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Welcoming Our New Academics

Professor Tim Jaij BOOEN


Professor Tim Jaij BOONEN,
Associate Professor of the
Department of Statistics and Actuarial Science

‘My aim is to analyse complex challenges, forging a connection between science and society.’

‘In moving to Hong Kong, I had to give up my hobby to attend around 25  football matches in the stadium.’

  • PhD in Actuarial Science from Tilburg University, the Netherlands
  • Focuses on applications of game theory, capital allocation, longevity risk modelling, and risk sharing
  • Worked for nearly 10 years as an Assistant/Associate Professor at the University of Amsterdam in its School of Economics (2013-2023)



‘Curiosity is the fuel for good science.’


Professor Edwin Chung Hang FONG

Professor Edwin Chung Hang FONG

Assistant Professor of the
Department of Statistics and Actuarial Science

  • PhD in Statistics from the University of Oxford; Master of Engineering from the University of Cambridge
  • His speciality lies in Bayesian statistics, which serves as a flexible tool for quantifying uncertainty in decision-making. His research focuses on developing scalable and robust Bayesian methodologies to tackle modern data science problems
  • Before joining HKU, he worked as a lead data scientist at Novo Nordisk, where he developed novel statistical methods for clinical trials
‘I am a keen rock climber, and I particularly enjoy bouldering. I like that it’s both a physical and mental challenge, which makes it super fun!’


Professor Meng GU


Professor Meng GU,
Assistant Professor of the
Department of Physics

‘Embrace curiosity, unlock the universe's story, and enjoy the journey.’


‘When I'm not working on research, I enjoy traveling with my family, cooking and baking sometimes. I also like to watch movies and hit the gym.’
  • PhD in Astronomy & Astrophysics, Harvard University
  • Focuses on galaxy formation and evolution, specifically being interested in the star formation and mass assembly histories of quiescent galaxies. She is also an observer and aim to learn the stellar population and chemistry of galaxies through their spectra
  • Before joining HKU, she was a postdoctoral fellow at Carnegie Observatories, and a Henry Norris Russell postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Astrophysical Sciences at Princeton University



‘Unleashing the formidable power of statistics can propel public health and push forward the frontiers of medical knowledge.’


Professor Yu GU

Professor Yu GU

Assistant Professor of the
Department of Statistics and Actuarial Science

  • PhD in Biostatistics from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, United States
  • Specialises in survival analysis, semiparametric inference, and biostatistics; developing novel statistical methods for analysing complex data in modern medical and health-related  research
  • During her PhD study (2018-2023) amidst the COVID-19 peak, she led statistical analyses to  investigate vaccine and treatment efficacy. She also actively participated in a multi-ethnic  genome-wide association study on early childhood caries

‘In my free time, I love delving into literature and arts to seek inspiration and knowledge. Cute animals also bring a smile to my face and brighten my day.’


Professor Yunwen LEI


Professor Yunwen LEI
Assistant Professor of the 
Department of Mathematics

‘Keep your face always toward the sunshine, and shadows will fall behind you.’


‘I find joy in playing football, hiking and listening to music. These simple pleasures bring a touch of delight to my life.’

  • PhD in Computer Science from the Wuhan University, China
  • Specialises in machine learning, stochastic optimisation, mathematics of data science and statistical learning theory
  • Worked as a Lecturer at the University of Birmingham (2020-2022), and as a Humboldt Research Fellow at the University of Kaiserslautern (2019-2020)



‘Planetary Science invites us on an enthralling  journey beyond Earth, aiming to benefit not just our planet, but also the magnificent wonders of the cosmos.’


Professor Zhenghua YAO

Professor Zhonghua YAO

Associate Professor of the
Department of Earth Sciences

  • PhD in Geophysics from Peking University, China
  • Specialises in planetary space science, and particularly on Jupiter
  • Formerly a Marie-Curie COFUND fellow at the University of Liege, Belgium (2016-2019), and a Research Professor in the Institute of Geology and Geophysics, Chinese Academy of Sciences (2019-2023)

‘While exploring other planets, I still can't resist the joy of exploring and comparing different human cultures on Mother Earth!’


Professor Jason Jian ZHANG


Professor Jason Jian ZHANG,
Professor of
the Department of Earth Sciences

‘Deciphering the internal mystery of our  dynamic  planet, making the invisible visible and the unknown known.’

‘Football brings me a lot of fun. Engaging in the sport involves camaraderie and teamwork, as you join or form teams to compete and collaborate with others who share the same passion. It provides opportunities for social interaction, building relationships, and connecting with other enthusiasts.’

  • PhD in Structural Geology and Tectonics from The University of Hong Kong
  • Formerly a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Waterloo (2008-2010) and a professor at Sun Yat-sen University (2016-2023) leading a research group focusing on the early Earth tectonics
  • Specialises in crustal evolution, deformational behaviour and geodynamic process of the Earth and its role in shaping the present-day habitable planet



‘Embracing the unreasonable effectiveness of Mathematics to illuminate the path to scientific discovery and empirical understanding!’


Professor Yuxin ZHAO

Professor Yuxin ZHAO

Assistant Professor of the
Department of Physics

  • PhD in Physics from The University of Hong Kong
  • Focuses on the fundamental questions related to symmetry and topological structures in solid-state physics. In recent years, he has developed a series of theories on projective crystal symmetries and the related novel topological phenomena
  • Formerly a postdoctoral researcher at the Max Planck Institute for Solid State Physics, 
    Germany (2015-17) and Professor in the School of Physics at Nanjing University (2017-2023)

‘I love the board game Go, as it beautifully demonstrates how a set of simple rules can give rise to an enormous and diverse world.’


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