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President, The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST); Morningside Professor of Life Science; Chair Professor, Division of Life Science; Director of the State Key Laboratory of Molecular Neuroscience

Cure Alzheimer’s Fund Research Leadership Group

Brain development and function relies on complex signaling pathways in neurons. Disruption of these signaling pathways can lead to neurological disorders. Dr. Nancy Ip’s research is dedicated to uncovering the intricate molecular mechanisms that are crucial for establishing the connections in the brain’s neural circuitry and how synapses can be strengthened through experiences.

Her earlier work on understanding the biology of neurotrophic factors and their signal transduction pathways revealed their pivotal roles in neuronal survival, differentiation and synaptic plasticity, providing important implications for the development of neurotrophic factors as therapeutic agents for neurodegenerative diseases. Dr. Ip’s recent research involves understanding how receptor tyrosine kinases and G-protein-coupled receptors affect the plasticity of connections in the hippocampus, a region of the brain important for memory and learning. Her work reveals that deregulation of these signaling pathways might underlie the synaptic dysfunctions observed during the progression of Alzheimer’s disease. This highlights the potential use of drugs that can modulate these synaptic connections as a therapeutic approach. Her lab also is exploring efforts directed at identifying drug leads for neurodegenerative diseases.

In 2022, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) installed Dr. Ip as its fifth president and the first woman to head the institution.