Research of the Department focuses on coastal pollution and conservation. Staff expertise lies in environmental biology and chemistry, environmental physiology and toxicology, ecotoxicology, analytical chemistry, bioactive compounds, ecology, spectroscopy, catalysis, microbiology, biochemistry and biotechnology. At present, the Department has
112 PhD and 6 MPhil students pursuing their postgraduate studies in these areas. The Applied Research Centre in Shenzhen on Biotechnology & Health was established by CityU to conduct research in drug development, biomedical devices and systems in September 2001. It funded several projects including research and development of mangrove replanting technology, traditional Chinese medicine, and biochips and functional genomics, totaling HK$12.58 million. In 2003, the Futian-CityU Mangrove Research and Development Centre (FCMC) was established in Shenzhen's Nelingding Futian Nature Reserve. Integral to the FCMC is the Futian Mangrove Laboratory, one of four research laboratories under the auspices of the Biotech and Health Centre. The Department, judged on research output, ranked at the top in Chemistry research in Hong Kong in the last Research Assessment Exercise conducted by the UGC. In addition, a member of staff received a total of HK$2.5m from the Innovation and Technology Fund (ITF) to develop a system which employs zebrafish embryos to test traditional Chinese Medicine that can induce or inhibit the formation of new blood vessels. Another member secured funding from ITF for conducting projects on the development of a DNA recombinant version of Hepatocyte DNA Synthesis Stimulating Factor (HK$3.5m) and an Integrated Lab-on-a-Chip System for Drug Screening (HK$2.8m). Members of our Department were awarded HK$45 million by UGC (2004-2009) in the third round of its Areas of Excellence (AoE) scheme for the establishment of a Centre for Marine Environmental Research and Innovative Technology (MERIT), which is the only AoE project on environmental science in Hong Kong.