Group Presentations

Read all the exciting things our scholars have been up to!

This past month has been hectic. The slang “chur” derived from university students would be absolutely suitable for my current situation.

Let’s anticipate four remaining group presentations as well as two desertations by the end of April. This will mark the last milestone, concluding my study abroad experience at the University of Hong Kong.

The first group presentation was collaborated with Kevin Huang and Edward Chow in my Medicinal Chemistry class. Our topic was the anti-viral drug design and development against SARS coronavirus. I gladly accepted this topic because of its relevancy to Hong Kong. The SARS epidemic of 2002-2003 has violently shaken Hong Kong, and from that incidence many Hong Kong residences learned to continue preventive measures of viral disease spreading. For instance, many homes of Hong Kong residents are equipped with boxes of masks. Whenever struck with the flu or respiratory disease, they will naturally wear face masks (as shown by my presentation partner). On the day of our presentation, Kevin felt a cold coming up and wore a mask to class. This prevents the spreading to others as well as protecting himself from germs.

We selected the unique SARS-CoV viral helicase as our drug target due its unique characteristics that separate it apart from other viral helicases. We proposed five chemical compounds that can be used to inhibit the dual functions of SARS-CoV helicase activity.

SARS coronavirus is a newly identified strain among its family of Coronaviridae, and its viral proteins are unique as well. SARS-CoV helicase, or NTPase/Hel, is unique in particular and is a good drug target. As this virus is fairly new in research, less is known about its functions. It has recently been discovered that its NTPase/Hel is classified under Superfamily-1 (SF-1). This group of viral helicase is less categorized and understood as compared to those in SF-2, SF-3 and so forth. The NTPase/Hel is unique due to its preference of 5′–>3′ polarity. In other words, unwinding of DNA is catalyzed in the fastidious selection of a 5′ single-stranded nucleic acid overhang. SARS-CoV helicase is powered by the energy generated by ATPase or NTPase moiety. ATPase and DNA unwinding activity are both inhibiting targets in our anti-viral drug research.

Presentation #2: Pancreatic Cancer

The cause, treatment, current research and prevention will be discussed. It has been found that bittermelon juice shows potency in suppression tumor growth. There are currently a couple of chemotherapy options that cost in the upwards of $7,000 – 8,000USD per session. The recommended number of sessions is 5 times per week for a three times a week for a total of 6 months.