Professor Yuk Ming Dennis Lo was born on October 12 ,1963, in Hong Kong. He received his B.A. (honors) and preclinical medical training at the University of Cambridge in 1986, and his Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery at the University of Oxford in the U.K in 1989. Following that, he obtained Master of Arts degree from Cambridge (1990), and Doctor of Philosophy (1994) and Doctor of Medicine (2001) degrees from Oxford. He started his academic career at Oxford as a Junior Research Fellow in Natural Sciences at Hertford College (1990-1993), then Wellcome Career Development Fellow in Clinical Medicine (1993-1994), followed by appointments as a University Lecturer in Clinical Biochemistry and a Fellow at Green College (1994-1997). He was also Honorary Consultant Chemical Pathologist at the John Radcliffe Hospital, the main teaching hospital of Oxford Medical School. In 1997, he returned to Hong Kong and joined the Faculty of Medicine at the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) and progressed to full professorship in 2003. He is currently the Director of the Li Ka Shing Institute of Health Sciences and Li Ka Shing Professor of Medicine, Professor of Chemical Pathology, Chairman and Chief-of-Service of the Department of Chemical Pathology at CUHK and Prince of Wales Hospital, and Associate Dean for Research of the CUHK Faculty of Medicine. He became Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh (2004), the Royal College of Pathologists, UK (2005) and the Royal College of Physicians of London (2006), Honorary Fellow of the Hong Kong College of Pathologists (2011) and Honorary Fellow of the Hong Kong College of Obstetrics and Gynaecology (2013). He is also an Honorary Professor at Nanjing Medical University, Honorary Professor at Sun Yat-sen University in China, Trustee of the Croucher Foundation, Hong Kong and a Past President of the Hong Kong Society of Clinical Chemistry. He also serves in a number of academic and medical committees and councils.
Professor Dennis Lo’s main research interest focuses on the study of cell-free DNA molecules which exist in the plasma of human subjects. He discovered that an unborn fetus releases fetal DNA into the maternal plasma. This seminal discovery has laid the foundations for a revolution in non-invasive prenatal diagnostics based on maternal plasma DNA analysis. Over the next 15 years, he meticulously elucidated the biology of this phenomenon, realized its promise for non-invasive prenatal diagnostics and developed techniques for quantitative analysis of fetal DNA in the plasma of pregnant women. Based on these studies, fetal sexing for sex-linked genetic disorders, RhD genotyping and detection of fetal chromosomal disorders such as Down syndrome have been performed in many centers.
Professor Dennis Lo has authored or co-authored more than 290 publications in international journals, and he holds numerous patents in molecular diagnostics. His outstanding achievements have earned him numerous prestigious prizes and research awards. His prizes and honors include the 2005 State Natural Science Award from the State Council of China, the 2006 International Federation of Clinical Chemistry and Laboratory Medicine (IFCC) – Abbott Award for Outstanding Contribution to Molecular Diagnostics, the 2006 US National Academy of Clinical Biochemistry Distinguished Scientist Award, a 2006 Croucher Senior Medical Research .
Professor Yuk Ming Dennis Lo was awarded this prize for his efforts which have transformed the field of prenatal genetic diagnosis through his discovery of cell free fetal nucleic acids in the maternal blood and the identification of their placental source. He built upon this pivotal discovery to develop and translate techniques for risk free determination of fetal aneuploidy and monogenic disease, and ultimately the sequencing of the full fetal genome from cell free DNA. Because of his pioneering role in the field of non-invasive diagnosis of fetal disease he has been awarded the King Faisal International Prize in Medicine for the year 2014.