Team:Hong Kong HKUST/hp/interview/yu


Prof. Albert Yu


Professor Albert Yu is the chairman of the Hong Kong Biotechnology Organization (HKBIO), and also a professor of the Department of Neurobiology of Peking University, China. As an entrepreneur and a scientist, Prof. Yu gave us realistic insights to our project. Meeting Prof. Yu helped us to evaluate our project beyond the laboratory environment and to think about its possible future application as a biotechnology product. Towards the end of the interview, we also talked about the bioethics and biosafety issues regarding synthetic biology.

Main Discussion

Prof. Yu mentioned that our project is a small step and that we have a long way to go to apply our project as a commercial biotechnology product. He told us that because we are trying to insert genes into a human body, we need to be very careful with concluding how our project could be realistically applied in the future. Inserting genes into a human body can create novel metabolism properties that could lead to side effects. Also, because the general public considers obesity less harmful, people might be reluctant to sign up for invasive treatment if they believe a less invasive means such as exercising can solve the problem. He also encouraged us to look into other plant genes that could be used to cure fatal diseases.

We also discussed about issues on biosafety and bioethics. Prof. Yu said that we need to be responsible scientists and utilize research to improve human life. He also mentioned that to produce a bioproduct, it is very important to consider the ethical issues of the project from the very start.


The interview with Professor Albert Yu helped us to realize the social environment our project would encounter, and the barriers that come with it. The interview also showed that more in-depth consideration of our project’s future application is necessary if we want to see it utilized as a safe bioproduct.


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Prof. Yu's Interview Script (PDF)