The University of Macau (UM) held a Doctor honoris causa Lecture today (19 December). Dennis Lo Yuk Ming, honorary doctor of UM, gave a talk titled ‘Pushing Forward the Frontiers of Prenatal and Cancer Liquid Biopsies’ to discuss the current and future developments of the field of liquid biopsy. The event attracted many experts, scholars, industry practitioners, researchers, as well as UM faculty members and students.

Chuxia Deng, dean of UM’s Faculty of Health Sciences, introduced Prof. Lo as a pioneer in non-invasive testing who developed a new prenatal testing technique by utilising the high concentration of foetal DNA in maternal plasma, achieving a breakthrough in the medical field. The new technique can replace the traditional invasive method of amniocentesis and provide safe and efficient prenatal testing for millions of pregnant women around the world. Prof. Lo even further applies the relevant technique to a new field—cancer screening. His groundbreaking innovations have made significant contributions to academia, industry, and society, and have been highly recognised and appreciated by people from different sectors of society.

During the talk, Prof. Lo introduced his innovative technique, liquid biopsy. Liquid biopsy is a technique for analysing cell-free DNA in blood plasma and is used as a non-invasive screening tool for foetal chromosomal abnormalities and single-gene disorders. He also explained how he and his team transformed this technique to develop a blood test that is effective in the early detection of multiple types of cancer. In addition, he discussed the process of developing the diagnostic technique, as well as the challenges involved in applying liquid biopsies to clinical practice and the subsequent impact. At the end of his talk, Prof. Lo encouraged students to broaden their knowledge. He emphasised that in addition to gaining knowledge from textbooks, students should engage with the world, communicate with others, and absorb knowledge from different fields. He also noted that it is inevitable for researchers to encounter countless failures before achieving significant research results, and the key to success lies in understanding the reasons behind those failures.

The talk provided an important learning and exchange platform for participants. It also stimulated students’ interest and passion for cutting-edge research areas and presented a model for research and technological innovations, thereby promoting academic innovation and the cultivation of technology talent in Macao.

Those attending the talk also included Cheong Chok Man, director of the Policy Research and Regional Development Bureau of the Macao SAR Government; Fong Wai Ieng, representative of Conde S Januário Hospital and chief of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology of the Health Bureau of Macao; Michael Hui and Rui Martins, vice rectors of UM; Katrina Cheong, director of the Communications Office of UM; and Tam Kwong Hang, vice president of the Macau University of Science and Technology.

Dennis Lo Yuk Ming

Group photo