Department of Pharmacology and Pharmacy, The University of Hong Kong

Dr. George P.H. LEUNG 梁栢行


Associate Professor

Associate Head (Undergraduate Education)

  • BPharm, PhD

Dr. George Leung obtained his bachelor degree of pharmacy from the Chinese University of Hong kong. He pursued his PhD at the Department of Physiology, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, followed by two years post-doctoral training at the Department of Medicine, The Johns Hopkins University. He joined the Department of Pharmacology and Pharmacy, The University of Hong Kong as the Research Assistant Professor in 2003. He is currently Associate Professor of the Department.

His research focuses on the nucleoside transporters and cardiovascular pharmacology. He is also interested in traditional herbal medicine. He has published over 80 full length papers in international scientific journals including British Journal of Pharmacology, European Journal of Pharmacology, Biochemical Pharmacology, American Journal of Physiology and Circulation Research. He was the recipient of the Young Physiologist Scheme of the Physiological Society of UK in 1999. He is currently the treasurer of the Asian Society for Vascular Biology. He also serves as the reviewers for journals such as Biochemical Pharmacology, Clinical & Experimental Pharmacology & Physiology and American Journal of Physiology.

Dr. George Leung and his research associates

Dr. George Leung and his research associates

Honours and Awards
  • Teaching Medal, Faculty of Medicine, The University of Hong Kong (year 2009)
Memberships & Editorships


  • Broad member of Pharmacy and Poison Board of Hong Kong
  • Chairman of Examination Committee, Pharmacy and Poison Board of Hong Kong
  • Treasurer of Asian Society for Vascular Biology
  • Council member of Institute of Cardiovascular Science and Medicine, HKU
  • Member of Research Centre of Heart, Brain, Hormone and Healthy Aging, HKU
  • Member of The American Physiological Society
  • Member of Hong Kong Pharmacology Society



  • Cardiology and Angiology: An International Journal
  • Cardiovascular Pharmacology: Open Access
  • International Journal of Pharmacological Sciences
  • Frontiers in Cardiovascular and Smooth Muscle Pharmacology

Research Interests
  • Physiology and pharmacology of nucleoside transporters and drug transporters in cardiovascular system
  • Development of anti-angiogenic agents and cardiovascular protective agents from natural products
  • Regulation of ion channels in vascular smooth muscle cells and endothelial cells
Research image
Research image
Research image

Publications Highlights

Li J, Wu Y, Wang D, Zou L, Fu C, Zhang J, Leung GPH (2019).
Oridonin synergistically enhances the anti-tumor efficacy of doxorubicin against aggressive breast cancer via pro-apoptotic and anti-angiogenic effects. Pharmacological Research. 146:104313. Impact factor: 5.574

This paper is about how Oridonin, a natural product commonly found in Traditional Chinese Medicine, can enhance the anti-tumor effect of doxorubicin. The mechanism may involve its pro-apoptotic and anti-angiogenic effects. The findings can be implicated in cancer therapy. Doxorubicin is known to be toxic to the heart. It is proposed that oridonin may serve as an adjunct in doxorubicin-based chemotherapy and reduce the dosage of doxorubicin, hence lowering its toxicity.

Philip CT. Tang, Yang C, Li RWS, Lee SMY, Hoi MP, Chan SW, Kwan YW, Tse CM, Leung GPH (2016).
Inhibition of human equilibrative nucleoside transporters by 4-((4-(2-fluorophenyl)piperazin-1-yl)methyl)-6-imino-N-(naphthalen-2-yl)-1,3,5-triazin-2-amine. (2016). European Journal of Pharmacology 791:544-551. Impact factor: 2.684

This paper is about the discovery of the chemical FPMINT by our laboratory and its characteristics in the inhibition of equilibrative nucleoside transporters (ENT). FPMINT is currently the most selective ENT-2inhibitor in the world. 

Li RWS, Yang C, Sit ASM, Kwan YW, Lee SMY, Hoi MPM, Chan SW, Hausman M, Vanhoutte PM, Leung GPH (2014).
Uptake and protective effects of ergothioneine in human endothelial cells. Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics 350(3):691-700. Impact factor: 3.891

This paper reports the potential protective effect of ergothioneine, which is a chemical abundant in mushroom, on blood vessel. The experimental findings show that ergothioneine can produce potent antioxidant effect and preserve endothelial cell functions in oxidative stress and diabetic conditions. 

Leung GPH, Tse CM & Man RYK (2007).
Characterization of adenosine transport in H9c2 cardiomyoblasts. International Journal of Cardiology 116: 186-93. Impact factor: 7.708

This papers is about the characterization of adenosine transport system in H9C2 cardiomyoblasts, which are commonly used as a cell model of heart. The exceptionally high expression level of ENT-2 in H9c2 cells raises questions regarding the use of H9c2 cells as a model for physiological adenosine activity in the heart. Furthermore, this study may form the basis for further investigation into the effect of cell differentiation and protein kinases on the regulation of nucleoside transporters.

Leung GPH, Man RYK & Tse CM (2005).
Effect of Thiazolidinediones on Equilibrative Nucleoside Transporter-1 in Human Aortic Smooth Muscle Cells. Biochemical Pharmacology 70: 355-62. Impact factor: 4.705

 This paper reports the effect of thiazolidinediones, which are anti-diabetic agents, on ENT1. The experimental findings suggest that one of the thiazolidinediones troglitazone may enhance the vasodilatory effect of adenosine by inhibiting ENT1. Troglitazone may serve as a lead compound for the development of a novel inhibitor of ENT1


Selected Publications


  • Li J, Zhang J, Zou L,Lee SMY⁠, Yang C, Seto SW, Leung GPH (2017). Pro-angiogenic effects of Ilexsaponin A1 on Human umbilical vein endothelial cells in vitro and zebrafish in vivo. Phytomedicine 36:229-237.

  • Li RWS, Cheung AC, Cheung KH, Shan L, Zhang Z, Wang Y, Yang C, Kwan YW, Lee SMY, Hoi MPM, Chan SW, Leung GPH (2015). Relaxation effect of a novel danshensu/tetramethylpyrazine derivative on rat mesenteric arteries. European Journal of Pharmacology 761:153-160.

  • Li RWS, Yang C, Chan SW, Hoi MPM, Lee SMY, Kwan YW, Leung GPH (2014). Relaxation effect of abacavir on rat basilar arteries. PLOS One 10(4):e0123043.

  • Yang C, Yang J, Xu X, Yan S, Pan S, Pan X, Zhang C, Leung GPH (2014).Vasodilatory effect of 14,15-epoxyeicosatrienoic on mesenteric arteries in hypertensive and aged rats. Prostaglandins and Other Lipid Mediators 112:1-8.

  • Li RWS, Yang C, Kwan YW, Chan SW, Lee SMY, Leung GPH (2013) Involvement of organic cation transporter-3 and plasma membrane monoamine transporter in serotonin uptake in human brain vascular smooth muscle cells. Frontiers in Pharmacology Cardiovascular and Smooth Muscle Pharmacology, 4:14.

  • Li RWS, Yang C, Sit ASM, Lin SYT, Ho EYW & Leung GPH (2012). Physiological and Pharmacological roles of vascular nucleoside transporters. Journal of Cardiovascular Pharmacology 59:10-5.

  • Yang C, Kwan YW, Au AL, Poon CC, Zhang Q, Chan SW, Lee SM & Leung GPH (2010). 14,15-Epoxyeicosatrienoic acid induces vasorelaxation through the prostaglandin EP(2) receptors in rat mesenteric artery. Prostaglandins and Other Lipid Mediator 93:44-51.

  • Li RWS, Seto SW, Au ALS, Kwan YW, Tse CM, & Leung GPH (2009). Inhibitory effect of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs on adenosine transport in vascular smooth muscle cells. European Journal of Pharmacology 612: 15-20.

  • Yang C, Kwan YW, Seto SW & Leung GPH (2008). Inhibitory effects of epoxyeicosatrienoic acids on volume-activated chloride channels in rat mesenteric arterial smooth muscle. Prostaglandins and Other Lipid Mediator 87: 62-7.

  • Li RWS, Man RYK, Vanhoutte PM & Leung GPH (2008). Stimulation of ecto-5'nucleotidase in human umbilical vein endothelial cells by lipopolysaccharide. American Journal of Physiology Heart and Circulation Physiology 295:H1177-81.

  • Li RWS, Tse CM, Man RYK, Vanhoutte PM & Leung GPH (2007). Inhibition of human equilibrative nucleoside transporters by dihydropyridine-type calcium channel antagonists. European Journal of Pharmacology 568: 75-82.

  • Leung GPH, Man RYK & Tse CM (2005). D-Glucose up-regulates adenosine transport in cultured human aortic smooth muscle cells. American Journal of Physiology Heart Circulation Physiology 288, H2756-62. 

  • General research fund, RGC: Role of equilibrative nucleoside transporter-4 in the cardioprotection against ischemia-reperfusion injury in diabetes mellitus; $745,414 (Jan 2018 to Dec 2020)
  • General research fund, RGC: Development of novel equilibrative nucleoside transporter-2 inhibitor and its application in studying the functions of equilibrative nucleoside transporter-2 in skeletal muscle; $573,420 (Jun 2016 to May 2018)
  • Health and Medical Research Fund: Pleurotus ostreatus (Oyster mushroom) rescues doxorubicin-induced cardiotoxicity; $1,023,296 (Apr 2016 to Mar 2018)
  • General research fund, RGC: Protective effect of ergothioneine on endothelial cell function against oxidative stress; $840,940 (Nov 2010 to Oct 2012)
  • General research fund, RGC: Abacavir, an antiviral nucleoside analogue, increases the risk of cardiovascular events by causing endothelial dysfunction; $755,760 (Jul 2009 to Oct 2012)
  • General research fund, RGC: Nimodipine suppresses chemokine release via inhibition of adenosine uptake in endothelial cells; $954,000 (Dec 2007 to May 2010) 

Other Information
My Collaborators
  • Prof. Y.W. Kwan, Department of Pharmacology, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong
  • Prof. Simon M.Y. Lee and Dr. Maggie PM Hoi, Institute of Chinese Medical Sciences, University of Macau , Macau
  • Dr. Chung-Ming Tse, Division of Gastroenterology, Department of Medicine, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD, USA
  • Dr YB Zhang, School of Chinese Medicine, The University of Hong Kong
Current Group Members
  • Mr LI Jingjing Kim (PhD student)
  • Mr LI Renkai Ryan (PhD student)
  • Mr MAK Wing Shum Winston (MPhil student)
  • Mr TANG Chiu Tsun Philip (MPhil 2016)   
  • Mr CHEUNG Chun (MPhil 2014)    
  • Ms ZHOU Tianjiao (MMedSc 2012)
  • Ms LING Yuen Ting (MPhil 2012)   
  • Mr SIT Sai Man Albert (MPhil 2011)           
  • Mr YANG Cui (PhD 2010)   
  • Ms LEUNG Chim Yan Idy (MPhil 2009)
  • Mr CHEUNG Hoi Tak (MMedSc 2008)       
  • Ms LI Wai Sum Rachel (MPhil 2007; PhD 2010)
Graduates from Dr George Leung’s Lab

Graduates from Dr George Leung’s Lab

Regular Student Consultation Hours
Every Friday 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.