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

Sham_1Choh-Ming Li Professor of Biomedical Sciences

BSc, MPhil (CUHK), PhD (Cantab)

Telephone:  3943 0415

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


  Room 609A, Lo Kwee-Seong Integrated Biomedical Sciences Building, CUHK









Prof. Sham Mai-har (岑美霞) joined the Chinese University of Hong Kong in 2020. She is currently Choh-Ming Li Professor of Biomedical Sciences. Professor Sham did her undergraduate and MPhil studies in the Chinese University of Hong Kong. She obtained a Croucher Foundation Scholarship and pursued her PhD in Biochemistry in the University of Cambridge. She received her postdoctoral training in Developmental Genetics in the National Institute for Medical Research in London, U.K., before joining the University of Hong Kong. She had previously served as the Associate Vice-President (Research), Head of the Department of Biochemistry, Assistant Dean (Research), Director of the Centre for Reproduction Development and Growth in the Li Ka Shing Faculty of Medicine, the University of Hong Kong.

Professor Sham’s research focused on the molecular mechanisms of mammalian development and human congenital disorders. Her research group works on transcriptional regulation and functional genomics in craniofacial and sensory neural development and diseases. Her research laboratory uses mutant mice, stem cells and organoids, and single-cell technologies as experimental platforms. Current projects include:

  1. Irx genes and their transcriptional regulations in craniofacial development, hearing disorders and eye diseases
  2. Sonic hedgehog signaling genes in sensory and non-sensory cochlear epithelium development
  3. Notch signaling and transcriptional regulations in cranial placode, neural crest and craniofacial development
  4. The role of Sox10 and Eph/ephrins in enteric nervous system development
  1. Qin, T., Ho, C.C., Wang, B., Hui, C.C. and Sham, M.H. (2022) Sufu- and Spop-mediated regulation of Gli2 is essential for the control of mammalian cochlear hair cell differentiation. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA, 119(43):e2206571119.
  2. Szeto, I.Y.Y., Chu, D.K.H., Chen, P., Chu, K.C., Au, T.Y.K., Leung, K.K.H., Huang, Y.H., Wynn, S.L., Mak, A.C.Y., Chan, Y.S., Chan, W.Y., Jauch, R., Fritzsch, B., Sham, M.H., Lovell-Badge, R. and Cheah, K.S.E. (2022). Sox9 and Sox10 control fluid homeostasis in the inner ear for hearing through independent and cooperative mechanisms. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA, 119(46):e2122121119.
  3. Kwok, A.W.C., Qiao, C., Huang, R., Sham, M.H., Ho, J.W.K. and Huang, Y. (2022) MQuad enables clonal substructure discovery using single cell mitochondrial variants. Nat. Commun., 13(1):1205.
  4. Huang, T., Hou, Y., Wang, X., Wang, L., Yi, C., Wang, C., Sun, X., Tam, P.K.H., Ngai, S.M., Sham, M.H., Burns, A.J. and Chan, W.Y. (2022) Direct interaction of Sox10 with cadherin-19 mediates early sacral neural crest cell migration: Implications for enteric nervous system development defects. Gastroenterology, 162(1):179-192.e11.  
  5. Zhang, H., Xie, J., So, K.H., Tong, K.K., Sae-Pang, J.J., Wang, L., Tsang, S.L., Chan, W.Y., Wong, E.Y.M. and Sham, M.H. (2021) Hoxb3 regulates Jag1 expression in pharyngeal epithelium and affects interaction with neural crest cells. Front. Physiol., 11:612230.
  6. Wang, L., Xie, J.J., Zhang, H., Tsang, L.H., Tsang, S.L., Braune, E.-B., Lendahl, U. and Sham, M.H. (2020) Notch signalling regulates epibranchial placode patterning and segregation. Development, 147(4): dev183665.
  7. Liu, J.A., Tai, A.C.P., Cheung, M.P.L., Sham, M.H., Cheah, K.S.E., Cheung, C.W. and Cheung, M.C.H. (2020) Fbxo9 functions downstream of Sox10 to determine neuron-glial fate choice in the dorsal root ganglia through Ngn2 destabilization. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA, 117(8):4199-4201.
  8. Li, X., Yu, X., Chen, X., Liu, Z., Wang, G., Li, C., Wong, E.Y.M., Sham, M.H., Tang, J., He, J., Xiong, W., Liu, Z. and Huang, P. (2019) Localization of TMC1 and LHFPL5 in auditory hair cells in neonatal and adult mice. FASEB J. , 33(6):6838-6851.
  9. Zhang, H., Wang, L., Wong, E.Y.M., Tsang, S.L., Xu, P.X., Lendahl, U. and Sham, M.H. (2017) An Eya1-Notch axis specifies bipotential epibranchial differentiation in mammalian craniofacial morphogenesis. eLife, 2017;6: e30126.
  10. Cheng, M.H. Tam, C.N., Choy, K.W., Tsang, W.H., Tsang, S.L., Pang, C.P., Song, Y.Q. and Sham, M.H. (2016) A γA-crystallin mouse mutant Secc with small eye, cataract and closed eyelid. PLoS ONE, 11(8):e0160691.
  11. Ng, R.K., Kong, C.T., So, C.C., Leung, K.C., So, K.C., Chan, Y.F., Tsang, H. M., Chan, L.C.* and Sham, M.H.* (2014) Epigenetic dysregulation of leukaemic HOX code in MLL-rearranged leukemia mouse model. J. Path.232(1):65-74.
  12. Bondurand, N. and Sham, M.H. (2013) The role of SOX10 during enteric nervous system development. Dev. Biol., 382(1):330-343.
  13. Lei, I., Gao, X., Sham, M.H.* and Wang, Z.* (2012) SWI/SNF component BAF250a regulates cardiac progenitor cell differentiation by modulating chromatin accessibility during secondary heart field development. J. Biol. Chem., 287(29):24255-24262.
  14. Leung, C., Chan, C.L.S., Tsang, S.L., Wu, W. and Sham, M.H. (2012) Cyp26b1 mediates differential neurogenicity in axial-specific populations of adult spinal cord progenitor cells. Stem Cells & Dev., 21(12):2252-2261.
  15. Wong, E.Y.M., Wang, X.A., Mak, S.S., Sae-Pang, J.J., Ling, K.W., Fritzsch, B. and Sham, M.H. (2011) Hoxb3 negatively regulates Hoxb1 expression in mouse hindbrain patterning. Dev. Biol. , 352:382-392.
  16. Kong, C.T.#, Sham, M.H.#, So, C.W., Cheah, K.S.E., Chen, S.J. and Chan, L.C. (2006) The Mll-Een knock-in fusion gene causes self renewal of myeloid progenitors in mouse embryonic stem cells and myeloid leukaemia in chimeric mice. Leukemia, 20:1829-1839.
  17. Fu, M., Lui, V.C.H., Sham, M.H., Pachnis, V. and Tam, P.K.H. (2004) Sonic hedgehog regulates the proliferation, differentiation and migration of enteric neural crest cells in gut. J. Cell Biol. , 166(5):673-684.
  18. Chan, K.K., Wong, C.K.Y., Lui, V.C.H., Tam, P.K.H. and Sham, M.H. (2003) Analysis of SOX10 mutations identified in Waardenburg-Hirschsprung patients: Differential effects on target gene regulation. J. Cell. Biochem. 90(3):573-585.
  19. Yau, T.O., Kwan, C.T., Jakt, L.M., Stallwood, N., Cordes, S. and Sham, M.H. (2002) Auto/Cross-regulation of Hoxb3 expression in posterior hindbrain and spinal cord. Dev. Biol. , 252(2):287-300.
  20. Kwan, C.T., Tsang, S.L., Krumlauf, R. and Sham, M.H. (2001) Regulatory analysis of the mouse Hoxb3 gene: Multiple elements work in concert to direct temporal and spatial patterns of expression. Dev. Biol., 232(1): 176-190.
  1. RGC/NSFC Collaborative Research Scheme [PC; Jan 2024 to Dec 2027]: “Molecular mechanisms underlying specification and differentiation of posterior cranial placodes” (HK$3,600,000).
  2. RGC – General Research Fund [PI; Jan 2024 to Dec 2026]: “The roles of Irx3 and Irx5 genes in the development of the anterior segment of the eye” (HK$1,601,140).
  3. Health and Medical Research Fund [PI; Sept 2022 to Aug 2025]: “Investigating the pathophysiology of dry eye disease using a mouse mutant model with ocular gland dysfunction” (HK$ 1,499,880).
  4. RGC – General Research Fund [PI; Jan 2022 to Dec 2024]: “The roles of Irx3 and Irx5 genes in mammalian craniofacial and pharyngeal development” (HK$1,125,732).
  5. Health and Medical Research Fund [PI; Jan 2022 to Dec 2024]: “Using functional genomics approach to identify genetic factors for congenital craniofacial malformations prevalent in Hong Kong” (HK$1,496,880).
  6. RGC – General Research Fund [PI; Jan 2021 to Dec 2023]: “The roles of Irx3/Irx5 genes in cochlear non-sensory epithelium development and function” (HK$996,285).
  7. RGC – General Research Fund [PI; Jan 2019 to Dec 2021]: “The roles of Sox10 and Ephs/ephrins in controlling cell-cell interactions during mouse enteric nervous system development” (HK$985,708).