Chair Professor

Emeritus Professor
Jessie Ho Professor in Neuroscience

Tel no.: (852) 2831 5366
Email: hrmaskf@hku.hk

HKU Scholars Hub

Director of GHM Institute of CNS Regeneration at Jinan University, Guangzhou, China; Chair of Anatomy in the State Key Laboratory of Cognitive Sciences in the Faculty of Social Sciences and the Dept of Ophthalmology, Jessie Ho Professor in Neuroscience, The University of Hong Kong (http://www.eyeinst.hku.hk/Prof_So.htm); member of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Co-Chairman of the Board of Director of the ChinaSCINet (www.chinascinet.org ), and  Editor-in-Chief of Neural Regeneration Research (www.nrronline.org ). Received PhD degree from MIT. He is one of the pioneers in the field of axonal regeneration in visual system. He was the first to show lengthy regeneration of retinal ganglion cells in adult mammals with peripheral nerve graft. He is currently using multiple approaches to promote axonal regeneration after injury in the optic nerve and spinal cord. His team identifies neuroprotective and regenerative factors including: exercise, wolfberry, trophic factors, peptide nanofiber scaffold, and environmental manipulation. 1995 obtained the Natural Science Award of the National Natural Science Foundation of China. 1999 was elected Member of the Chinese Academy of Sciences. 2015 was elected FNAI, US National Academy of Inventors, Fellow.  2017 elected a member of DABI (Dana Alliance for Brain Initiatives, www.dana.org ) . 2019 年获选为中国医学科学院学部委员/ 2019 was elected as a fellow of the Chinese Academy of Medical Science. He is the author and co-author of over 470+ publications
co-inventors of 46 patents.

Research Interest

  • Neuroprotection and neuroregeneration of the mammalian optic nerve and spinal cord

  • The use of exercise , light therapy and Wolfberry polysaccharides to treat depression


  • 1999 Elected Member of the Chinese Academy of Sciences

  • 2011  Rick Hansen Difference Maker Award, in recognition of extraordinary contributions in leading collaborative research contributing to the global knowledge and work on SCI research towards a cure, April 20, Rick Hansen Foundation, Canada

  • 2012 Everfront Award for Stem Cells Research, in recognition of significant research contributions, April, by the Committee of the Pan Pacific Symposium on Stem Cells and Cancer Research (PPSSC) to an individual on the basis of world class research contributions in the field of stem cell and cancer researches.

  • 2014 Faculty Knowledge Exchange (KE) Award (Li Ka Shing Faculty of Medicine), HKU, for the outstanding accomplishments achieved in the project: “Life and Death Education through the HKU Body Donation Programme” June 2014

  • 2015 US National Academy of Inventors, Fellow

  • 2016 Lifetime Achievement in Neural Regeneration, 2016 International Neural Regeneration Symposium, and 10th Asia Pacific Symposium on Neural Regeneration, July 2016

  • 2017 Elected a member of DABI (Dana Alliance for Brain Initiatives, www.dana.org )

  • 2019 年获选为中国医学科学院学部委员/2019 was elected as a fellow of the Chinese Academy of Medical Science.


  1. Chang RC-C and So K-F (editors) Lycium Barbarum and Human Health, Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015, (ISBN 978-94-017-9657-6, ISBN 978-94-017-9658-3 (eBook), DOI 10.1007/978-94-017-9658-3)

  2. So K-F and Xu X-M (editors) Neural Regeneration, Science Press & Elsevier Inc.2015, (ISBN:978-7-03-044098-3, ISBN:978-0-12-801732-6

  3. Suk-Yu Yau and Kwok-Fai So (editors) Exercise on Brain Health, Academic Press, Elsevier, 2019, International Review of Neurobiology, Volume 147, Pages 2-395 (2019), ISBN: 978-0-12-816967-4, ISSN: 0074-7742, IF: 2.551

Recent reviews (2018-2020)

  1. (2018) Zhu MM, Lai JSM, Choy BNK, Shum JWH, Lo ACY, Ng ALK, Chan JCH, So KF, Physical exercise and glaucoma: a review on the roles of physical exercise on intraocular pressure control, ocular blood flow regulation, neuroprotection and glaucoma-related mental health., Acta Ophthalmol., doi: 10.1111/aos.13661. [Epub 16 Jan]

  2. (2019) Lu B-W, Baum L, So K-F, Chiu K, and Xie L-K, More than anti-malarial agents: therapeutic potential of artemisinins in neurodegeneration, Neural Regeneration Research, May 23, http://www.nrronline.org on Thursday, May 23, 2019, IP:]

  3. (2019) Li A, Yau S-y, Machado S, Wang P, Yuan T-F, and So KF, Enhancement of Hippocampal Plasticity by Physical Exercise as a Polypill for Stress and Depression: A Review, CNS & Neurological Disorders - Drug Targets, Volume 18, Issue 4, 2019, DOI 10.2174/1871527318666190308102804, [accepted 10 Feb]

  4. (2019) Zhang H-J, Mi X-S, and So K-F, Normal Tension Glaucoma: from the Brain to the Eye or the Inverse?, Neural Regeneration Research, December 19,14(11):1845-1850. doi:10.4103/1673-5374.259600, http://www.nrronline.org , , 2019, IP: [accepted 23 April]

  5. (2019) Kwok SS, Bu Y, Lo AC-Y, Chan TC-Y, So KF, Lai JS-M, and Shih KC., A Systematic Review of Potential Therapeutic Use of Lycium Barbarum Polysaccharides in Disease, BioMed Res Int’l, Volume 2019, Article ID 4615745, 18 pages, https://doi.org/10.1155/2019/4615745

  6. (2019) Yu P, Zhang& W, Liu Y ;Sheng C, So KF, Zhou L, Zhu H, The effects and potential mechanisms of locomotor training on improvements of functional recovery after spinal cord injury, in the book Exercise on Brain Health, ISBN: 978-0-12-816967-4, ISSN: 0074-7742, Chapter 8; Editors: Suk-Yu Yau and Kwok-Fai So. Academic Press, Elsevier, PMID:31607355, Int. Rev. Neurobiol. 2019;147DOI:10.1016/bs.irn.2019.08.003, Volume 147, 199-217, [Epub 2019 Aug 6]

  7. (2019) Li HY, Hong X, Cao QQ,So KF, Adiponectin, exercise and eye diseases. in the book Exercise on Brain Health, ISBN: 978-0-12-816967-4, ISSN: 0074-7742, Chapter 11; Editors: Suk-Yu Yau and Kwok-Fai So. Academic Press, Elsevier, PMID: 31607358, Int. Rev. Neurobiol. 2019;147 DOI: 10.1016/bs.irn.2019.07.006., Volume 147, 281-294, [Epub 2019 Aug 6]

  8. (2019) Zhang L, So KF, Exercise, spinogenesis and cognitive functions, in the book Exercise on Brain Health, ISBN: 978-0-12-816967-4, ISSN: 0074-7742, Chapter 13; Editors: Suk-Yu Yau and Kwok-Fai So. Academic Press, Elsevier, PMID:31607360Int Rev Neurobiol. 2019;147 DOI: 10.1016/bs.irn.2019.07.005., Volume 147, 323-360, [Epub 2019 Aug 6]


Recent publications (2018-2020)

Reviews and Chapters in Books and Proceedings

  1. (2018) Sun G, Yang S, Cao G, Wang Q, Hao J, Wen Q, Li Z, So KF, Liu Z, Zhou S, Zhao Y, Yang H, Zhou L, Yin Z, γδ T cells provide the early source of IFN-γ to aggravate lesions in spinal cord injury J Exp Med,  pii: jem.20170686. doi: 10.1084/jem.20170686. [Epub Dec 27, 2017], IF: 10.892

  2. (2018) Liu F, Zhang J, Xiang Z, Xu D, So KF, Vardi N, and Xu Y, “Lycium Barbarum Polysaccharides Protect Retina in rd1 Mice During Photoreceptor Degeneration", IOVS, Jan 59 (1) 597-611 [accepted 18 Dec 2017], IF: 3.812

  3. (2018) Huang Y, Xu Z, Xiong S, Qin G, Sun F, Yang J, Yuan TF, Zhao L, Wang K, Liang YX, Fu L, Wu T, So KF, Rao Y, and Peng B, Dual extra-retinal origins of microglia in the model of retinal microglia repopulation. Cell Discov. 2018 Feb 27; 4:9. doi: 10.1038/s41421-018-0011-8. eCollection, IF: 4.6

  4. (2018) Huang Y, Xu Z, Xiong S, Sun F, Qin G, Hu G, Wang J, Zhao L, Liang YX, Wu T, Lu Z, Humayun MS, So KF, Pan Y, Li N, Yuan TF, Rao Y, and Peng B, Repopulated microglia are solely derived from the proliferation of residual microglia after acute depletion. Nat Neurosci., Apr; 21(4):530-540.doi: 10.1038/s41593-018-0090-8. [Epub 22 Feb], IF: 21.126

  5. (2018) Lin K, Shao R, Lu R, Chen K, Lu W, Li T, Kong J, So KF, and Xu G, Resting-state fMRI signals in offspring of parents with bipolar disorder at the high-risk and ultra-high-risk stages and their relations with cognitive function. J Psychiatr Res. 2018 Mar; 98:99-106. doi: 10.1016/j.jpsychires.2018.01.001. [Epub 8 Jan], IF: 3.917

  6. (2018) Wang J, Tian L, He L, Chen N, Ramakrishna S, So KF, and Mo X, "Lycium barbarum polysaccharide encapsulated Poly lactic-co-glycolic acid Nanofibers: cost effective herbal medicine for potential application in peripheral nerve tissue engineering", Scientific Rep., Jun 6;8(1):8669. doi: 10.1038/s41598-018-26837-z. [in press, May 14

  7. (2018)Fu L; Fung FK; Lo AC-Y; Chan Y-K; So K-F; Wong IY-H; Shih KC; Lai JS-M, Transcorneal Electrical Stimulation Inhibits Retinal Microglial Activation and Enhances Retinal Ganglion Cell Survival After Acute Ocular Hypertensive Injury, TVST (Translational Vision Science & Technology), https://doi.org/10.1167/tvst.7.3.7, vol 7, issue 3, (Epub 28 May), open access: http://tvst.arvojournals.org/article.aspx?articleid=2683193

  8. (2018) Wang F, Tipoe GL, Yang C, Nanji AA, Hao X, So KF, and Xiao J, Lycium barbarum Polysaccharide Supplementation Improves Alcoholic Liver Injury in Female Mice by Inhibiting Stearoyl-CoA Desaturase 1, Molecular Nutrition & Food Research, 2018, v. 62(13) p. 1800144 [Epub 11 June]

  9. (2018) Lin K, Shao Z, Geng X, Chen K, Lu R, Gao Y, Bi Y, Lu W, Guan L, Kong J, Xu G, So KF, Illness, at-risk and resilience neural markers of bipolar disorder: a new clinical staging framework, Journal of Affective Disorders, 2018, v. 238 p. 16-23

  10. (2018) Chau BKH, Keuper K, Lo M, So KF, Chan CCH and Lee TMC, Meditation-induced neuroplastic changes of the prefrontal network are associated with reduced valence perception in older people, Brain and Neuroscience Advances, Volume 2: 1–12,  DOI: 10.1177/2398212818771822, journals.sagepub.com/home/bna, [accepted: 21 March 2018]

  11. (2018) Xiao J, Xing F, Liu Y, Lv Y, Wang X, Ling MT, Gao H, Ouyang S, Yang M, Zhu J, Xia Y, So KF, Tipoe GL, Garlic-derived compound S-allylmercaptocysteine inhibits hepatocarcinogenesis through targeting LRP6/Wnt pathway, Acta Pharm Sin B., Jul; 8(4):575-586. doi: 10.1016/j.apsb.2017.10.003. [Epub 10 Nov 2017] IF: 6.1

  12. (2018) Li J, Xing F, Chen F, He L, So KF, Liu Y, Xiao J, Functional 3D Human Liver Bud Assembled from MSC-Derived Multiple Liver Cell Lineages, Cell Transplant., 2018 Jan 1:963689718780332. doi: 10.1177/0963689718780332. [Epub 1 Jan 2018]

  13. (2018) Wu T, Yu GY, Xiao J, Yan C, Kurihara H, Li YF, So KF, He RR, Fostering efficacy and toxicity evaluation of traditional Chinese medicine and natural products: Chick embryo as a high throughput model bridging in vitro and in vivo studies, Pharmacol Res. 2018 Jul;133:21-34. doi: 10.1016/j.phrs.2018.04.011. [Epub 19 Apr 2018], IF: 5.574

  14. (2018) Yau SY, Lee THY, Li A, Xu A, and So K-F, Adiponectin mediates running-restored hippocampal neurogenesis in streptozotocin-induced type 1 diabetes in mice, Frontiers in Neuroscience, 02 October 2018, | https://doi.org/10.3389/fnins.2018.00679  [in press 11 Sept]

  15. (2018) Xiao J, Wang F, Liong EC, So K-F, Tipoe GL, Lycium barbarum polysaccharides improve hepatic injury through NFkappa-B and NLRP3/6 pathways in a methionine choline deficient diet steatohepatitis mouse model, International Journal of Biological Macromolecules, 120 (2018) 1480–1489 [Epub 25 Sept]

  16. (2018) Zhou Q, Xiang H, Li A, Lin W, Huang Z, Guo J, Wang P, Chi Y, Xiang K, Xu Y, Zhou L, So KF, Chen X, Sun X, Ren Y, Activating Adiponectin Signaling with Exogenous AdipoRon Reduces Myelin Lipid Accumulation and Suppresses Macrophage Recruitment after Spinal Cord Injury, J Neurotrauma, doi: 10.1089/neu.2018.5783. [Epub 30 Oct]

  17. (2018) Wang R, Tan J, Guo J, Zheng Y, Han Q, So KF, Yu J, Zhang L., Aberrant Development and Synaptic Transmission of Cerebellar Cortex in a VPA Induced Mouse Autism Model. Front Cell Neurosci Dec 21; 12:500. doi: 10.3389/fncel.2018.00500. eCollection 2018

  18. (2019) Lv Y, So KF, Wong N-K,Xiao J, Anti-cancer activities of S-allylmercaptocysteine from aged garlic, Chinese J Natural Medicines, 019, 17(1): 0043-0049, doi: 10.1016/S1875-5364(19)30008-1. [Epub 20 Jan]

  19. 19. (2019) Li HY, Hong X, Huang M, So KF, Voluntary running delays primary degeneration in rat retinas after partial optic nerve transection, Neural Regen Res. Apr;14(4):728-734. doi: 10.4103/1673-5374.247481., [Epub 14 Feb]

  20. (2019) Zhang W, Yang B, Weng H, Liu T, Shi L, Yu P, So K-F, Qu Y, and Zhou L, Wheel Running Improves Motor function and Spinal Cord Plasticity in Mice with Genetic Absence of the Corticospinal Tract, Front. Cell. Neurosci., [Epub 5 Mar], 19 March, https://doi.org/10.3389/fncel.2019.00106

  21. (2019) Chan HH-L, Lam H-I, Choi K-Y, Li SZ-C, Lakshmanan Y, Yu W-Y, Chang RC-C, Lai JS-M, and So K-F, Delay of cone degeneration in retinitis pigmentosa using a 12-month treatment with Lycium barbarum supplement, Journal of Ethnopharmacology, 23 May, Volume 236: 336-344

  22. (2019) Zhang R, Shao R, Xu G, Lu W, Zheng W, Miao Q, Chen K, Gao Y, Bi Y, Guan L, McIntyre RS, Deng Y, Huang X, So KF, and Lin K, Aberrant brain structural–functional connectivity coupling in euthymic bipolar disorder Hum Brain Mapp. 2019;1–12, wileyonlinelibrary.com/journal/hbm [accepted 16 Apr], IF: 4.554

  23. (2019)   Chen K, Zheng Y, Wei J-a, Ouyang H, Huang X, Zhang F, Lai CSW, Ren C, So KF, and Zhang L, Exercise Training Improves Motor Skill Learning via Selective Activation of mTOR, Science Adv., (accepted 23 Apr) 5: eaaw1888 3 July 2019, IF: 12.804

  24. (2019) Chen K, Yang G, So K-F, and Zhang L, Activation of Cortical Somatostatin Interneurons Rescues Synapse Loss and Motor Deficits after Acute MPTP Infusion, iScience 17: 230–241, July 26, 2019

  25. (2019) Sun X, Han R, Cheng T, Zheng Y, Xiao J, So KF, and Zhang L, Corticosterone-mediated Microglia Activation Affects Dendritic Spine Plasticity and Motor Learning Functions in Minimal Hepatic Encephalopathy, Brain Behavior and Immunity, 82: 178-187 [accepted 17 Aug] IF: 6.17

  26. (2019) Huang L, Xi Y, Peng Y, Yang Y, Huang X, Fu Y, Tao Q, Xiao J, Yuan T, An K, Zhao H, Pu M, Xu F, Xue T, Luo M, So KF, and Ren C, A Visual Circuit Related to Habenula Underlies the Antidepressive Effects of Light Therapy, Neuron (Apr 3) 102: 1-15

  27. (2019) Lakshmanan Y, Wong FS-Y, Yu W-Y, Li SZ-C, Choi K-Y, So KF, and Chan HH-L, Lycium barbarum Polysaccharides Rescue Neurodegeneration in an Acute Ocular Hypertension Rat Model Under Pre- and Posttreatment Conditions, IOVS, May 2019 Vol. 60 (6) 2023-2033, IF: 3.812

  28. (2019) Lakshmanan Y, Wong FSY, Zuo B, So KF, Bang Viet Bui BV, and Henry Ho-Lung Chan HH-L, Posttreatment Intervention with Lycium Barbarum Polysaccharides is Neuroprotective in a Rat Model of Chronic Ocular Hypertension, IOVS (60) 14: 4606 - 4618 [accepted Oct 2], IF: 3.812

  29. (2019) Zou J, Chen GD, Zhao H, Wang XX, Zhang ZJ, WU YB, He RR, So KF, Yao XS, Gao H, Triangeliphthalides A-D: bioactive phthalide trimers with new skeletons from Angelica sinensis and their production mechanism., Chem. Commun., 2019 May 28; 55(44)  6221—6224, DOI: 10.1039/c9cc02681a, [accepted 30 Apr], IF: 6.164

  30. (2019) Li QW, Zhang R, Zhou ZQ, Sun WY, Fan HX, Wang Y, Xiao J, So KF, Yao XS, Gao H, Phenylpropanoid glycosides from the fruit of Lycium barbarum L. and their bioactivity, Phytochemistry, Aug 2019, (164): 60-66, DOI: 10.1016/j.phytochem.2019.04.017 [accepted 25 Apr, Epub 13 May], IF: 2.905

  31. (2019) Li HY, Rong SS, Hong X, Guo R, Yang FZ, Liang YY, Li A, So KF, Exercise and retinal health, Restor. Neurol. Neurosci. 2019; 37(6) :571-581, DOI 10.3233/RNN-190945 IF: 1.839

  32. (2019) He HW, Zhang YL, Yu BQ, Ye G, You W, So KF, Li X, Soluble Nogo receptor 1 fusion protein protects neural progenitor cells in rats with ischemic stroke, Neural Regen Res, 2019 Oct; 14(10): 1755-1764, DOI: 10.4103/1673-5374.257531, PMID: 31169193, [accepted Feb 2019], IF: 2.472

  33. (2020) Lin K, Shao R, Wang R, Lu W, Zou W, Chen K, Gao Y, Brietzke E, McIntyre RS, Mansur RB, Zhang L, Yau S-Y, Su H, Xu G, and So K-F, Inflammation, brain structure and cognition interrelations among individualswith differential risks for bipolar disorder, Brain, behavior, and immunity, Jan 2020, 83: 192-199; [accepted 11 Oct 2019, Epub 12 Oct 2019], doi: 10.1016/j.bbi.2019, IF: 6.17

  34. (2020) Sun XM, Lv Y, Huang L, Gao H, Ren CR, Li JJ, Bie M, Li W, Koike K, So KF, and Xiao J, Pro-inflammatory cytokines serve as communicating molecules between the liver and brain for hepatic encephalopathy pathogenesis and Lycium barbarum polysaccharides protection, Journal of Ethnopharmacology, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jep.2019.112357, Volume 248, 10 February 2020, 112357  [accepted 25 Oct 2019, Epub 3 Nov 2019] IF: 3.414

  35. (2020) Liu H, Xu X, Tu Y, Chen K, Song L, Zhai J, Chen S, Rong L, Zhou L, Wu W, So KF, Ramakrishna S, He, L., Engineering Microenvironment for Endogenous Neural Regeneration after Spinal Cord Injury by Reassembling Extracellular Matri doi:10.1021/acsami.9b19638 [Accepted 24 Mar, 2 Apr Epub]  IF: 8.456

  36. (2020) Luo P, Wang F, Wong NKL, LV Y, Li X, Li M, Tipoe GL, So KF, Xu A, Chen S, Xiao, J, Wang H, Divergent Roles of Kupffer Cell TLR2/3 Signaling in Alcoholic Liver Disease and the Protective Role of EGCG., Cell Mol Gastroenterol Hepatol, 9(1): 145-160, DOI: 10.1016/j.jcmgh.2019.09.002, PMID: 31562937, IF: 7.076 [accepted 16 Sept 2019]

  37. (2020) Ng SM, Leng LL, Xie QW, Chan JSM, Chan CLW, So KF, Li A, Po KKT, Yuen LP, Ku KS, Choi AWM, Chouliara Z, Cheung ACY, Chan CLW, Emery C, Trust as a mediator in the relationship between childhood sexual abuse and IL-6 level in adulthood. PLOS ONE 2020;15(5), DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0232932, PMID: 32413063, IF: 2.74 [accepted 25 Apr]

  38. (2020) Li X, Chen S, Yang H, Li X, So KF, Wang L, GABAergic neurons in the dorsal raphe nucleus that express 5-HT3A receptors participate in responses to stress hormones, Neuroscience 441 (2020) 217–225 ; DOI: 10.1016/j.neuroscience.2020.05.05, PMID: 32512137, IF: 3.056 [accepted: 29 May, Epub 6 June]

  39. (2020) Wang P, Yiyao Liang Y, Chen K, Yau S-Y, Sun X,
Cheng K K-Y, Xu A, So K-F, and Li A, Potential Involvement of Adiponectin Signaling in Regulating Physical Exercise-Elicited Hippocampal Neurogenesis and Dendritic Morphology in Stressed Mice, Front Cell Neurosci, July 2020/ Volume 14/ Article 189, PMID:32774242, doi: 10.3389/fncel.2020.00189 [accepted: 29 May], IF: 3.921

  40. (2020) Fu YW, Peng YF, Huang XD, Yang Y, Huang L, Xi Y, Hu ZF, Lin S, So K-F,  Ren CR, Lycium barbarum polysaccharide-glycoprotein ameliorates AS-induced depression and reduces the aberrant neuronal activity and microglial inflammatory activation in the lateral habenula, NRR, [accepted 29 June 2020], IF: 3.171

  41. (2020) Liu AM, Chen BL, Yu LT, Liu T, Shi LL, Yu pp, Qu YB, So KF, Zhou LB, Human adipose tissue- and umbilical cord-derived stem cells: which is a better alternative to treat spinal cord injury? NRR Neural Regen Res 2020 Dec;1512(12) , PMID:32594054 , DOI:10.4103/1673-5374.284997, [Accepted Apr 3, Epub June 19], IF: 3.171

  42. (2020) Du M, Huang L, Zheng JJ, Xi Y, Dai Y, ZhangWD, Yan W, Tao GM, Qiu JR, So KF, Ren CR, and Zhou SF, Flexible Fiber Probe for Efficient Neural Stimulation and Detection Adv. Sci. 2020, 2001410, IF: 15.84

  43. (2020)  Jiang LJ, Zhang S, Wang Y, So K-F, Ren, CR, Tao Q, Efficacy of Light Therapy for a College Student Sample with Non-seasonal Subthreshold Depression: An RCT Study, Journal of Affective Disorders, PMID:32871530, DOI:10.1016/j.jad.2020.08.055, [Epub 26 August 2020], IF: 3.892