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Dr HUANG Fang-Ping |
Associate Professor (Immunology)
MB Shantou; MSc Glasgow; MUA Glasgow; PhD Glasgow

Brief Biography:
I received my initial medical training in China (University of Shantou Medical College, 1977-82; STU First Teaching Hospital, 1983-87), and was awarded the Li Ka Sheng (LKS) Academic Foundation Fellowship to undertake postgraduate studies in the UK (University of Glasgow, 1987-90). I have subsequently become engaged in active immunology research and teaching in the University of Glasgow (1990-97), University of Oxford (1997-2000), University of Hong Kong (2000-7) and Imperial College London (2007-14). Currently, I am affiliated to the State Key Laboratory for Liver Research (SKLLR)/Pathology Department, LKS Medical Faculty, HKU (since July 2014).

Research Description
Each coin has two sides. The immune system, which protects us from diseases otherwise, may itself directly and evidently cause diseases. Due to failure in the process of tolerance induction and regulation, immune responses when mistakenly directed against body’s own components (‘self’ antigens) can result in long lasting and recurrent pathological damages to the targeted organs and tissues. These are collectively known as autoimmune disorders, ranging from various organ-specific types to those of systemic in nature.
The term autoimmunity thus signifies the presence of self-reactive immune responses with antigen specificity and immunological memory, two key features of the adaptive immunity. Autoimmune responses however are detected not only in patients with autoimmune diseases, but also frequently in healthy individuals as well. The pathological consequence of these reactions, often due to the lack of certain protective mechanisms, depends on the type of the responses induced. Some of these autoimmune reactions can be even beneficial too, for examples, in removing or dumping off various unwanted or aged tissue components. There is also convincing evidence indicating that such responses are involved in the fight against tumors, i.e. the ‘altered self’.  A better understanding of the immunological mechanisms involved will therefore be important for the treatment of these autoimmune and inflammatory diseases, and even further beyond.

Main Research Interests:
Our research has been focused on immune regulation in systemic autoimmunity, mucosal inflammation, and tumor immunology. In brief, we study the cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying systemic autoimmune and inflammatory disorders. Based on our findings, we try to understand how the immune system is normally regulated, why dysregulation of which may cause diseases and, whether and how, the so-called "self-reactivity" (autoimmune responses) can be alternatively switched on and effectively redirected, immunologically and/or molecularly, against tumors (i.e. the “altered self”):

20 Selected Journal Publications

(*Corresponding author)

  1. Zhao H, Davies TJ, Ning J, Chang Y, Sachamitr P, Sattler S, Fairchild PJ, *Huang F. A Highly Optimized Protocol for Reprogramming Cancer Cells to Pluripotency Using Nonviral Plasmid Vectors. Cellular Reprogramming 2015 Feb;17(1):7-18. doi: 10.1089/cell.2014.0046. Epub 2014 Dec 30.
  2. Sattler S, Ling GS, Xu D, Hussaarts L, Romaine A, Zhao H, Fossati-Jimack L, Malik T, Cook HT, Botto M, Lau YL, Smits HH, Liew FY, *Huang FP. IL-10-producing regulatory B cells induced by IL-33 (BregIL-33) effectively attenuate mucosal inflammatory responses in the gut. J Autoimmun. 2014 May;50:107-22. doi: 10.1016/j.jaut.2014.01.032. Epub 2014 Feb 1. PMID: 24491821
  3. Wang T, Sun X, Zhao J, Zhang J, Zhu H, Li C, Gao N, Jia Y, Xu D, Huang FP, Li N, Lu L, Li ZG. Regulatory T cells in rheumatoid arthritis showed increased plasticity toward Th17 but retained suppressive function in peripheral blood. Ann Rheum Dis. 2014 Feb 12. doi: 10.1136/annrheumdis-2013-204228. [Epub ahead of print] PMID: 24521740
  4. Sun J, Li R, Guo J, Jia Y, Sun X, Liu Y, Li Y, Huang F, Lu L, Li Z. Superior molecularly altered influenza virus hemagglutinin peptide 308-317 inhibits collagen-induced arthritis by inducing CD4+ Treg cell expansion. Arthritis Rheum. 2012 Jul;64(7):2158-68. doi: 10.1002/art.34372. PMID: 22231228
  5. Ling GS, Cook HT, Botto M, Lau YL, *Huang FP. An essential protective role of IL-10 in the immunological mechanism underlying resistance vs. susceptibility to lupus induction by dendritic cells and dying cells. Rheumatology (Oxford). 2011 Oct; 50(10):1773-84. doi: 10.1093/rheumatology/ker198. Epub 2011 Jul 4. PMID: 21727182
  6. Mok MY, Huang FP, Ip WK, Lo Y, Wong FY, Chan EY, Lam KF, Xu D. Serum levels of IL-33 and soluble ST2 and their association with disease activity in systemic lupus erythematosus. Rheumatology (Oxford). 2010 Mar;49(3):520-7. doi: 10.1093/rheumatology/kep402. Epub 2009 Dec 21. PMID: 20026564
  7. Yang CH, Tian L, Ling GS, Trendell-Smith NJ, Ma L, Lo CK, Stott DI, Liew FY, *Huang FP. Immunological mechanisms and clinical implications of regulatory T cell deficiency in a systemic autoimmune disorder: roles of IL-2 versus IL-15. Eur J Immunol. 2008 Jun;38(6):1664-76. doi: 10.1002/eji.200838190. PMID: 18465774
  8. Chen YX, Man K, Ling GS, Chen Y, Sun BS, Cheng Q, Wong OH, Lo CK, Ng IO, Chan LC, Lau GK, Lin CL, Huang F, *Huang FP. A crucial role for dendritic cell (DC) IL-10 in inhibiting successful DC-based immunotherapy: superior antitumor immunity against hepatocellular carcinoma evoked by DC devoid of IL-10. J Immunol. 2007 Nov 1;179(9):6009-15. PMID: 17947674
  9. Chen Y, Chan VS, Zheng B, Chan KY, Xu X, To LY, Huang FP, Khoo US, Lin CL. A novel subset of putative stem/progenitor CD34+Oct-4+ cells is the major target for SARS coronavirus in human lung. J Exp Med. 2007 Oct 29;204(11):2529-36. Epub 2007 Oct 8. PMID: 17923501
  10. Ma L, Chan KW, Trendell-Smith NJ, Wu A, Tian L, Lam AC, Chan AK, Lo CK, Chik S, Ko KH, To CK, Kam SK, Li XS, Yang CH, Leung SY, Ng MH, Stott DI, MacPherson GG, *Huang FP. Systemic autoimmune disease induced by dendritic cells that have captured necrotic but not apoptotic cells in susceptible mouse strains. Eur J Immunol. 2005 Nov;35(11):3364-75. PMID: 16224814
  11. Huang FP, Farquhar CF, Mabbott NA, Bruce ME, MacPherson GG. Migrating intestinal dendritic cells transport PrP(Sc) from the gut. J Gen Virol. 2002 Jan;83(Pt 1):267-71. PMID: 11752724
  12. Huang FP, Platt N, Wykes M, Major JR, Powell TJ, Jenkins CD, MacPherson GG. A discrete subpopulation of dendritic cells transports apoptotic intestinal epithelial cells to T cell areas of mesenteric lymph nodes. J Exp Med. 2000 Feb 7;191(3):435-44. PMID: 10662789
  13. Huang FP, Niedbala W, Wei XQ, Xu D, Feng GJ, Robinson JH, Lam C, Liew FY. Nitric oxide regulates Th1 cell development through the inhibition of IL-12 synthesis by macrophages. Eur J Immunol. 1998 Dec;28(12):4062-70. PMID: 9862342
  14. Huang FP, Xu D, Esfandiari EO, Sands W, Wei XQ, Liew FY. Mice defective in Fas are highly susceptible to Leishmania major infection despite elevated IL-12 synthesis, strong Th1 responses, and enhanced nitric oxide production. J Immunol. 1998 May 1;160(9):4143-7. PMID: 9574511
  15. Xu D, Chan WL, Leung BP, Huang FP, Wheeler R, Piedrafita D, Robinson JH, Liew FY. Selective expression of a stable cell surface molecule on type 2 but not type 1 helper T cells. J Exp Med. 1998 Mar 2;187(5):787-94. PMID: 9480988
  16. McInnes IB, Leung BP, Field M, Wei XQ, Huang FP, Sturrock RD, Kinninmonth A, Weidner J, Mumford R, Liew FY. Production of nitric oxide in the synovial membrane of rheumatoid and osteoarthritis patients. J Exp Med. 1996 Oct 1;184(4):1519-24. PMID: 8879223
  17. Huang FP, Feng GJ, Lindop G, Stott DI, Liew FY. The role of interleukin 12 and nitric oxide in the development of spontaneous autoimmune disease in MRL/MP-lpr/lpr mice. J Exp Med. 1996 Apr 1;183(4):1447-59. PMID: 8666903
  18. McInnes IB, al-Mughales J, Field M, Leung BP, Huang FP, Dixon R, Sturrock RD, Wilkinson PC, Liew FY. The role of interleukin-15 in T-cell migration and activation in rheumatoid arthritis. Nature Medicine 1996 Feb;2(2):175-82. PMID: 8574962
  19. Wei XQ, Charles IG, Smith A, Ure J, Feng GJ, Huang FP, Xu D, Muller W, Moncada S, Liew FY. Altered immune responses in mice lacking inducible nitric oxide synthase. Nature. 1995 Jun 1;375(6530):408-11. PMID: 7539113
  20. *Huang FP, Stott DI. Restoration of an early, progressive defect in responsiveness to T-cell activation in lupus mice by exogenous IL-2. Autoimmunity. 1993;15(1):19-29. PMID: 8218827

Invited Reviews/Editorials

Books/Book Chapters

US/PCT Patents filed


US Regular Patent: Ref. No.: 11/957,146, filed on Dec. 14, 2007. Publication Date: January 8, 2009, Publication No. 20090010948, US Patent & Trademark Office, USA. Website:

PCT patent: Ref No: WO2008/071093, filed on Dec. 17, 2007, Publication Date: June 19, 2008; WIPO's website:

(US Provisional Patent) Tian L, Tam PKH, Huang F-P, Lamb JR. AGE DEPENDENCY OF T REGULATORY CELLS. (Ref. No.: IP00093).



Major Research Grants awarded

Other Research Funds/Support received

Teaching (Immunology)

Other Professional activities/Honors