Dr Jessica CF Kwok

Dr Jessica CF Kwok


A neuro-/glyco-biologist focusing on enhancing plasticity for central nervous system pathologies.

BSc in Biochemistry - University of Hong Kong (Hong Kong).

PhD in Biochemistry - University of Hong Kong (Hong Kong).

Postdoctoral scientist - University of Cambridge (UK).

Visiting scientist (2017-2022) - Institute of Experimental Medicine, Czech Academy of Sciences (Czech Republic).



Research interests

The role of chondroitin sulphates and perineuronal nets in neuroplasticity.

We aim to decipher the role of chondroitin sulphates (CSs) and extracellular matrix assembly for a multitude of pathologies in the central nervous system (CNS), including spinal cord injury, epilepsy, ageing, memory and neurodegeneration.

News from the Kwok group:


Sian Irvine has successfully passed her viva to become Dr Irvine! Congratulations!


Congratulations Stuart Dickens in obtaining the travel award from the International Society for Neurochemistry (ISN) to participate in the Alpha-synuclein Conference 2019 (Portugal)!

Congratulations Luke Souters in obtaining the travel award from the International Society for Matrix Biology (ISMB) to participate in the 11th International Conference on Proteoglycans (Kanasawa, Japan)!


  •      Awarded a MRC grant to develop potential treatments to recover breathing in chronic spinal cord injury:



  •      Welcome Lynda Djerbal and Ashleigh Goodenough in joining the Kwok Lab. Lynda is a PDRA who will study the interaction of Sema3A and chondroitin sulphates in the PNNs. Ashleigh Goodenough is a PhD student. She will study the effect of PNN formation on the properties of neuronal surface.


Chondroitin sulphates in the central nervous system



Chondroitin sulphates belong to the family of glycosaminoglycans (GAGs). CSs are covalently bound to a core proteoglycans forming chondroitin sulphate proteoglycans (CSPGs), which are abundant in cartilage and CNS. In the CNS, CSPGs are strongly up-regulated after spinal cord injury in a structure called glial scar. Removal of CSs in the glial scar promotes neuronal regeneration.


Current Lab members:

  1. PDRA: Sylvain Gigout, Lynda Djerbal, Sian Irvine
  2. PhD: Luke Souter, Stuart Dickens, James Duncan, Nicole Smith, Natalie Doody, Trang Nguyen, Katherine Timmes, Janice Ng, Ashleigh Goodenough, Roxanne Dyer





<h4>Research projects</h4> <p>Any research projects I'm currently working on will be listed below. Our list of all <a href="https://biologicalsciences.leeds.ac.uk/dir/research-projects">research projects</a> allows you to view and search the full list of projects in the faculty.</p>


  • PhD

Student education

Undergraduate project topics:

  • Projects in all of the above areas are available. Enthusiastic and committed students are encouraged to contact me via email: j.kwok@leeds.ac.uk

Postgraduate studentship areas:

See also:

Research groups and institutes

  • Neuroscience
  • Biomechanics
  • Macromolecular Complexes
  • Molecular Neuroscience
  • Neurodegeneration
  • Neurotrauma and Repair

Current postgraduate researchers

<h4>Postgraduate research opportunities</h4> <p>We welcome enquiries from motivated and qualified applicants from all around the world who are interested in PhD study. Our <a href="https://phd.leeds.ac.uk">research opportunities</a> allow you to search for projects and scholarships.</p>