Dr Catherine Merrick awarded Kan Tong Po fellowship with her Hong-Kong-based collaborator Dr Chun Kit Kwok

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Posted on 24 November 2017

The Royal Society's Kan Tong Po fellowship scheme encourages collaborative work between UK and Hong Kong universities.  Dr Kwok is based at the City University of Hong Kong and he will use the fellowship to visit the UK in 2018.

The fellowship was awarded to facilitate an existing collaborative project between Dr Merrick and Dr Kwok to investigate RNA secondary structures in the human malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum.  They initiated this project while Dr Kwok was a research fellow at Cambridge, and wish to continue with it now that Dr Kwok has returned to Hong Kong and set up his own research group in his home country. 

The work forms part of Dr Merrick's current Medical Research Council grant, which is focussed on G-quadruplex biology in malaria parasites, and which has already discovered some interesting roles for these unusual DNA secondary structures.  Extending the work to RNA G-quadruplexes is expected to yield further novel results which could have important implications for malaria parasite biology.  Drs Kwok and Merrick recently published a review article in the high-impact 'Trends in Biotechnology' Journal, entitled: G-quadruplexes: prediction, characterization, and biological application.