Department of Pharmacology and Pharmacy, The University of Hong Kong

Dr. Ruby L.C. HOO 何麗莊

Assistant Professor

  • BSc, MPhil, PhD

Dr. Ruby L.C. Hoo obtained her Bachelor, MPhil and PhD in biological science at The University of Hong Kong. She received her post-doctoral training at division of endocrinology, Department of Medicine at The University of Hong Kong. She took up her post as Research Assistant Professor and Assistant Professor in 2006 and 2017 respectively at Department of Medicine, HKU. She joined the Department of Pharmacolgy and Pharmacy, HKU, in Feb 2018. She is the principal investigator of research projects funded by HMRF, RGC, Shenzhen Basic research fund and NSFC.

Dr. Ruby Hoo and her research associates

Dr. Ruby Hoo and her research associates

Memberships & Editorships
  • Co-Investigator, State Key Laboratory of Pharmaceutical Biotechnology
  • Member, Research Centre of Heart, Brain, Hormone and Healthy Aging
  • Member, HKU Shenzhen Institute of Research and Innovation (HKU-SIRI)
  • Associate member, Hong Kong Association for the study of obesity
  • Associate member, Hong Kong Society of Endocrinology, Metabolism and Reproduction

  • Frontiers in Endocrinology
  • Scientific Reports
Honours and Awards
  • Travel Grant Award, 2016 International Congress on Obesity and Metabolic Syndrome in Conjunction with 45th Annual Scientific Meeting of KSSO
  • Best oral presentation award, 11th International Symposium on Healthy Aging HKU, 2016
  • Best oral presentation award, Medical Research Conference, HKU, 2013
  • Best oral presentation award, International Huaxia Congress of Endocrinology, 2012
  • Best oral presentation award, Medical Research Conference HKU, 2006

Research Interests
  • Basic and translational research on adipose tissue biology, obesity and its related cardiometabolic diseases. Our team focus on deciphering the roles and underlying mechanisms of adipocyte or liver-derived hormones such as adiponectin, fibroblast growth factor-1 (FGF21) and adipocyte fatty acid binding protein (A-FABP) in the regulation of energy metabolism and in the pathogenesis of obesity-related cardio-metabolic and inflammatory diseases such as type-2 diabetes, atherosclerosis and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. Currently, we are exploring new factors that regulate energy metabolism and have potential therapeutic effects on obesity and its related cardiometabolic complications.

Selected Publications
  • Wu X, Shu L, Zhang Z, Li J, Zong J, Cheong LY, Ye D, Lam KS, Song E, Wang C, Xu A and Hoo RL* "Adipocyte Fatty Acid Binding Protein Promotes the Onset and Progression of Liver Fibrosis via Mediating the Crosstalk between Liver Sinusoidal Endothelial Cells and Hepatic Stellate Cells" Advanced Science 2021; doi:10.1002/advs.202003721 (IF: 15.84)
  • Xiao Y, Shu L , Wu X , Liu Y, Cheong LY, Liao B, Xiao X, Hoo RLC ,Zhou Z, XuA. "Fatty acid binding protein-4 promotes autoimmune diabetes by recruitment and activation of pancreatic islet macrophages" JCI Insight 2021; doi: 10.1172/jci.insight.141814 (IF: 6.205)
  • Liao B, Geng L, Zhang F, Shu L, Wei L, Yeung PK, Lam KS, Chung SK, Chang J, Vanhoutte P, Xu A, Wang K*, Hoo RL* "Adipocyte fatty acid binding protein (A-FABP) exacerbates cerebral ischemia injury by disrupting the blood-brain barrier" European Heart Journal 2020; doi: 10.1093/eurheartj/ehaa207 (IF: 24.889)
  • Wong TL, Ng KY, Tan KV, Chan LH, Zhou L, Che N, Hoo RL, Lee TK, Richard S, Lo CM, Man K, Khong PL, Ma S. CRAF methylation by PRMT6 regulates aerobic glycolysis driven hepatocarcinogenesis via ERK-dependent PKM2 nuclear relocalization and activation. Hepatology 2020 Apr;71(4):1279-1296. doi: 10.1002/hep.30923 (IF: 14.079)
  • Lee TH, Cheng KK, Hoo RL, Siu PM, Yau SY. The novel Perspectives of adipokines on brain health. Int J Mol Sci. 2019 Nov 11;20(22). pii: E5638. doi: 10.3390/ijms20225638. (IF: 4.183).
  • Pan Y, Hui X, Hoo RLC, Ye D, Chan CYC, Feng T, Wang Y, Lam KSL, Xu A. Adipocyte-secreted exosomal microRNA-34a inhibits M2 macrophage polarization to promote obesity-induced adipose inflammation. Clin Invest. 2019 Feb 1;129(2):834-849. doi: 10.1172/JCI123069 (IF: 13.251)
  • Shu L, Hoo RL (co-first and co-corresponding author), Wu X, Pan Y, Lee IP, Cheong L, Bornstein SR, Rong X, Guo J, Xu A. Adipocyte fatty acid binding protein mediates adaptive thermogenesis by promoting intracellular activation of thyroid hormones in brown adipocytes. Nat Commun 2017 January doi: 10.1038/ncomms14147 (IF:11.329)
  • Hoo RL (first and corresponding author), Shu L, Cheng KK, Wu X, Liao B, Wu D, Zhou Z, A Xu Adipocyte Fatty Acid Binding Protein Potentiates Toxic lipids-Induced Endoplasmic Reticulum Stress in Macrophages via Inhibition of Janus Kinase 2-dependent Autophagy. Sci Rep 2017 January doi: 10.1038/srep40657 (IF:5.228)
  • Zhou M, Bao Y, Li H, Pan Y, Shu L, Xia Z, Wu D, Lam KS, Vanhoutte PM, Xu A, Jia W, Hoo RL(corresponding author). Deficiency of adipocyte fatty-acid-binding protein alleviates myocardial ischaemia/reperfusion injury and diabetes-induced cardiac dysfunction. Clin Sci. 2015 Oct;129(7):547-59. doi: 10.1042/CS20150073. (IF:5.629)
  • Hoo RL, Lee IP, Zhou M, Wong JY, Hui X, Xu A, Lam KS. Pharmacological inhibition of adipocyte fatty acid binding protein alleviates both acute liver injury and non-alcoholic steatohepatitis in mice. J Hepatol. 2013 Feb;58(2):358-64. doi: 10.1016/j.jhep.2012.10.022. (IF:10.59)
  • Ye H, Zhang HJ, Xu A, Hoo RL (corresponding author). Resistin production from adipose tissue is decreased in db/db obese mice, and is reversed by rosiglitazone. PLoS One. 2013 Jun 12;8(6):e65543. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0065543. (IF:3.234)
  • Chen W, Hoo RL (co-first author), Konishi M, Itoh N, Lee PC, Ye HY, Lam KS, Xu A. Growth hormone induces hepatic production of fibroblast growth factor 21 through a mechanism dependent on lipolysis in adipocytes. J Biol Chem. 2011 Oct 7;286(40):34559-66. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M111.285965. (IF:4.573)
  • Hoo RL, Wong JY, Qiao C, Xu A, Xu H, Lam KS. The effective fraction isolated from Radix Astragali alleviates glucose intolerance, insulin resistance and hypertriglyceridemia in db/db diabetic mice through its anti-inflammatory activity. Nutr Metab (Lond). 2010 Aug 24;7:67. doi: 10.1186/1743-7075-7-67. (IF:3.28)
  • Hoo RL, Chow WS, Yau MH, Xu A, Tso AW, Tse HF, Fong CH, Tam S, Chan L, Lam KS. Adiponectin mediates the suppressive effect of rosiglitazone on plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 production. Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol. 2007 Dec;27(12):2777-82. (IF:7.5)
  • Yau SY, Li A, Hoo RL, Ching YP, Christie BR, Lee TM, Xu A, So KF. Physical exercise-induced hippocampal neurogenesis and antidepressant effects are mediated by the adipocyte hormone adiponectin. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2014 Nov 4;111(44):15810-5. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1415219111. (IF:9.423)
  • Kwok KH, Cheng KK, Hoo RL, Ye D, Xu A Lam KS. Adipose-Specific Inactivation of JNK Alleviates Atherosclerosis in ApoE-deficient Mice Clin Sci. 2016 Nov 1;130(22):2087-2100. (IF:5.629)
  • Li X, Cheng KK, Wang B, Liu Z, Hallenborg P, Hoo RL, Lam KS, Ikeda Y, Gao X, Xu A. The MDM2-p53-pyruvate carboxylase axis couples mitochondrial metabolism to glucose-stimulated insulin secretion in pancreatic β cells. Nature Communications. 2016 June doi:10.1038/ncomms11740. (IF:11.329)
  • Lin Z, Tian H, Lam KS, Lin S, Hoo RL, Konishi M, Itoh N, Wang Y, Bornstein SR, Xu A, Li X. Adiponectin mediates the metabolic effects of FGF21 on glucose homeostasis and insulin sensitivity in mice. Cell Metab. 2013 May 7;17(5):779-89. doi: 10.1016/j.cmet.2013.04.005. (IF: 17.565)
  • Lin Z, Tian H, Lam KS, Lin S, Hoo RL, Konishi M, Itoh N, Wang Y, Bornstein SR, Xu A, Li X. Adiponectin mediates the metabolic effects of FGF21 on glucose homeostasis and insulin sensitivity in mice. Cell Metab. 2013 May 7;17(5):779-89. doi: 10.1016/j.cmet.2013.04.005. (IF: 17.565)
  • Cheng KK, Lam KS, Wu D, Wang Y, Sweeney G, Hoo RL, Zhang J, Xu A. APPL1 potentiates insulin secretion in pancreatic β cells by enhancing protein kinase Akt-dependent expression of SNARE proteins in mice. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2012 Jun 5;109(23):8919-24. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1202435109. (IF:9.423)
  • Wong WT, Tian XY, Xu A, Yu J, Lau CW, Hoo RL, Wang Y, Lee VW, Lam KS, Vanhoutte PM, Huang Y. Adiponectin is required for PPARγ-mediated improvement of endothelial function in diabetic mice. Cell Metab. 2011 Jul 6;14(1):104-15. doi: 10.1016/j.cmet.2011.05.009. (IF: 17.565)

Grant Records 2013- present
  • Syndecan-4 (Sdc4) as a key regulator of white adipose tissue browning for energy expenditure (GRF; 17101819; HK$1,113,341 01/01/2020-31/12/2022)
  • Development and Preclinical Evaluation of a A-FABP Neutralizing Monoclonal Antibody for Ischemic Stroke Treatment. 基於A-FABP中和單克隆抗體的缺血性腦卒中治療藥物的研製與臨床前. (ITC-FASII; GHP/079/18SZ; HK $1,327,458; 01/09/2019-31/08/2021)
  • Mitochondrial protein Coiled-Coil-Helix-Coiled-coil-Helix Domain 10 (Chchd10) as a novel factor for the treatment of obesity and its related diseases. (HMRF; 06172646; HKD$ 982,396 1/6/2019-31/5/2021)
  • Neutrophil serine proteases as the endogenous suppressors of white adipose tissue browning and adaptive thermogenesis (RGC GRF; 17105318; HKD$ 775,343; 01/2019-12/2021)
  • A-FABP as a key mediator of cerebral ischemic stroke (Natural Science Foundation of China; 81770885; RMB$560,000 1/2018-12/2021
  • Deciphering the role of A-FABP in the regulation of fat tissue remodelling and expansion (Shenzhen Basic Research Grant; 201605303000678; RMB $300,000 1/1/2017-31/12/2019)
  • Conversion of white into brown adipocytes as a therapeutic strategy for obesity-related metabolic and vascular complications (CRF; C7037-17; HKD$ 7430000; 06/2018 – 06/2021 as Co-PI)
  • The oncogene MDM2 as a new mediator of obesity-induced nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (HMRF; 05161286; HKD$1191000; 04/2018-03/2020)
  • Adipocyte fatty acid binding protein (A-FABP) is a pathological mediator of obesity-related renal dysfunction.  (HMRF; 03143846; HKD $1,035,108; 1/6/2016-31/5/2018)
  • Adipocyte fatty acid binding protein (A-FABP) is a potential therapeutic target of both alcoholic and non-alcoholic steatohepatitis. (HMRF; 02131906; HKD $ 904736; 1/4/2015-30/9-2017)
  • Deciphering the central role of A-FABP in the regulation of adaptive thermogenesis in the brown adipose tissue (Shenzhen Basic Research grant; JCYJ20140903112959965; RMB$300,000: 1/1/2015- 31/12/2016)
  • Adipocyte fatty acid binding protein (A-FABP) as a potential mediator of cardiac dysfunction and heart failure related to diabetes and obesity. (RGC GRF; HKU767913, HKD $ 736,128; 1/2014-12/2016)
  • Deciphering the role of adipocyte fatty acid binding protein in the regulation of lipid-induced endoplasmic reticulum stress and inflammation in macrophage. (NSFC; 81270862, HKD $879200; 1/2013-12/2016)
  • Interplay between adipocyte fatty acid binding protein and endoplasmic reticulum stress in toxic lipids-induced inflammation in macrophages. (RGC GRF; HKU766812, HKD $750,000; 1/2013-12/2014)

Other Information
Current Team Members
  • Dr. Lingling SHU (Postdoctoral fellow)
  • Ms Amber Xiaoping WU (PhD candidate)
  • Ms Boya LIAO (PhD candidate) 
  • Ms Han QIU (PhD candidate)
  • Ms. Lufengzi YUAN (MPhil candidate)
  • Ms. Viola Zixuan ZHANG (Research Assistant)
Students Awards
  • Dr. Lingling SHU: First place in the best abstract in basic science & translational (oral presentation) at the 24th Medical Research Conference”, The University of Hong Kong, Jan 2019. Title: FABP4 mediates autoimmune diabetes through activation on macrophage and tissue resident memory T cells.
  • Ms Amber Xiaoping WU: Second place in “Best Abstract in Basic Science & Translational (Oral) at the 23rd Annual Medical Research Conference, The University of Hong Kong, Janurary 2017. Title: The role of adipocyte fatty acid binding protein in the pathogenesis of liver fibrosis.
  • Dr. Lingling SHU: Young Investigator Award in 10th International Symposium on Health and Aging, Hong Kong, March 2015.
  • Dr. Lingling SHU: First Runner-up in Best Oral Presentation at 13th Annual World Congress on Insulin Resistance, Diabetes and Cardiovascular Diseases in Los Angeles, America, Nov 2015.
Regular Student Consultation Hours
Every Monday at 5:00pm - 6:00pm
2/F, 21 Sassoon Road, Li Ka Shing Faculty of Medicine, Laboratory Block, Faculty of Medicine Building, Hong Kong SAR, China. Email: