Gene expert set for top HKU post

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 08 May, 2002, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 08 May, 2002, 12:00am

Canada-based geneticist Professor Tsui Lap-chee is set to be named vice-chancellor of the University of Hong Kong after the resignation of Professor Cheng Yiu-chung 20 months ago.

A university source said last night that a nine-member selection committee would recommend the appointment this week. The university council is expected to meet within two weeks to discuss the appointment.

Professor Tsui, 51, was selected from 250 candidates shortlisted after a global search. Since April last year, the source said, the selection committee had approached some 1,500 people about the job.

World-renowned Aids expert David Ho Ta-yi had been tipped as a top contender, but he withdrew last month because he feared Hong Kong would not be able to afford to fund his research work. Former chief secretary Anson Chan Fang On-sang was also rumoured to have been a candidate.

The recruitment drive followed the departure of Professor Cheng in September 2000 over a public opinion poll controversy. He was alleged to have tried to stop Dr Robert Chung Ting-yiu's research group at the university conducting polls on the popularity of Chief Executive Tung Chee-hwa.

Professor Tsui is the chief geneticist of the research institute at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto.

He could not be reached for comment yesterday.