Professor Kim Cheng retired in December 2011 after many years of exceptional service to our Faculty.
Cheng joined UBC as an Assistant Professor in 1980, after completing his M.Sc at Southern Illinois University (’71) and his PhD from the University of Minnesota (’78). He was appointed to full Professor in 1996.
His research focused on the application of genetic principles to the conservation and management of genetic resources, the conservation of rare and threatened avian species and studies of the evolution of avian mating behaviour and mating systems.
In 1980, Cheng discovered a gene mutation in a line of Rhode Island Red (RIR) chickens that caused blindness at hatching. It was the same gene that caused congenital blindness in human. The blind chickens were passed on to the Dept. of Neuroscience at the University of Florida for further analysis and the gene was later sequenced. The team further developed a gene therapy that restored vision to the blind chicken in 2006 and in 2008, researchers from the University of Pennsylvania furthered the method to partially restore sight to three human patients.