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HKBU’s State Key Laboratory of Environmental and Biological Analysis leverages tech to develop novel method for diagnosis of environmental pollutant-induced diseases

HKBU’s State Key Laboratory of Environmental and Biological Analysis leverages tech to develop novel method for diagnosis of environmental pollutant-induced diseases

In a press release,
the Hong Kong Baptist University (HKBU) announced
that it has, in partnership with the State Key Laboratory, developed a new
method to diagnose pollutant-induced diseases early on.

The Hong Kong Baptist University (HKBU)
established the Partner State Key Laboratory of Environmental and Biological
Analysis (Hong Kong Baptist University) in July of 2013. It functions as a
partner laboratory to the State Key Laboratory of Environmental Chemistry and
Eco-toxicology on the Mainland and the first partner state key laboratory
collaboration between the Chinese Academy of Sciences and HKBU.

The Director of the Laboratory, Professor
Cai Zongwei met the media on 17 July 2018 and shared the latest development of
the Laboratory and showcased the state-of-the-art facilities.

The research team at the Partner State Key
Laboratory of Environmental and Biological Analysis has developed an integrated
method based on mass spectrometry imaging. The findings of the teams research
are encouraging and reveal the promising direction current cutting-edge
research is taking, specifically with regards to the study of nephrotoxicity.
The development can be potentially applied to the early diagnosis of
environmental pollutant-induced kidney diseases.

Professor Cai Zongwei said stated the research
team has developed an integrated method involving mass spectrometry (MS)-based
lipidomics and matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization-MS imaging
(MALDI-MSI) to analyse the degree of nephrotoxicity in mice exposed to
environmental pollutants. In addition, the team was able to investigate the
detailed molecular mechanism by studying the MS-image changes in terms of
spatial distribution of lipids in mice exposed to environmental pollutants. This
new method has the potential to be used in novel specificity evaluation and in
the early diagnosis of environmental pollutant-induced kidney diseases,
according to Prof Zongwei.

Professor Cai said that the support the
team has received from the National Key Research and Development Programs has enabled,
and continues to enable, the research team to develop new and innovative technology
platforms in MS-based imaging and other technologies.

In the future, the team will strive to
collaborate with other research groups with the aim of understanding the
detailed molecular mechanisms of diseases related to environmental pollutants.

Professor Cai added that another objective
of the Laboratory is to nurture and incubate scientific research talent for
both Hong Kong and the Mainland.

The Partner State Key Laboratory of
Environmental and Biological Analysis (SKLEBA) was established at the Hong
Kong Baptist University in July 2013. It was set up on the recommendation of
the Innovation and Technology Commission of the HKSAR Government and was
approved by the Ministry of Science and Technology of China (MOST).

The Lab is partnered with State Key
Laboratory of Environmental Chemistry and Eco-toxicology in Research Center for
Eco-Environmental Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences. (RCEES, CAS).

The SKLEBA is an interdisciplinary research
platform that focuses on three correlated fields, i.e. environmental science,
biological science and material science. The laboratory promotes fundamental
research and develops novel analytical methods for life science, with the
effect of persistent organic pollutants (POPs) on environment, food safety and
public health as its prior target research objectives.

The main areas of SKLEBA lie in research
around analysis and toxicology research of existing, emerging and potential
POPs. The Lab is focused on the establishment of integrated platform of
proteomics and metabolomics to study human disease associated with the POPs. It
also works to develop and apply new biosensing and bioimaging techniques for
research on environmental pollution and human health.