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Wilson Yick-Pang Ching(程翼鵬)
Assistant Professor
Office: Rm. L1-43, Laboratory Block, Faculty of Medicine Building, HKU
Phone: (852) 2819 9434
Fax: (852) 2817 0857
HKU Scholars Hub


After obtaining his undergraduate degree at Imperial College, University of London, UK, Dr. Ching continued his PhD training at University of Dundee, UK. He then had his post-doctoral training in Hong Kong University of Science and Technology and the University of Hong Kong. He has been joinly appointed as Research Assistant Professor by the Department of Pathology and Biochemistry at the University of Hong Kong and has been an Assistant Professor with the Department of Anatomy since 2007.

Research Interests

Dr. Ching is Assistant Professor of Anatomy. His research interest focuses on the study of neuronal cell differentiation. In particular, he is interested in the signaling pathways that are regulated by neuronal cdc2-like kinase (Nclk) and p21-activated protein kinase (Pak), which regulate the process of neuronal cell migration and neurite outgrowth.

• Neuronal cdc2-like kinase (Nclk) has been shown to play an important role in neuronal differentiation, neuro-cytoskeleton dynamics, and neurite extension. Aberrant of Nclk activity has been implicated in a number of neurodegenerative diseases including Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease. Nclk consists of a catalytic subunit, called cyclin dependent protein kinase 5 (Cdk5), and a 25 kDa regulatory subunit derived proteolytically from a 35 kDa neuronal-specific protein, called neuronal Cdk5 activator (Nck5a). Although Cdk5 protein exists ubiquitously, Nclk activity can only be found in brain because of the restricted expression of Nck5a. This suggests that Nck5a is the crucial modulator for the Nclk activity. Thus our current researches focus on the identification of proteins that can inhibit the activity of Cdk5/Nck5a complex and disrupt the interaction between Cdk5 and Nck5a.

• The small Rho GTPases family (including RhoA, Cdc42 and Rac1), which belongs to Ras small GTPase superfamily, is involved in a number of cellular processes including gene regulation, cell migration and cell division. Emerging evidences has shown that Rho GTPases also play a vital role in the regulation of neurite outgrowth and neuronal cell migration. One of the downstream effectors of Cdc42 and Rac1 is called p21-activated protein kinase (Pak), which contains a highly conserved N-terminal Cdc42/Rac1 binding domain and a C-terminal kinase domain. Six members of Pak kinase family have been identified and they are subdivided into 2 groups. Pak5, which belongs to the group II Pak family, is found to be highly expressed in brain and stimulates neurite outgrowth by downregulation of RhoA. Using the yeast-2 hybrid screening, we have identified several potential cellular partners of Paks and would like to further characterize the functional outcome of their interaction.

Selected Publications

  1. Chan CP, Siu YT, Kok KH, *Ching YP, *Tang HMV, *Jin DY. (2013) "Group I p21-activated kinases facilitate Tax-mediated transcriptional activation of the human T-cell leukemia virus type 1 long terminal repeats." Retrovirology, 10:47 doi:10.1186/1742-4690-10-47
  2. Lau, B.W.M., Yau, S.Y., Lee, T.M.C., Ching, Y.P., Tang, S.W., So, K.F., (2011).Effect of corticosterone and paroxetine on masculine mating behavior: possible involvement of neurogenesis. J Sex Med, 8(5):1390-1403. (pdf)
  3. Lau, B.W.M., Yau, S.Y., Lee, T.M.C., Ching, Y.P., Tang, S.W. & So, K.F., (2009). Intracerebroventricular infusion of cytosine-arabinoside causes prepulse inhibition disruption. Neuroreport, 20(4):371-7. (pdf)