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


BSc, MPhil (CUHK), PhD (Cantab)

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  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 inner ear development and hearing disorders
  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. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. Liu, J.A., Lai, F.P., Gui, H.S., Sham, M.H., Tam, P.K., Garcia-Barcelo, M.M., Hui, C.C. and Ngan, E.S. (2015) Identification of GLI mutations in patients with Hirschprung disease that disrupt enteric nervous system development in mice. Gastroenterology, 149(7):1837-1848.
  7. 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.
  8. Bondurand, N. and Sham, M.H. (2013) The role of SOX10 during enteric nervous system development. Dev. Biol., 382(1):330-343.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. Cai, K.X., Tse, L.Y., Leung, C., Tam, P.K.H., Xu, R. and Sham, M.H. (2008) Suppression of lung tumor growth and metastasis in mice by adeno-associated virus-mediated expression of vasostatin. Clin. Cancer Res., 14(3):939-949.
  13. Ko, K.H., Lam, Q.L.K., Zhang, M., Wong, C.K.Y., Lo, C.K.C., Kahmeyer-Gabbe, M., Tsang, W.H., Tsang, S.L., Chan, L.C., Sham, M.H. and Lu, L. (2007) Hoxb3 deficiency impairs B lymphopoiesis in mouse bone marrow. Exp. Haematol., 35(3):465-475.
  14. 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.
  15. 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.
  16. 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.
  17. 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.
  18. 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.
  19. Sham, M.H., Lui, V.C.H., Chen, B., Fu, M. and Tam, P.K.H. (2001) Novel mutations of SOX10 suggest a dominant negative role in Waardenburg-Shah syndrome. J. Med. Genet., 38(9): E30.
  20. Sham, M.H., Lui, V.C.H., Fu, M., Chen, B. and Tam, P.K.H. (2001) SOX10 is abnormally expressed in aganglionic bowel of Hirschsprung’s disease infants. Gut, 49(2): 220-226.
  1. 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).
  2. 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).
  3. RGC – General Research Fund [PI; Jan 2017 to Dec 2019]: “The roles of N-Myc, Sufu and Gli genes in regulating the dynamic progression of mammalian cochlear hair cell differentiation” (HK$1,222,625).
  4. RGC – General Research Fund [PI; Jan 2016 to Dec 2018]: “The interactions of Eya1 and Notch signaling in the branchial epithelia during mammalian craniofacial development (HK$1,180,783).
  5. RGC – General Research Fund [PI; Jan 2015 to Dec 2017]: “The roles of Suppressor of fused (Sufu) in the maintenance of mammalian neural progenitor cells” (HK$1,066,520).
  6. RGC – General Research Fund [PI; Jan 2013 to Dec 2015]: “The roles of Irx3 and Irx5 genes in mammalian inner ear morphogenesis” (HK$1,300,000).