Department of Pharmacology and Pharmacy, The University of Hong Kong

Professor George P.H. LEUNG 梁栢行


Associate Professor

Associate Head (Undergraduate Education)

  • BPharm, PhD

Professor 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 the pharmacology of traditional herbal medicine, especially for the treatment of age-related diseases, cancer and inflammation. He has published over 120 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.

Professor George Leung and his research team

Professor George Leung and his research team

Honours and Awards
  • Young Physiologist Scheme of the Physiological Society of UK (1999)
  • Teaching Medal, Faculty of Medicine, The University of Hong Kong (year 2009)
Memberships & Editorships


  • Registered Pharmacist in 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
  • Development of anti-aging, anti-cancer and cardiovascular protective agents from natural products
  • Physiology and pharmacology of nucleoside transporters and drug transporters in cardiovascular system
  • Regulation of ion channels in vascular smooth muscle cells and endothelial cells

Figure 2 FPMINTone of the most selective ENGeorge Pak Heng Leun

FPMINT-one of the most selective ENT2 inhibitor

Figure 3 Amauroderma rugosuma strong antioxGeorge Pak Heng Leun

Amauroderma rugosum-a strong antioxidant mushroom which can protect anticancer drug-induced heart damage

Figure 4 Ilexsaponin a natural product whicGeorge Pak Heng Leun

Ilexsaponin, a natural product which can inhibit angiogenesis in zebrafish model

Publications Highlights

Li R, Mak WWS, Li J, Zheng C, Shiu PHT, Seto SW, Lee SMY, Leung GPH. (2022). Structure-activity relationship studies of 4-((4-(2-fluorophenyl)piperazin-1-yl)methyl)-6-imino-N-(naphthalen-2-yl)- 1,3,5-triazin-2-amine (FPMINT) analogues as inhibitors of human equilibrative nucleoside transporters. Frontiers in Pharmacology 13:837555. Impact factor: 5.988

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

Li J, Li R, Wu X, Hoo RL, Lee SM, Cheung TM, Ho BS, Leung GPH. (2021). Amauroderma rugosum protects PC12 cells against 6-OHDA-induced neurotoxicity through antioxidant and antiapoptotic effects. Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity 6683270. Impact factor: 7.310

(Amauroderma rugosum is a rarely studied mushroom. This paper is about strong antioxidant effect of Amauroderma rugosum and its potential neuroprotective effect, which may be applicable in the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s disease.)

Shi J, Li J, Li J, Li R, Wu X, Gao F, Zou L, Mak WWS, Fu C, Zhang J, Leung GPH (2021). Synergistic breast cancer suppression efficacy of doxorubicin by combination with glycyrrhetinic acid as an angiogenesis inhibitor. Phytomedicine 153408. Impact factor: 6.656

(This paper is about a natural compound glycyrrhetinic acid can potentiate the anticancer effect of doxorubicin through its inhibitory effect on angiogenesis. It is suggested that glycyrrhetinic acid may serve as an adjunct in doxorubicin-based chemotherapy.)

Wong ESW, Li RWS, Li J, Li R, Seto SW, Lee SM, Leung GPH. (2021). Relaxation effect of narirutin on rat mesenteric arteries via nitric oxide release and activation of voltage-gated potassium channels. European Journal of Pharmacology 905: 174190. Impact factor: 5.195

(This paper is about the vasodilatory effect of a natural compound narirutin and its mechanism of action. The findings suggest the beneficial effect of citrus fruit in cardiovascular health.)

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: 10.334

(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.)

Selected Publications


  • Shiu PHT, Li J, Zheng C, Rangsinth P, Li R, Lam QTL, Lau AHY, Chan JCK, Kwan YW, Cheung TMY, Leung GPH. (2022). Amauroderma rugosum extract suppresses inflammatory responses in tumor necrosis factor -alpha/interferon gamma-induced HaCaT keratinocytes. Molecules, 27(19):6533. (impact factor: 4.927)

  • Cheng Y; Wu X, Nie X, Wu Y, Zhang C, Lee SMY, Lv K, Leung GPH, Fu C; Zhang J, Li J. (2022). Natural compound glycyrrhetinic acid protects against doxorubicin-induced cardiotoxicity by activating the Nrf2/HO-1 signaling pathway. Phytomedicine 106:154407. (impact factor: 6.656)

  • Li J, Cheng, Y, Li R, Wua X, Zheng C, Shiu PHT, Chan JCK, Rangsinth P, Liu C, Leung SWS, Lee SMY, Zhang C, Fu C, Zhang J, Cheung TMY, Leung GPH (2022). Protective effects of Amauroderma rugosum on doxorubicin-induced cardiotoxicity through suppressing oxidative stress, mitochondrial dysfunction, apoptosis, and activating Akt/mTOR and Nrf2/HO-1 signaling pathways. Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity 9266178. (impact factor: 7.310)

  • Liu Z, Wu X, Dai K, Li R, Zhang J, Sheng D, Lee SM, Leung GPH, Zhou GC, Li J. (2022). The new andrographolide derivative AGS-30 induces apoptosis in human colon cancer cells by activating a ROS-dependent JNK signalling pathway. Phytomedicine 94:153824. (impact factor: 6.656)

  • Luo YY, Li JJ, Hu YC, Gao F, Leung GPH, Geng F, Fu CM, Zhang JM (2020). Injectable thermo-responsive nano-hydrogel loading triptolide for the anti-breast cancer enhancement via localized treatment based on “two strikes” effects. Acta Pharmaceutica Sinica B 10(11); 2227-2245. (Impact factor: 14.907).

  • Zhang S, Lam KKH, Wan JH, Yip CW, Liu HKH, Lau QMN, Man AHY, Cheung CH, Wong LH, Chen HB, Shi J, Leung GPH; Lee CKF, Shi YG, Tan SCW, Zhang YB. (2020) Dietary Phytochemical Approaches to Stem Cell Regulation. Journal of Functional Foods 66: 103822. (impact factor: 5.233).

  • Li JJ, Tang F, Li R, Chen Z, Lee SMY, Fu C, Zhang J, Leung GPH. (2020). Dietary compound glycyrrhetinic acid suppresses tumor angiogenesis and growth by modulating anti-angiogenic and pro-apoptotic pathways in vitro and in vivo. Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry 146:104313. (impact factor: 6.117)

  • Li JJ, Li F, Tang F, Zhang J, Li R, Sheng D, Lee SMY, Zhou GC, Leung GPH. (2020). AGS-30, an andrographolide derivative, suppresses tumor angiogenesis and growth in vitro and in vivo. Biochemical Pharmacology. 113694. (impact factor: 6.100)

  • 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. (impact factor: 6.656).

  • Li S, Ai N, Shen M, Dang Y, Chong CM, Pan P, Kwan YW, Chan SW, Leung GPH, Hoi MPM, Hou T, Lee SM. (2017). Discovery of a ROCK inhibitor, FPND, which prevents cerebral hemorrhage through maintaining vascular integrity by interference with VE-cadherin. Cell Death Discovery 3:17051. (impact factor: 7.113).

  • Innovative Technology Fund (Partnership Research Programme): Pharmacological effects of cultivated Amauroderma rugosum of Hong Kong origin on aging-related diseases and identification of its active ingredients; $2,206,620 (May 2021 – Apr 2024)
  • 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, Institute of Chinese Medical Sciences, University of Macau , Macau
  • Prof Zhou Guo-Chun, School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Nanjing Tech University, Nanjing, China
  • Prof Zhang Jinming, College of Pharmacy, Chengdu University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Chengdu, China
  • Dr. Chung-Ming Tse, Division of Gastroenterology, Department of Medicine, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD, USA
  • Dr. Tewin Tencomnao, Department of Clinical Chemistry, Faculty of Allied Health Sciences, Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok 10330, Thailand
  • Dr. Jingjing Li, Department of Rehabilitation Sciences, Faculty of Health and Social Sciences, Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong
Current Group Members
  • Dr Panthakarn Rangsinth (Post-doctoral fellow)
  • Mr LI Renkai Ryan (PhD student)
  • Ms Chengwen Zheng (PhD student)
  • Ms Polly Ho-Ting Shiu (MPhil student)
  • Ms Wen Wang (MMedsc student)
  • Dr Jingjing Li (PhD 2021)
  • Mr Winston Wing Sum Mak (MPhil 2020)
  • Ms Yan Shenyu (MMedsc 2020)
  • Ms Leung Ka Yee (MMedsc 2020)
  • 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)
  • Dr YANG Cui (PhD 2010)
  • Ms LEUNG Chim Yan Idy (MPhil 2009)
  • Mr CHEUNG Hoi Tak (MMedSc 2008)
  • Dr LI Wai Sum Rachel (MPhil 2007; PhD 2010)
Graduates from Professor George Leung’s Lab

Graduates from Professor George Leung’s Lab