Prof. Anderson H. C. Shum


Professor, Department of Mechanical Engineering

The University of Hong Kong

On teaching and adminstrative leave from September 1, 2020 to August 31, 2021




Ir Prof. Anderson Ho Cheung Shum received his B.S.E. degree, summa cum laude, in Chemical Engineering from Princeton University, S.M. and Ph.D. in applied Physics from Harvard University. He is currently a Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering and a core member in the Biomedical Engineering Programme at the University of Hong Kong (HKU). He is currently serving as Associate Vice President (Research and Innovation) at HKU. Previously, he served as an Associate Head (2020-2021) in the Department of Mechanical Engineering, and an Assistant Dean (2018-2020) in the Faculty of Engineering at HKU.

His research interests include emulsions, biomicrofluidics, biomedical engineering and soft matter. Dr. Shum received Croucher Senior Research Fellowship 2020, Rising Start Award by Ton Duc Thang University (Vietname), NSFC Excellent Young Scientist Fund (優青 (港澳)/优青(港澳)) in 2019, Young Scientists Award in Microsystems and Nanoengineering Summit 2019, silver medals in the 46th and 47th International Exhibition of Inventions (Geneva, Switzerland) in 2018 and 2019, IEEE Nanomed New Innovator 2018, HKU Outstanding Young Researcher award 2016-17, HKU Research Output Prize 2017, the Early Career Award by the Research Grants Council of Hong Kong in 2012, Graduate Student Silver Award from the Materials Research Society in Spring 2010, Robert L. Wallace Prize Fellowship from Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences in 2006-2007, as well as Notable mention in Art of Competition, Award for Overall Excellence in Chemical Engineering, Proctor & Gamble (P&G) Award for Outstanding Design Project, and Ticona Award for Outstanding Student Thesis from Princeton University in 2005. He was nominated by HK for the 2017 APEC Science Prize for Innovation, Research and Education (ASPIRE Prize).

He was selected to join the Young Academy of Sciences of Hong Kong as a founding member in 2018 and the Royal Society of Chemistry as a fellow in 2017. He is a top 1% scholar by Essential Science Indicators in 2018. He serves as an associate editor for Biomicrofluidics (AIP), editorial board member for Scientific Reports (Springer Nature) and an editorial advisory board member for Lab-on-a-Chip (RSC).



Ph.D. in Applied Physics, Harvard University, USA Nov. 2010
S.M. in Applied Physics, Harvard University, USA June 2007
B.S.E in Chemcal Engineering, summa cum laude, Princeton University, USA June 2005
Study abroad at the department of Chemical Engineering, Imperial College, London, UK 2002-2003


Selected awards

Croucher Senior Research Fellowship 2020-2021 2020
Rising Start Award - Ton Duc Thang University Scientific Prize 2019
NSFC Excellent Young Scientist Fund (優青 (港澳)/优青(港澳)) 2019
Young Scientists Award in Microsystems and Nanoengineering Summit 2019 2019
Silver Medal, 47th International Exhibition of Inventions, Geneva, Switzerland 2019
IEEE Nanomed 2018 New Innovator 2018
Top 1% Scholars by ISI Essential Science Indicators 2018
Silver Medal, 46th International Exhibition of Inventions, Geneva, Switzerland 2018
HKU Outstanding Young Researcher Award 2016-17 2018
Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry 2017
Early Career Award by the Research Grants Council of Hong Kong 2012
Materials Research Society (MRS) Graduate Student Silver Award Spring 2010
Robert L. Wallace Prize Fellowship, Harvard SEAS 2006-2007
Central Jersey Section, American Institute of Chemical Engineers, Award for Overall
Excellence in Chemical Engineering
Procter & Gamble (P&G) Award for Outstanding Design Project 2005


Detailed contributions and achievements

The most significant contribution to the fields of microfluidics and soft matter is to introduce and elucidate possibilities offered by an all-aqueous multiphase system. Traditionally, aqueous two-phase systems have only found applications in extraction of molecules and in green chemical synthesis. Its potential and value as a system for studying novel interfacial phenomena and for novel nanobiomedicine have been largely overlooked. The ultralow interfacial tension of the system has called for new ways to induce formation of uniformly sized droplets in microfluidic devices. The passivity of the interface allows visualization and recording of sound and music on a liquid-liquid interface for the first time (featured in Asian Scientist Newsroom and an arts exhibition by The University of Hong Kong (HKU) University Artists in December 2016). The diffuse interfaces of these aqueous interfaces create new opportunities to assembly particles and macromolecules, such as enzymes, for forming new structures with enhanced bio- & cyto-compatibility, as reported in our 2016 HOT paper and cover article in Journal of Materials Chemistry B. Aqueous phase separation can be taken advantage of to create multishelled droplets, as described in our 2018 cover article in Small. Based on this pioneering works, we have incorporated proteins into our all-aqueous droplets to form a new type of vesicles, which we called “fibrillosomes” in our 2016 Nature Communications paper. By manipulating the proteins and the network that it forms, we also demonstrate the overcoming of the thermodynamically favored coalescence dynamics, and induce division of emulsion droplets, a finding that we published in our 2018 Nature Communications paper. This inspires new way to achieve biomimetic behaviors in droplet-based materials that have potential for a new class of programmable carriers for nanomedicine and drugs. The all-aqueous multiphase system suggests opportunities for new analytical chemistry techniques.

Moreover, the constituent components of the all-aqueous systems, such as the proteins, require microscaled analytical chemical approach to study, due to their availability in small volumes. Variations in the concentrations of these components can lead to phase separation without changing the temperature. This not only allows a phase-separation-based strategy to modify the structures of droplets, possibly mimicking biological droplets, but it also provides an excellent model system for studying the intricate relationships between interfacial phenomena and degree of phase separation. Such aqueous phase separation has been shown to influence cytoplasmic dynamics in biological cells discovered by other researchers (Sanders et al., Nature 2017). Our pioneering works have earned the honors of publishing in Emerging Investigators issues in Lab on a Chip, in Soft Matter by RSC, as well as in Early Career Authors in Langmuir, by ACS. In addition, we also discovered a way to map all three dynamical states (jetting, coiling and whipping) of an electrified liquid jet for the first time. The discovery, reported in our 2018 PNAS paper, provides important insights for applying electrified liquid jets, which finds application in forming nanoparticles and nanofibers for biomedical applications. Moving forward, we will focus on the application of droplet microfluidics to develop disruptive medical instrumentation to enable faster and more personalized screening and diagnostics, as demonstrated in proof-of-concept studies in performing immunoassay of C-reactive proteins (Tang et al. Lab Chip, 2016) and in detecting foodborne pathogens using loop-mediated isothermal amplification in droplets (Yuan et al. Analytical Chemistry, 2018).

Since joining HKU in 2010, I have successfully secured competitive grants as a principal investigator; these include one ECS and six GRF grants from the Research Grants Council of Hong Kong in the past 7 years, a General Program grant, a Science Fund for Young Scholars and a Major Research Project (as a key co-I) under the National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC), a grant funded by the Science and Technology Innovation Commission of Shenzhen Municipality, a tier-3 Innovation and Technology Fund (ITF) and a Guangdong-Hong Kong Scheme (TCFS) ITF, as well as a Health and Medical Research Fund (HMRF) on ophthalmological projects. I am the project coordinator of a Research Impact Fund, and was a co-PI on a Collaborative Research Grant (CRF) project. I have published over 100 refereed journal and conference publications. As of mid-April 2019, my publications have led to citations of 5358/3859 and h-index of 38/31 in Google scholars/Web of Science. Our works has been translated vigorously through collaborations with clinicians and industries, including a startup that I co-founded with my former PhD student. Since joining HKU in December 2010, our group has filed patents for 12 inventions, with 6 of them already licensed. Two patented technology was awarded silver medals in the 46th and 47th International Exhibition of Inventions, Geneva, Switzerland in 2018 and 2019. For the above scientific contributions, I have received recognitions, such as Top 1% Scholars by ISI Essential Science Indicators 2018, New Innovator in IEEE Nanomed 2018, FRSC in 2017, HKU Outstanding Young Researcher Award 2016-17, Early Career Award by HK Research Grants Council in 2012. I was selected to join the Hong Kong Young Academy of Sciences as a founding member in 2018. I and my works have been featured in various newspapers and science news outlets, such as Advanced Science News, Wiley Materials Views, Soft Matter Blog, Harvard SEAS Alumni News, etc. In April 2019, I am featured as an emerging talent by HKU ( I also contribute to the community by serving editorial roles, such as associate editor of Biomicrofluidics, editorial board member of Scientific Reports, editorial advisory board member of Lab-on-a-Chip, as well as reviewing papers for over 80 journals, including Nature Nanotechnology, Nature Communications, Advanced Materials and PNAS, as well as organizing scientific meetings, such as symposium in Materials Research Society (MRS) Spring Meeting, International Symposium on Microchemistry and Microsystems (ISMM) 2016, Colloids and Interface Symposium 2019, etc. Former members of the group have also gone on to great success in their careers, for instance, as a co-founder and a project manager in the industries, as postdoc in Georgia Institute of Technology, and as faculty members (associate professor/assistant professor/ lecturer) at universities, such as University of California Santa Barbara (UCSB), Nottingham University (Ningbo), Shenzhen University, and HKU Ophthalmology.