PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR

Simon Yung Wa Sin

 

Assistant Professor
School of Biological Sciences

The University of Hong Kong
Email: sinyw(at)hku.hk

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I am a behavioural ecologist and evolutionary biologist. My research interests span the fields of molecular ecology, evolutionary biology and behavioural genomics. I received my BSc and MPhil degrees from the Chinese University of Hong Kong. I was awarded a Croucher Scholarship and joined the Wildlife Conservation Research Unit in the Zoology Department at the University of Oxford, where I completed my DPhil research. I was a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Organismic & Evolutionary Biology at Harvard University. In 2018 I joined the School of Biological Sciences at the University of Hong Kong.

POSTDOCTORAL RESEARCHERS

Fushi Ke
Postdoctoral Researcher

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I got my PhD degree in insect population genetics and genomics from the Fujian Agriculture and Forestry University (FAFU) with a focus on genetic differentiation of Plutella xylostella populations collected from local, regional and global scales. I also spent 17 months in the Department of Botany at the University of British Columbia during this period. I further did my first postdoc in plant (Primulina) population genomics and phylogenomics at the South China Botanical Garden, Chinese Academy of Science (SCBG, CAS), investigating evolutionary factors shaping genomic polymorphisms and differentiation. I am interested in understanding evolutionary forces shaping genomic variation and adaptation (e.g. ecological adaptation). I joined the Sin lab in 2021 to investigate the population and evolutionary genomics of animals, with a focus on the genetic basis of mating strategies.

ResearchGate

GRADUATE STUDENT

Guoling Chen

PhD Candidate

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My research interests fall into adaptation evolution, speciation and population genomics of animals. I received my BSc degree in Biological Sciences in South China Normal University, and MSc degree in Ecology in Sun Yat-sen University. Prior to my graduate study, I did some projects on phylogenetics, population genetics and DNA barcoding in birds and amphibians. I studied conservation genomics of the Chinese Crested Tern and Greater Crested Tern during my master period. This study is mainly focus on the genetic diversity, demographic history, hybridization and introgression of the critically endangered species. I joined the Sin lab in 2020 to study the co-evolution between host and pathogens.

ResearchGate

Jackie Ko

PhD Candidate

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I obtained my bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry and Cell Biology in Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST), with a minor in Environmental Sciences. Throughout my undergraduate study, I have been familiarized with molecular research by joining the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP). In which, I studied the genetic components behind physiological responses of plants under natural stimuli. After I graduated, I became interested in how animal behavior is affected by genetic factors as well. Now I am working on the genetic components of plumage color in birds.

Derek Lam

PhD Candidate

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I received my BSc degree in Cell & Molecular Biology in 2018 with the minor of Biology. I am very interested in understanding how life works in different aspects, ranging from molecular biology to behavioral ecology. It is very amazing to know how animal (including us) behaviors are controlled by genetic factors. My passion towards molecular biology deepened during my participation in the iGEM competition. Our project of influenza RNA detection by RNA switches won a gold model and was nominated for the best diagnostic method. I also did my research internship in the Plant Cell Biology Research Centre of the University of Melbourne. In addition, I took part in structural biology and plant cell biology projects throughout my undergraduate. Now my research project is to study the genetic basis of mate choice behaviors. Last but definitely not least, I am a big fan of traveling, diving, camping and nature!

Shengyu Wang
PhD Candidate

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I obtained my BSc in Biological Sciences at Northeast Forestry University, after which I went to the University of Helsinki for my MSc in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. My previous research has provided me with various experiences in genetics, evolution and bioinformatics, which also attracts me to explore further in the field of behavioural ecology. I love interacting with animals. Studying animal behaviour and how their behaviour evolves fascinate me deeply. Such a passion motivates me to study bird cognition, senses and communication in the Sin Lab, seeking to investigate how birds maximize their fitness through mental capacities and effective communication.

Xiaodong Wei
PhD Candidate

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I hold a BSc degree in Bioengineering from Shanghai Jiao Tong University and an MSc degree in Genetics and Molecular Biosciences from the University of Helsinki. My master's thesis project uses metagenomics on a large longitudinal infant cohort to explore the potential impact of infant gut microbiome metagenomes on infant development and health status. This project inspired my interests in studying genomics and genetics to understand species co-evolution. Thus, I further pursue my study in the Sin lab to investigate bat microbiome and genomics. This research project aims to explore the co-evolution between bats and their microbiome.

Alex Chan

MPhil Candidate

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I have always been fascinated and amazed by nature and wildlife and my obsession with birds germinated when I was first introduced to bird watching. I completed my BSc in Ecology and Biodiversity with a minor in Environmental Sciences at the University of Hong Kong. I joined the Sin Lab in 2018 and my scientific interests lie within molecular ecology and bird conservation. In 2019, I was granted the Summer Research Fellowship at HKU to study Parus species in Hong Kong. For my graduation thesis, I studied the diet of endangered birds using DNA metabarcoding. My current project aims to investigate resources and ecological niches partitioning between sympatric avian species using molecular approaches.

Kelvin Cheng
MPhil Candidate

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I received my BSc degree in Biology at the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK). Throughout my undergraduate study, I have been obsessed with herpetology after joining local conservation programs. For my final year project, I studied the dietary partitioning of tadpoles using DNA metabarcoding approach. After my graduation, I studied marine crustacean biodiversity in the coral community and freshwater invasive species using environment DNA (eDNA). I joined the Sin lab in 2022 and my current project is to investigate the impacts of flow regulation on ecosystem functioning and fauna connectivity in freshwater streams.

UNDERGRADUATE STUDENTS

Christy Hung
Undergraduate student

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I am a BSc student majoring in Ecology and Biodiversity. I love spending time with all kinds of animals and observing them. Observing animals brings me joy. My research interest lies in animal behavioural and conservation studies. Joining the Sin lab allows me to have a chance to study behaviours of birds and evolutionary relationship among them.

Kevin Lo
Undergraduate student

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I am a BSc student majoring in Ecology and Biodiversity at HKU. I have a wide interest in animals ranging from both marine and terrestrial taxa. Also, I am passionate about the studies of animal behaviours and conservation biology. I believe studies on animal behaviours are one of the best ways to learn more about different species. I joined the Sin lab as a student helper in 2022, and my research will focus on bird behaviours.

Cactus Tam
Undergraduate student

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Being a Molecular Biology & Biotechnology student and an animal lover, I am interested in studying the etiology and pathogenesis of animal diseases. I joined the Sin lab in 2022 to carry out my final year project focuses on pathogens detection in reptiles.

STAFF

Charis Chan

Technical Officer

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LAB ALUMNI

Graduate Students

Boyee Lee (MPhil, 2022)

David Chan (MPhil, 2021)

Undergraduate Students

FYP – Final Year Project. DS – Directed Study.

SRF – Summer Research Fellowship. ORF – Overseas Research Fellowship.

Yiu Siu (FYP, 2021-22)

Winson Tsang (FYP, 2021-22)

Yannes Choi (FYP, 2021-22)

Devin Wan (SRF, 2021)

Lucy Tsang (SRF, 2020; FYP, 2020-21)

Megan Low (SRF, 2020; FYP, 2020-21)

Andy Vu (ORF, 2019)

Ally Shum (DS, 2018-2019)
Chin Chin Fok (DS, 2018-2019)
Natural Leung (DS, 2018-2019)
Vivienne Ho (DS, 2018-2019)

Visiting Students/Student Internship

Ashley Li, University of Hong Kong (2021-22)

Karen Yeung, University of Hong Kong (2021-22)

Miranda Lam, Cambridge University (2021)

Priscilla Lau, Chinese University of Hong Kong (2019)

Hilary Ngai, University of California, Davis (2018)

Staff

David Chan (Research Assistant, 2021-22)

Pei-Yu Huang (Postdoc, 2019-22)

Stella Huynh (Postdoc, 2019-21)

Hon Shing Fung (Research Assistant, 2019-21)

Anson Wong (Research Assistant, 2019)