Fund (since 2015)
  7. Hong Kong Society of Nephrology – Chairman (2016 – 2018)
  8. Asian Pacific Society of Nephrology – President (2022 – 2024), Hon. Treasurer (2008 – 2016)
  9. International Society of Nephrology – Chairman of CME Program Committee (2022 – 2024), Member of North & East Asia Regional Board, Member of Education Working Group; Member of Nominating Committee, Member of Advancing Clinical Trials (ACT), Member of Core Program Committee, Member of Saving Young Lives Committee
  10. Kidney Disease: Improving Global Outcomes (KDIGO) – Executive Member (2020 – 2023)
  11. International Society for Peritoneal Dialysis – Member of Publication Committee (since 2019)

  1. Outstanding Researcher Student Supervisor Award, The University of Hong Kong (2024)
  2. Croucher Senior Medical Research Fellowship, The Croucher Foundation (2019)
  3. Honorary International Membership, Japanese Society of Nephrology (2019)
  4. Outstanding Researcher Award, The University of Hong Kong (2017)
  5. King's College London/HKU Fellowship (2013)
  6. Teaching Medal, LKS Faculty of Medicine, The University of Hong Kong (2009)
  7. Clinical Research Fellowship, Research Grants Council, Hong Kong (2004)
  8. Sir David Todd Lectureship, Hong Kong College of Physicians (2002)


Original music created for the Department of Medicine:

<內有乾坤> (A Miracle Within) on YouTube Channel:

Editorships and Editorial Boards
  1. Journal of the American Society of Nephrology: Associate Editor (since 2024)
  2. Kidney International (since 2012)
  3. Nephrology Dialysis Transplantation: Theme and Subspecialties Editor (Clinical Nephrology and Diabetes) (2013-2023)
  4. Nephrology: Editor-in-Chief (2018-2022)
  5. American Journal of Nephrology (since 2014)
  6. Journal of Nephrology (since 2009)
  7. Faculty 1000Trials (since 2013)
  8. Kidney Diseases (since 2014)
  9. Case Reports in Nephrology and Urology, Managing Editor (2011-2012)

Research Funding as Principal Investigator (since 2012)

Research Grants Council of Hong Kong

General Research Fund 2022/23 (project no.: 17108222): Dissecting the role of C5aR-mediated autophagy and mitophagy in diabetic kidney disease (HK$ 1,180,213)

General Research Fund 2020/21 (project no.: 17118720): Role of protease-activated receptor-1 (PAR-1) in AKI to CKD transition (HK$ 996,285)

General Research Fund 2019/20 (project no.: 17108719): Foxp2 as a novel transcription factor in chronic kidney disease (HK$ 875,238)

General Research Fund 2018/19 (project no.: 17119818): Role of renal tubular Wnt/β-catenin in modulating renal inflammation (HK$ 971,990)

Collaborative Research Fund 2016/17 (project no.: C7018-16G): Mechanisms of Renal Inflammation: Role of Toll-like Receptor 4 (HK$ 7,518,927)

General Research Fund 2016/17 (project no.: 17151716): Role of kallistatin in Wnt/β-catenin signaling during renal fibrosis (HK$ 1,098,800)

General Research Fund 2012/13 (project no.: HKU 778212M): Exploring the role of bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stromal/stem cells in nephropathies (HK$ 980,000)

General Research Fund 2011/12 (project no.: HKU 779611M): Exploring the role of the kallikrein-kinin system in diabetic nephropathy (HK$ 900,000)

Food and Health Bureau, HKSAR Government

Health and Medical Research Fund 2020 (project no.: 09202356): The role of mitochondrial translocator protein TSPO in progressive kidney disease (HK$ 1,474,796)

Health and Medical Research Fund 2016/17 (project no.: 05163596): Protease-activated receptor-1 (PAR-1)–targeted therapy: potential for preventing renal fibrosis (HK$ 1,041,848)

Health and Medical Research Fund 2015/16 (project no.: 14151731): Efficacy, safety and response predictors of adjuvant astragalus therapy for diabetic kidney disease – An open-label randomised controlled trial with responder regression analysis (HK$ 1,199,954)

Health and Medical Research Fund 2014/15 (project no.: 12133341): Semi-structured Chinese Medicine Treatment as an Adjuvant Therapy to the Management of Diabetic Nephropathy – A pilot comparative clinical trial (HK$ 1,000,000)

Health and Medical Research Fund 2014/15 (project no.: 03143726): Exploring the Role of Induced Pluripotent Stem Cell-Derived Mesenchymal Stem Cells in Nephropathies (HK$ 1,200,000)

Health and Medical Research Fund 2013/14 (project no.: 02132586): Exploring the Role of Reprogrammed Mesenchymal Stem Cells in Diabetic Nephropathy (HK$ 1,000,000)

National Natural Science Foundation of China

国家自然科学基金 2018/19(项目批准号:81870496): 补体C5a及其受体介导糖尿病肾病炎症和纤维化损伤的作用及机制研究(RMB 610,000)

国家自然科学基金 2015/16(项目批准号:81570647): 探索Wnt/beta-catenin 信号通路在蛋白尿肾病中的双相双重作用 (RMB 570,000)