School of Biomedical Sciences
The Chinese University of Hong Kong 香港中文大學

KE Ya Associate Professor

B.Med., Ph.D.

Telephone:  3943 6780

Email:  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


 305A, Lo Kwee-Seong Integrated Biomedical Sciences Building, Area 39, CUHK






Prof. KE Ya (柯亞) is currently Associate Professor of the School of Biomedical Sciences, the Chinese University of Hong Kong. She studied medicine and received postgraduate training in biomedical sciences research. She has a long-standing interest in deciphering the pathogenesis and functional aberrations in neurodegenerative diseases, and to explore novel therapeutic targets for these disorders. In this endeavour she also investigates the neural circuit mechanisms underlying cognitive functions and the emergence of emotions-related behaviors that could be impaired in different brain disorders including neurodegenerative diseases. To meet these challenges, a multi-disciplinary approach employing different neuroscience research tools like molecular biology, virus-based circuit mapping, opto/chemo-genetics, in vivo/in vitro electrophysiological recording, brain imaging and novel behavioral paradigms is adopted.

  1. Pathogenesis and treatments of neurodegenerative diseases. Neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases have devastating effects on brain functions. My team tackles the etiology and pathogenesis of these disorders at multiple levels, from cells to neural circuits and brain networks. Based on our findings we also explore novel strategies that target the prevention of neurodegenerative diseases and amelioration of their symptoms.
  2. Neural circuit basis of cognitive functions and emotions-related behaviors. The neural circuits that mediate higher cognitive functions (e.g. learning and memory, multi-tasking ability) and emotion-related behaviors (e.g. stress-induced adaptive behaviors) are not well understood. Using cutting-edge techniques we probed the core brain areas and circuit mechanisms that mediate these functions as well as their malfunctions in neurodegenerative diseases and neuropsychiatric conditions, to pave the way for new effective therapeutic paradigms.
  1. Qiao, J.D., Yang, S.X., Geng, H.Y., Yung, W.H. & Ke, Y.* (2022). Input-timing dependent plasticity at incoming synapses of mushroom body facilitates olfactory learning in drosophila. Current Biology, 32, 1-12
  2. Lam, Y.S., Liu, X.X., Ke, Y.* & Yung, W.H.*(2022). Edge-based network analysis reveals frequency specific network dynamics in aberrant anxiogenic processing in rats. Network Neuroscience, 6 (3), 816-833
  3. Geng, H.Y., Arbuthnott, G., Yung, W.H. & Ke, Y.* (2021). Long-range monosynaptic inputs targeting apical and basal dendrites of primary motor cortex deep output neurons. Cerebral Cortex, 32(18), 3975-3989.
  4. Liang, T., Qian, Z.M., Mu, M.D., Yung, W.H. & Ke, Y.* (2020). Brain Hepcidin Suppresses Major Pathologies in Experimental Parkinsonism. iScience, 2020 Jul 24;23(7):101284.
  5. Mu, M.D., Yang, S.X., Rong, K.L., Qian, Z.M., Yung, W.H. & Ke, Y.* (2020). A Histone Demethylase Inhibitor Exhibits Cell-Specific Iron Suppression and Neuroprotection in Parkinson's Disease Model. Cell Death & Diseases, 11(10):927.
  6. Mu, M.D., Geng, H.Y., Rong, K.L., Peng, R.C., Wang, S.T., Geng, L.T., Qian, Z.M., Yung, W.H., & Ke, Y.* (2020). A limbic circuitry involved in emotional stress-induced grooming. Nature Communications, 11(1), 2261(Editorial highlight)
  7. Qian, Z.M. & Ke, Y.* (2019). Hepcidin and its therapeutic potential in neurodegenerative disorders. Medicinal Research Reviews, 94(5):1672-1684.
  8. Cui, Q.L., Li, Q., Geng, H.Y., Chen, L., Ip, N.Y., Ke, Y.* & Yung, W.H.* (2018). Dopamine receptors mediate strategy abandoning via modulation of a specific prelimbic cortex-nucleus accumbens pathway in mice. Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, USA. 115(21):E4890-E4899.
  9. Zhou, Y.F., Wu, X.M., Zhou, G., Mu, M.D., Zhang, F.L., Li, F.M., Qian, C., Du, F., Yung, W.H., Qian, Z.M., & Ke, Y.* (2018). Cystathionine b-synthase is required for body iron homeostasis. Hepatology, 67(1), 21-35. (Editorial highlight)
  10. Wu, X.M., Qian, C., Zhou, Y.F., Yan, Y.C., Luo, Q.Q., Yung, W.H., Zhang, F.L., Jiang, L.R., Qian, Z.M., & Ke, Y.* (2017). Bi-directionally protective communication between neurons and astrocytes under ischemia. Redox Biology, 20(13), 20-31.
  11. Lu, L.N., Qian, Z.M., Wu, K.C., Yung, W.H., & Ke, Y.*. (2017). Expression of iron transporters and pathological hallmarks of parkinson's and alzheimer's diseases in the brain of young, adult, and aged rats. Molecular Neurobiology, 54(7), 5213-5224.
  12. Li, Q., Ko, H., Qian, Z.M., Yan, L.Y.C., Chan, D.C.W., Arbuthnott, G., Ke, Y.*, & Yung, W.H.* (2017). Refinement of learned skilled movement representation in motor cortex deep output layer. Nature Communications, 8, 15834.
  13. Gong, J., Du, F., Qian, Z.M., Luo, Q.Q., Sheng, Y., Yung, W.H., Xu, Y.X., & Ke, Y.* (2016). Pre-treatment of rats with ad-hepcidin prevents iron-induced oxidative stress in the brain. Free Radical Biology Medcine, 90, 126-32.
  14. Huang, X.T., Qian, Z.M., He, X., Gong, Q., Wu, K.C., Jiang, L.R., Lu, L.N., Zhu, Z.J., Zhang, H.Y., Yung, W.H., & Ke, Y.* (2014). Reducing iron in the brain: a novel pharmacological mechanism of Huperzine A in the treatment of Alzheimer's disease. Neurobiology of Aging, 35(5), 1045-54.
  15. Li, Q., Qian, Z.M., Arbuthnott, G.W., Ke, Y.*, & Yung, W.H.* (2013). Cortical Effects of Deep Brain Stimulation: Implications for Pathogenesis and Treatment of Parkinson's Disease. JAMA Neurology, 71, 100-103 (Editorial highlight)
  16. Li, Q., Ke, Y.*, Chan, D.C.W., Qian, Z.M., Yung, K.K.L., Ko, H., Arbuthnott, G.W., & Yung, W.H.* (2012). Therapeutic deep brain stimulation in parkinsonian rats directly influences motor cortex. Neuron, 76, 1030-1041
  17. Wu, X.M., Qian, Z.M., Zhu, L., Du, F., Yung, W.H., Gong, Q., & Ke, Y.* (2011). Neuroprotective effect of ligustilide against ischemia-reperfusion injury via up-regulation of erythropoietin and down-regulation of RTP801. British Journal of Pharmacology, 164(2), 332-43.
  18. Du, F, Qian, Q., Qian, Z.M., Wu, X.M., Xie, H., Yung, W.H., & Ke, Y.* (2011). Hepcidin directly inhibits transferrin receptor 1 expression in astrocytes via a cyclic AMP-protein kinase a pathway. GLIA, 59(6), 936-45.
  19. Zhao, L., Qian, Z.M., Zhang, C., Yung, W.H., Du, F., & Ke, Y.* (2008). Amyloid beta-peptide 31-35-induced neuronal apoptosis is mediated by caspase-dependent pathways via cAMP-dependent protein kinase A activation. Aging Cell, 7(1), 47-57.
  20. Ke, Y., & Qian, Z.M. (2003). Iron misregulation in the brain: a primary cause of neurodegenerative disorders. Lancet Neurology, 2(4), 246-253.

    *  Corresponding / Co-corresponding author
  1. RGC - General Research Fund [PI; 01-Jan-2022 to 31-Dec-2024]: "Neurobiological basis of cognitive-motor dual-tasking" (HK$1,175,732).
  2. Health and Medical Research Fund [PI; 15-Sep2020 to 14-Sep-2023]: "Early intervention in preventing strategy-switching impairment in Alzheimer’s disease animal model" (HK$1,499,420).
  3. RGC - General Research Fund [PI; 01-Jan-2020 to 31-Dec-2022]: " The synaptic basis of motor learning: a two-tier synaptic inputs model " (HK$1,157,687).