Paul K S Lam

City University of Hong Kong, Chiu-lung, Kowloon City, Hong Kong

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Publications (333)940.26 Total impact

  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Tris(1,3-dichloro-2-propyl) phosphate (TDCPP) is an organophosphate flame retardant that is detectable in the environment and biota, prompting concern over its risk to wildlife and human health. Our objective was to investigate whether long-term exposure to low concentrations of TDCPP can affect fish reproduction. Zebrafish embryos were exposed to low concentrations (0, 4, 20 and 100 μg/L) of TDCPP from 2 h post-fertilization until sexual maturation. Exposure to TDCPP significantly increased plasma estradiol and testosterone levels in females, but had no effect in males. TDCPP exposure also caused a significant reduction in fecundity as indicated by decreased egg production. Real-time PCR was performed to examine selected genes in the hypothalamic–pituitary–gonadal (HPG) axis and liver. Principle component analysis (PCA) showed that sex hormone levels and fecundity were related to the mRNA level of several genes in the HPG axis. Furthermore, hepatic vitellogenin (vtg1 and vtg3) expression was upregulated in both females and males, suggesting TDCPP has estrogenic activity. Histological examination revealed promotion of oocyte maturation in the females, but retardation of spermiation in males. Reduced egg quality (e.g., egg diameter) and increased malformation rates were observed in the F1 generation. Chemical analysis showed significant levels of TDCPP and its metabolite bis(1,3-dichloro-2-propyl) phosphate in the gonads of males and females. In conclusion, long-term exposure to low concentrations of TDCPP impairs fish reproduction.
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    Xian-Jin Lyu, Wen-Wei Li, Paul K. S. Lam, Han-Qing Yu
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    ABSTRACT: Photodegradation in the absence of externally added chemicals could be an attractive solution for the removal of perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) in aqueous environment, but the low decomposition rate presents a severe challenge and the underlying mechanisms are unclear. In this study, we demonstrated that PFOS could be effectively degraded in a catalyst-free aqueous solution via a reduction route. Under appropriate pH and temperature conditions, a rapid PFOS photodegradation, with a pseudo-first-order decomposition rate constant of 0.91 h(-1), was achieved. In addition, hydrated electrons were considered to be the major photo-generated reductive species responsible for PFOS photodegradation in this system. Its production and reduction ability could be significantly affected by the environmental conditions such as pH, temperature and presence of oxidative species. This study gives insights into the PFOS photodegradation process and may provide useful information for developing catalyst-free photodegradation systems for decomposing PFOS and other persistent water contaminants.
    Scientific Reports 03/2015; 5. DOI:10.1038/srep09353 · 5.08 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Concentrations of 23 per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs), including new classes of PFASs, in seawater samples were investigated for their occurrence and the interaction of the ocean currents with the distribution of PFASs in the South China Sea. This study revealed that socio-economic development was associated with the PFAS contamination in coastal regions of South China. Significant correlations between concentration of total PFASs with gross domestic product (GDP) per capita and population density were found in the areas, suggesting that the influence of intense human activities in these areas may have resulted in higher PFAS contamination to the adjacent environment. Di-substituted polyfluoroalkyl phosphate (diPAP), one of the potential replacements for PFASs, was only detected in the heavily developed region, namely Pearl River Delta (PRD). Total PFAS concentrations, ranging from 195 to 4925 pg/L, were detected at 51 sampling stations of the South China Sea. The results also confirmed that PFAS contamination in the South China Sea is strongly affected by the ocean currents. In comparison to perfluoroactane sulfonate (PFOS) concentrations measured nine years ago at the same locations, the concentrations in this study were found to be two times higher. This indicated that the use and production of perfluoroalkyl sulfonates (PFSAs) has been continuing in the region.
    Journal of Hazardous Materials 03/2015; 285. DOI:10.1016/j.jhazmat.2014.10.065 · 4.33 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: A multiple-year emission inventory of As, Cd, Hg, and Pb from brick making plants in China has been first established for the period 2008-2013 by employing the available emission factors and annual activity data. The atmospheric emissions of toxic elements were determined by a bottom-up methodology with the provincial-level statistical data on raw materials (coal, coal gangue, coal ash and clay) consumption and the reasonable emission factors of toxic elements. The provincial average concentrations of toxic elements in different raw materials were elaborately reviewed and calculated with multiple statistical mean calculation methods. Simulation experiments were performed to determine the emission factors of toxic elements from different raw materials. The results show that the total national emissions of As, Cd, Hg, and Pb from brick-making plants have been increasing to 644.05 t, 94.96 t, 9.71 t, and 3269.79 t in 2013, at an annual average growth rate of 22.8%, 25.6%, 19.2%, and 24.6% due to the lack of atmospheric pollutant control devices, respectively, which are higher than that of emissions from coal-fired plants (except for Hg) in China. Coal ash is the main source of As, Cd, and Pb emissions, accounting for 87.9%, 89.5%, and 88.4% of the respective total emissions due to the high consumption with high concentration and emission factor of TE. Shandong, Henan, Hubei, Hunan, Sichuan and Guangxi are the largest emitting provinces. Advanced technologies and integrated countermeasures to control toxic elements from brick making plants are urgently needed.
    RSC Advances 01/2015; 5(19):14497-14505. DOI:10.1039/C4RA14443K · 3.71 Impact Factor
  • Chuncai Zhou, Guijian Liu, Ting Fang, Paul Kwan Sing Lam
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    ABSTRACT: The thermochemical behaviors during co-combustion of coal gangue (CG), soybean stalk (SS), sawdust (SD) and their blends prepared at different ratios have been determined via thermogravimetric analysis. The simulate experiments in a fixed bed reactor were performed to investigate the partition behaviors of trace elements during co-combustion. The combustion profiles of biomass was more complicated than that of coal gangue. Ignition property and thermal reactivity of coal gangue could be enhanced by the addition of biomass. No interactions were observed between coal gangue and biomass during co-combustion. The volatilization ratios of trace elements decrease with the increasing proportions of biomass in the blends during co-combustion. Based on the results of heating value, activation energy, base/acid ratio and gaseous pollutant emissions, the blending ratio of 20-30% biomass content is regarded as optimum composition for blending and could be applied directly at current combustion application with few modifications. Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
    Bioresource Technology 11/2014; 175C:454-462. DOI:10.1016/j.biortech.2014.10.129 · 5.04 Impact Factor
  • Chuncai Zhou, Guijian Liu, Ting Fang, Dun Wu, Paul Kwan Sing Lam
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    ABSTRACT: A study on toxic elements behaviors from a 330 MW coal gangue circulated fluidized bed co-combustion power plant equipped with electrostatic precipitators (ESPs) was performed. Simultaneous sampling of feed coal, bottom ash, fly ash and flue gas were implemented. Sequential chemical extraction was taken to investigate the transformation behaviors of toxic elements. The relative distribution and partitioning behavior of toxic elements in the power plants were analyzed systemically. The toxic elements can be divided into two groups, Cluster one, whereby high volatile tendencies are represented by As, Cd, Cu, Pb, Se and Sn which have a volatilization ratio more than 20% and are mainly enriched in fly ash. These elements are primarily associated with sulfide minerals. Cluster two, represented by Co, Cr, Mn and V, have low volatilization rate (⩽5%) and are equally distributed between bottom ash and fly ash. In addition, Bi, Ni and Zn may be located between Cluster one and Cluster two. The variation of modes of occurrence of toxic elements could lead to the difference of transformation behaviors during the combustion of feed coal. Most toxic elements transformed and partitioned into other fractions from Fe–Mn oxides during combustion.
    Fuel 11/2014; 135:1–8. DOI:10.1016/j.fuel.2014.06.034 · 3.41 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The tropical green-lipped mussel Perna viridis is a common biomonitor throughout the Indo-Pacific region that is used for environmental monitoring and ecotoxicological investigations. However, there is limited molecular data available regarding this species. We sought to establish a global transcriptome database from the tissues of adductor muscle, gills and the hepatopancreas of P. viridis in an effort to advance our understanding of the molecular aspects involved during specific toxicity responses in this sentinel species.
    BMC Genomics 09/2014; 15(1):804. DOI:10.1186/1471-2164-15-804 · 4.04 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Organic UV filters are common ingredients of personal care products (PCPs), but little is known about their distribution in and potential impacts to the marine environment. This study reports the occurrence and risk assessment of twelve widely used organic UV filters in surface water collected in eight cities in four countries (China, the United States, Japan, and Thailand) and the North American Arctic. The number of compounds detected, Hong Kong (12), Tokyo (9), Bangkok (9), New York (8), Los Angeles (8), Arctic (6), Shantou (5) and Chaozhou (5), generally increased with population density. Median concentrations of all detectable UV filters were <250 ng/L. The presence of these compounds in the Arctic is likely due to a combination of inadequate wastewater treatment and long-range oceanic transport. Principal component analysis (PCA) and two-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) were conducted to explore spatiotemporal patterns and difference in organic UV filter levels in Hong Kong. In general, spatial patterns varied with sampling month and all compounds showed higher concentrations in the wet season except benzophenone-4 (BP-4). Probabilistic risk assessment showed that 4-methylbenzylidene camphor (4-MBC) posed greater risk to algae, while benzophenone-3 (BP-3) and ethylhexyl methoxycinnamate (EHMC) were more likely to pose a risk to fishes and also posed high risk of bleaching in hard corals in aquatic recreational areas in Hong Kong. This study is the first to report the occurrence of organic UV filters in the Arctic and provides a wider assessment of their potential negative impacts in the marine environment.
    Water Research 09/2014; 67C:55-65. DOI:10.1016/j.watres.2014.09.013 · 5.32 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: An investigation focused on the transformation and distribution behaviors of trace elements and natural radionuclides around a coal gangue brick plant was conducted. Simultaneous sampling of coal gangue, brick, fly ash and flue gas were implemented. Soil, soybean and earthworm samples around the brick plant were also collected for comprehensive ecological assessment. During the firing process, trace elements were released and redistributed in the brick, fly ash and the flue gas. Elements can be divided into two groups according to their releasing characteristics, high volatile elements (release ratio higher than 30%) are represented by Cd, Cu, Hg, Pb, Se and Sn, which emitted mainly in flue gas that would travel and deposit at the northeast and southwest direction around the brick plant. Cadmium, Ni and Pb are bio-accumulated in the soybean grown on the study area, which indicates potential health impacts in case of human consumption. The high activity of natural radionuclides in the atmosphere around the plant as well as in the made-up bricks will increase the health risk of respiratory system.
    Scientific Reports 08/2014; 4:6221. DOI:10.1038/srep06221 · 5.08 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Pharmaceuticals have recently been regarded as contaminants of emerging concern. To date, there is limited knowledge about antibiotic-degrading microorganisms in conventional activated sludge treatment systems and their characteristics toward antibiotic degradation especially in the presence of a pharmaceutical mixture. As such, antibiotic-degrading microorganisms were investigated and isolated from the activated sludge, and their degradation capabilities were evaluated. Two strains of cefalexin-degrading bacteria CE21 and CE22 were isolated and identified as Pseudomonas sp. in the collected activated sludge. Strain CE22 was able to degrade over 90% of cefalexin, while CE21 was able to remove 46.7% of cefalexin after incubation for 24h. The removal efficiency of cefalexin by CE22, different from that of CE21, was not significantly affected by an increase in cefalexin concentration, even up to 10ppm, however the presence of 1ppm of other pharmaceuticals had a significant effect on the degradation of cefalexin by CE22, but no significant effect on CE21. The degradation product of cefalexin by the two strains was identified to be 2-hydroxy-3-phenyl pyrazine. Our results also indicated that CE21 and CE22 were able to degrade caffeine, salicylic acid and chloramphenicol. Moreover, CE21 was found to be capable of eliminating sulfamethoxazole and naproxen.
    Journal of Hazardous Materials 07/2014; 282. DOI:10.1016/j.jhazmat.2014.06.080 · 4.33 Impact Factor
  • Atmospheric Pollution Research 07/2014; 5(3). DOI:10.5094/APR.2014.056 · 1.23 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The thermal decomposition behavior of coal gangue, peanut shell, wheat straw and their blends during combustion were determined via thermogravimetric analysis. The coal gangue/agricultural biomass blends were prepared in four weight ratios and oxidized under dynamic conditions from room temperature to 1000°C by various heating rates. Kinetic models were carried out to evaluate the thermal reactivity. The overall mass balance was performed to assess the partition behavior of coal gangue, peanut shell and their blends during combustion in a fixed bed reactor. The decomposition processes of agricultural biomass included evaporation, release of volatile matter and combustion as well as char oxidation. The thermal reactivity of coal gangue could be improved through the addition of agricultural biomass in suitable proportion and subsequent appropriate heating rate during combustion. In combination with the heating value and base/acid ratio limitations, a blending ratio of 30% agricultural biomass is conservatively selected as optimum blending.
    Bioresource Technology 05/2014; 166C:243-251. DOI:10.1016/j.biortech.2014.05.076 · 5.04 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Coal mining area is highly subject to lead (Pb) pollution from coal mining activities. Several decades of coal mining and processing practices in dozens of coal mines in the Huainan Coal Mining Area (HCMA) have led to the accumulation of massive amounts of coal gangue, which piled in dumps. In order to investigate the impacts of coal gangue dumps on Pb level in the supergene media of the HCMA, a systematic sampling campaign comprising coal gangue, soil, wheat, and earthworm samples was conducted. The average Pb content in the coal mining area soil is 24 mg/kg, which is slightly higher than the associated coal gangues (23 mg/kg) and markedly higher than reference region soil (12.6 mg/kg). Soil in the HCMA present a slight to moderate Pb contamination, which might be related to the weathering and leaching of coal gangue dumps. Lateral distribution of Pb in HCMA soil differed among individual coal mines. The soil profile distribution of Pb depends on both natural and anthropogenic contributions. Average Pb content is higher in roots than in stems, leaves, and wheat husks, while the Pb level in seeds exceeded the maximum Pb allowance for foods (Maximum Levels of Contaminants in Foods of China, GB 2762-2012). Earthworms in the selected area are significantly enriched in Pb, suggesting higher bio-available Pb level in soil in the HCMA.
    Environmental Monitoring and Assessment 04/2014; 186(8). DOI:10.1007/s10661-014-3735-4 · 1.68 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Phosphorous is an essential element for living organisms and exist in water bodies as dissolved and particulate forms. Eutrophication of water bodies is often correlated with phosphorous loading into the environment and aquaculture has been identified as one of the sources of phosphorus pollution. This review paper reveals that feed fines, uneaten food, faeces, dead fish and excretion are some of the important pathways of phosphorus loss from aquaculture. This paper suggests ways of overcoming phosphorus pollution from aquaculture such as avoiding over feeding and adjusting feed amount and frequency to the temperature.
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    ABSTRACT: The present study investigated the composition profiles and levels of polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) and five PBDE alternatives in the blubber of two species of marine mammals, Indo-Pacific humpback dolphins (Sousa chinensis) and finless porpoises (Neophocaena phocaenoides) from the South China Sea. Despite the fact that PBDEs were the most predominant brominated flame retardants in the samples analyzed, decabromodiphenyl ethane (DBDPE), 1,2-bis (2,4,6-tribromophenoxy) ethane (BTBPE), bis- (2-ethylhexyl) -tetrabromophthalate (TBPH), 2-ethylhexyl 2,3,4,5-tetrabromobenzoate (TBB) and Dechlorane Plus (DP) were all detected in both cetacean species. In addition, significantly increasing temporal shifting trends of Deca-BDE to DBDPE, Octa-BDE to BTBPE, and Deca-BDE to DP were observed in porpoise samples between 2003 and 2012 and dolphin samples between 2003 and 2011. These patterns may be attributed to the replacement of PBDEs by alternative halogenated flame retardants (HFRs) and the increasing usage of these alternatives following the restriction/voluntary withdrawal of the production and use of PBDE commercial mixtures. Our findings suggest that the study region may be a source of contamination by PBDE alternative flame retardants due to the high detection frequencies and levels of these compounds in marine mammals.
    Environment international 02/2014; 66C:65-70. DOI:10.1016/j.envint.2014.01.023 · 5.66 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Organic ultraviolet (UV) filters are applied widely in personal care products (PCPs), but the distribution and risks of these compounds in the marine environment are not well known. In this study, the occurrence and removal efficiencies of 12 organic UV filters in five wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) equipped with different treatment levels in Hong Kong, South China, were investigated during one year and a preliminary environmental risk assessment was carried out. Using a newly developed simultaneous multiclass quantification liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) method, butyl methoxydibenzoylmethane (BMDM), 2,4-dihydroxybenzophenone (BP-1), benzophenone-3 (BP-3), benzophenone-4 (BP-4) and 2-ethyl-hexyl-4-trimethoxycinnamate (EHMC) were frequently (≥80%) detected in both influent and effluent with mean concentrations ranging from 23 to 1290 ng/L and 18-1018 ng/L, respectively; less than 2% of samples contained levels greater than 1000 ng/L. Higher concentrations of these frequently detected compounds were found during the wet/summer season, except for BP-4, which was the most abundant compound detected in all samples in terms of total mass. The target compounds behaved differently depending on the treatment level in WWTPs; overall, removal efficiencies were greater after secondary treatment when compared to primary treatment with >55% and <20% of compounds showing high removal (defined as >70% removal), respectively. Reverse osmosis was found to effectively eliminate UV filters from effluent (>99% removal). A preliminary risk assessment indicated that BP-3 and EHMC discharged from WWTPs may pose high risk to fishes in the local environment.
    Water Research 01/2014; 53C:58-67. DOI:10.1016/j.watres.2014.01.014 · 5.32 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The thermal decomposition behavior of coal gangue, peanut shell, wheat straw and their blends during combustion were determined via thermogravimetric analysis. The coal gangue/agricultural biomass blends were prepared in four weight ratios and oxidized under dynamic conditions from room temperature to 1000 °C by various heating rates. Kinetic models were carried out to evaluate the thermal reactivity. The overall mass balance was performed to assess the partition behavior of coal gangue, peanut shell and their blends during combustion in a fixed bed reactor. The decomposition processes of agricultural biomass included evaporation, release of volatile matter and combustion as well as char oxidation. The thermal reactivity of coal gangue could be improved through the addition of agricultural biomass in suitable proportion and subsequent appropriate heating rate during combustion. In combination with the heating value and base/acid ratio limitations, a blending ratio of 30% agricultural biomass is conservatively selected as optimum blending.
    Bioresource Technology 01/2014; 166:243–251. · 5.04 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The measurement of illicit drug metabolites in raw wastewater is increasingly being adopted as an approach to objectively monitor population-level drug use, and is an effective complement to traditional epidemiological methods. As such, it has been widely applied in western countries. In this study, we utilised this approach to assess drug use patterns over nine days during April 2011 in Hong Kong. Raw wastewater samples were collected from the largest wastewater treatment plant serving a community of approximately 3.5 million people and analysed for excreted drug residues including cocaine, ketamine, methamphetamine, 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA) and key metabolites using liquid chromatography coupled with tandem mass spectrometry. The overall drug use pattern determined by wastewater analysis was consistent with that have seen amongst people coming into contact with services in relation to substance use; among our target drugs, ketamine (estimated consumption: 1400-1600mg/day/1000 people) was the predominant drug followed by methamphetamine (180-200mg/day/1000 people), cocaine (160-180mg/day/1000 people) and MDMA (not detected). The levels of these drugs were relatively steady throughout the monitoring period. Analysing samples at higher temporal resolution provided data on diurnal variations of drug residue loads. Elevated ratios of cocaine to benzoylecgonine were identified unexpectedly in three samples during the evening and night, providing evidence for potential dumping events of cocaine. This study provides the first application of wastewater analysis to quantitatively evaluate daily drug use in an Asian metropolitan community. Our data reinforces the benefit of wastewater monitoring to health and law enforcement authorities for strategic planning and evaluation of drug intervention strategies.
    Forensic science international 12/2013; 233(1-3):126-32. DOI:10.1016/j.forsciint.2013.09.003 · 2.12 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: In order to study the effect of phosphorus on biodiesel production from Scenedesmus obliquus especially under nitrogen deficiency conditions, six types of media with combinations of nitrogen repletion/depletion and phosphorus repletion/limitation/depletion were investigated in this study. It was found that nitrogen starvation compared to nitrogen repletion enhanced biodiesel productivity. Moreover, biodiesel productivity was further strengthened by varying the supply level of phosphorus from depletion, limitation, through to repletion. The maximum FAMEs productivity of 24.2mg/L/day was obtained in nitrogen depletion with phosphorus repletion, which was two times higher than that in nutrient complete medium. More phosphorus was accumulated in cells under the nitrogen starvation with sufficient phosphorus condition, but no polyphosphate was formed. This study indicated that nitrogen starvation plus sufficient P supply might be the real "lipid trigger". Furthermore, results of the current study suggest a potential application for utilizing microalgae to combine phosphorus removal from wastewater with biodiesel production.
    Bioresource Technology 11/2013; 152C:241-246. DOI:10.1016/j.biortech.2013.11.013 · 5.04 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Saxitoxin (STX) is the most potent paralytic shellfish poisoning toxin in crustaceans and molluscs, and is known to cause intoxication to humans and marine animals due to its neurotoxicity. However, the extent of its early developmental toxicity to marine species remains unknown. In this study, we examined the early developmental toxicity of STX using marine medaka (Oryzias melastigma) embryos as model. The medaka embryos were exposed to STX for four days, from the early blastula stage onwards, and this exposure period covered the main developmental stage of the central nervous system and somites. After exposure, the treated medaka eleutheroembryos at 15 day post fertilization exhibited abnormal growth with longer body length and relatively smaller yolk sac size. High cell proliferation, neuron development, and metabolism were confirmed using whole-mount immunostaining and two-dimensional electrophoresis. In summary, STX disturbed the normal growth of medaka embryos probably by affecting the metabolic rate in the exposed medaka embryos.
    Toxicon 10/2013; DOI:10.1016/j.toxicon.2013.10.022 · 2.58 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

9k Citations
940.26 Total Impact Points


  • 1996–2015
    • City University of Hong Kong
      • • Department of Biology and Chemistry
      • • State Key Laboratory in Marine Pollution
      Chiu-lung, Kowloon City, Hong Kong
  • 2002–2013
    • The University of Hong Kong
      • Department of Biochemistry
      Hong Kong, Hong Kong
  • 2006–2012
    • Hong Kong SAR Government
      Hong Kong, Hong Kong
    • University of Queensland
      Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
    • Indonesian Institute of Sciences
      Batavia, Jakarta Raya, Indonesia
    • National Institute of Animal Health
      Tsukuba, Ibaraki, Japan
    • National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology
      Tsukuba, Ibaraki, Japan
    • The Hong Kong Polytechnic University
      • Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
      Hong Kong, Hong Kong
  • 2011
    • USTC-CityU Joint Advanced Research Center
      Hong Kong, Hong Kong
  • 2008–2009
    • Chinese Academy of Sciences
      • Institute of Hydrobiology
      Peping, Beijing, China
  • 1990–2009
    • The Chinese University of Hong Kong
      • Department of Biology
      Hong Kong, Hong Kong
  • 2005–2008
    • Michigan State University
      • Department of Zoology
      East Lansing, MI, United States
    • University of Oslo
      Kristiania (historical), Oslo, Norway
  • 2007
    • Griffith University
      Southport, Queensland, Australia
  • 2004–2007
    • Ehime University
      • Center for Marine Environmental Studies (CMES)
      Matsuyama-shi, Ehime, Japan
    • South China Normal University
      Shengcheng, Guangdong, China