Dr. KWOK Chun Kit (郭駿傑)

PhD (Pennsylvania State University); Postdoc (University of Cambridge)

Visiting address
Phone: +852 34426858

Author IDs

Willing to take PhD students: yes
Willing to talk to media: yes


Dr. Kit Kwok obtained his B.Sc. in Chemistry (2009) from the Chinese University of Hong Kong, after completing an exchange program at University of California, Los Angeles in 2007-2008. He completed his PhD in Pennsylvania State University (2014), mentored by Professor Philip C. Bevilacqua and Professor Sarah M. Assmann.In Apr 2014, Dr. Kwok worked as a Croucher Postdoctoral Fellow in University of Cambridge under Professor Sir Shankar Balasubramanian. In Oct 2016, Dr. Kwok's joined the City University of Hong Kong as an Assistant professor and has been promoted to Associate professor in July 2021. In 2019, he was one of the recipients of the CityU President Award and Croucher Innovation Award. In 2020, Dr. Kwok's joined the State Key Laboratory of Marine Pollution, City University of Hong Kong.

Dr. Kwok’s current research focus is to explore the role of RNA structures and interactions in biology, especially the functions of G-quadruplex structures/interactions and non-coding RNA structures/interactions in the mammalian transcriptome and their relevance to gene regulation, RNA metabolism and diseases. Two new research directions in the Kwok lab are to develop targeting tools for detection, imaging, intervention of these important RNA structures and interactions, as well as to invent innovative nucleic acid-based technologies for sensing chemical pollutants and biological toxins.

To cultivate a stimulating learning environment for students and to establish RNA community in Hong Kong, Dr. Kwok, together with Dr. Minh Le, has founded the Hong Kong RNA Club in Aug 2017 and organized RNA seminar and symposium events regularly. (http://www.kitkwok.com/hk-rna-club.html) 

Research Interests/Areas

  • RNA Biology
  • Chemical Biology
  • Nucleic Acids 
  • G-Quadruplex
  • Gene Regulation
  • Aptamer


Research Vision

The discovery of new classes of RNA with regulatory functions have challenged the central dogma of molecular biology and caused a paradigm shift in biological, medical, and agricultural research. RNA plays a crucial role in regulation of gene expression in normal and stress physiology; however, the RNA structure-function relationship and the underlying biochemical mechanism remain elusive. My research focus is to develop biochemical technologies to decipher the hidden layers of information in RNA such as RNA structure; identify the RNA binding partners and molecular basis of interactions; and elucidate the mechanistic roles of RNA in regulatory pathways, stress physiologies, cell differentiation/organism development, as well as disease pathology. My long-term ambition is to uncover the central RNA players in stress physiologies and diseases that could reveal novel RNA-mediated gene regulations, as well as to develop targeting strategies via chemical, aptamer and CRISPR approaches for manipulation of gene expression and potential biotechnological applications, bringing my research closer relevance to improving the quality of human life.


Selected Publications

*co-first authors          +corresponding author(s)

      Original Research

  • Ji, D., Lyu, K., Zhao, H. & +Kwok, C.K. Circular L-RNA aptamer promotes target recognition and controls gene activity. Nucleic Acids Res. 49, 7280-7291 (2021).
  • Umar, M.I. & +Kwok, C.K. Specific suppression of D-RNA G-quadruplex-protein interaction with an L-RNA aptamer. Nucleic Acids Res. 48, 10125-10141 (2020).
  • Yang, X., Cheema, J., Zhang, Y., Deng, H., Duncan, S., Umar, M. I., Zhao, J., Liu, Q., Cao, X., Kwok, C. K. & Ding, Y. RNA G-quadruplex structures exist and function in vivo in plants. Genome Biol 21, 226 (2020).
  • Chan, C. Y. & +Kwok, C. K. Specific Binding of a D-RNA G-Quadruplex Structure with an L-RNA Aptamer. Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 59, 5293 –5297 (2020).
  • Lyu, K., Chen, S. B., Chan, C. Y., Tan, J. H. & +Kwok, C. K. Structural analysis and cellular visualization of APP RNA G-quadruplex. Chemical Science. 10, 11095 - 11102 (2019).
  • Kwok, CK., Marsico, G., Sahakyan, A., Chambers V.S., Balasubramanian, S. rG4-Seq Reveals Widespread Formation of G-Quadruplex Structures in the Human Transcriptome. Nat. Methods13, 841-844 (2016).
  • Kwok, CK., Sahakyan, A., Balasubramanian, S. Structural Analysis using SHALiPE to Reveal RNA G-Quadruplex Formation in Human Precursor MicroRNA. Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 55, 8958-8961 (2016).
  • Ding, Y., *Kwok, CK., Tang, Y., Bevilacqua, P.C., & Assmann, S.M. Structure-Seq: Genome-Wide Profiling of In Vivo RNA Structure at Single Nucleotide Resolution. Nat. Protoc. 10 1050-1066 (2015).
  • Kwok, CK., & Balasubramanian, S. Targeted Detection of G-Quadruplexes in Cellular RNAs. Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 54, 6751-6754 (2015).
  • Ding, Y., Tang, Y., *Kwok, CK., Zhang, Y., Bevilacqua, P.C., & Assmann, S.M. In Vivo Genome-Wide Profiling of RNA Secondary Structures Reveal Novel Regulatory Features. Nature. 505, 696-700 (2014)

       Invited Reviews or Featured Articles

  • Lyu, K., Chow, E.Y.C., Mou, X., Chan, T. & +Kwok, C.K. RNA G-quadruplexes (rG4s): genomics and biological functions. Nucleic Acids Res. 49, 5426-5450 (2021).
  • Zhao, H. & +Kwok, C.K. Bringing distant DNA together. Nature Chem. Bio. 17, 125-126 (2021).
  • Umar, M.I.; Ji, D.; Chan, C.-Y.; +Kwok, C.K . G-Quadruplex-Based Fluorescent Turn-On Ligands and Aptamers: From Development to Applications. Molecules 24, 2416 (2019).
  • Qian, X., Zhao, J., Yeung, P.Y., Zhang, Q.F.C., +Kwok, C.K., Revealing LncRNA Structures and Interactions by sequencing-based approaches. Trends Biochem. Sci. 44, 33-52 (2019).
  • +Ding, Y., + Kwok, CK . Emergence of Vascular Plants. Nature Plants 4, 325–326 (2018).