Dr Jessica C F Kwok

Dr Jessica C F Kwok


The Kwok Lab focuses on the mechanism of perineuronal net (PNNs) assembly and how PNNs regulate the functions in the central nervous system. We integrates techniques in molecular biology, biochemistry, cell biology, in vivo models and medicinal chemistry, to investigate nervous system functions, both in physiological conditions and in diseases. We aim to harness neuroplasticity for improving functional recovery after spinal cord injury and enhancing memory and learning ability in neurodegenerative conditions (e.g. Alzherimer’s disease and ageing).

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).

Council member for the European Society for Neurochemistry (ESN) (2023 until current)
Member of the Scientific Advisory Board for the International Neurotrauma Society (2021 until current) 



  • Member of the University's steering group of Research Culture
  • FBS Theme Lead for Healthy Living

Research interests


The role of chondroitin sulphates and perineuronal nets in neuroplasticity.
Perineuronal net (PNN) is a pericellular extracellular matrix structure ensheathing the surface of sub-populations of neurones in the central nervous system (CNS).
The key research focus of the Kwok Lab is to decipher the role of chondroitin sulphates (CSs) and extracellular matrix assembly for the treatments of a multitude of CNS conditions, including spinal cord injury, epilepsy, ageing, memory and neurodegeneration, via plasticity enhancement.
We employ and integrate techniques from different disciplines, including molecular biology, cell biology, animal behaviour, glycoscience, neuroscience and biophysics to address our research questions.

Public engagement.

Passionate in disseminating science information and knowledge to the public. Key topics include 1) brain communication, 2) neuroplasticity, 3) extracellular matrix and 4) spinal cord injury.
Check out the latest videos and update in   X@KwokLab

Current Lab members:
  1. PhDs (main superviser): Ashleigh Goodenough, Cihan Civas, Taya Bosson, Felecia Sutton
  2. PhDs (co-superviser): Abigail Roberts, Ben Stevens, Noelia Martinez-Varea, Jelizaveta Pavljuk

X@KwokLab   X@NeuroLeeds  X@UProteoglycans
<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 (Biochemistry)

Professional memberships

  • European Society for Neurochemistry
  • International Society for Neurochemistry
  • Federation for European Neuroscience
  • The Biochemical Society
  • International Society of Hyaluronan Sciences

Student education

Undergraduate teaching:
- topics include neurotransmission, synaptic communication, extracellular matrix and neuroplasticity
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:
- PhD position is available. Enthusiastic and committed students are encouraged to contact me via email: j.kwok@leeds.ac.uk
See also:

Research groups and institutes

  • Neuroscience and Behaviour
  • 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>