School of Nursing

Research Questions

  • What can be done to prevent and reduce tobacco use?
  • What can be done to prevent and reduce risky health behaviours among adolescents and children?
  • How can we improve the physical and mental wellbeing of individuals at all ages?
  • What nursing interventions can be provided to improve cancer survival and quality of life?
  • What are the effective nursing care strategies for the unwell?
  • What can be done to manage and reduce the impacts of obesity and its related diseases?
Research student in a lab
Research Areas

1. Smoking Cessation and Tobacco Control

We are one of the leading research teams internationally on smoking cessation and tobacco control policy. Our smoking cessation research focuses on finding cost-effective and sustainable interventions for preventing smoking and promoting smoking cessation in adults and adolescents using pragmatic and complex large-scale randomised controlled trials. We use public health and nursing based approaches on brief smoking advice, pharmacological adjunct interventions, non-pharmacological interventions, interventions using information communication technologies, and combined interventions. Our research findings have been published in top international journals with high impacts locally and internationally. Our tobacco control policy research focuses on territory-wide epidemiological, evaluation and policy studies on tobacco use (including emerging new tobacco products), second-hand smoke and third-hand smoke exposure among different groups of the population. The findings have been widely used to advocate for smoke-free legislation in Hong Kong, and they serve as successful examples of tobacco control measures for mainland China and elsewhere.


2. Family and Women's Health

Our research involves interdisciplinary collaboration including researchers and practitioners in nursing, medicine, public health, social science, and biological sciences. Ongoing projects include the following areas:

Family violence - This research focuses on the identification of family violence and the adverse impact of violence and abuse on survivors' physical and mental health, as demonstrated by self- reports (e.g. chronic pain, depressive symptoms, post-traumatic stress symptoms), imaging (e.g. functional magnetic resonance imaging), and biomarkers (e.g. telomerase activity).

Breastfeeding - This research focuses on the impact of breastfeeding on maternal health (e.g. gestational diabetes) and breast milk on infant health (e.g. birth weight, infectious disease, intestinal microbiome compositions).

Health of children and adolescents - This research focuses on identifying health risk factors among children and adolescents with the aim of promoting their health and well-being.

Sexual and reproductive health - The research in this area is underpinned by a commitment to understand and improve practice in sexual and reproductive health care. We conduct studies to understand the social and behavioural factors associated with risky sexual behaviours, and to examine the impact of prostate diseases on patients' wellbeing.



3. Cancer Care and End of Life Care

Our interdisciplinary and collaborative research is in the area of cancer pain management (pain education, counselling and the use of coping strategies) and its impact on quality of life; cancer symptom management through interventions aimed at improving sleep disturbance, symptom clusters in cancer patients and the biologic mechanism of cytokines in cancer symptoms; the effect of physical activity in cancer disturbance, symptom distress, quality of life and behavioural symptoms; ethical and legal issues in the practice of advance directives and living will; end-of-life decision making, impact on medical management; and identification of quality of life prognostic factors for survival in terminal cancer patients.


4. Gerontology and Healthy Ageing

Our research focuses on the promotion of physical and mental wellbeing of older people through a primary prevention approach. We implement and evaluate interventions, such as lifestyle modification, behavioural interventions and information technology devices (e.g. mobile applications), as appropriate. We also promote early detection of chronic illnesses and are actively involved in interdisciplinary collaborations with other professionals.


5. Long-Term Care and Management of Chronic Illness

Our research, which takes an interdisciplinary approach, focuses on developing interventions for both patients with chronic illness and their family caregivers in chronic illnesses, such as diabetes, hypertension, stroke, dementia, and mental illness. We examine the effectiveness of different interventions, including lifestyle modifications, mindfulness, and mobile applications, on restoring the physical and mental wellbeing of patients and the prevention of burnout among family caregivers.



Dr DYT Fong

Next Step?

For more information or to express interest to join the research areas, please email the supervisor or the specified contact point in the description. Interested candidates are advised to enclose with your email:

  1. your CV,
  2. a brief description of your research interest and experience, and
  3. two reference letters (not required for HKUMed UG students seeking MRes[Med]/URIS projects).

Research postgraduate studies enquiries specific to the department/school’s research should be directed to the Chairman of the Departmental Research Postgraduate Committee:

 Dr DYT Fong

Information on the research programme, funding support and admission documentations could be referenced online at the Research Postgraduate Admissions website.

General admission enquiries should be directed to

Our Students

Naomi Takemura

Place of Origin: Japan
Progress: PhD Year 3
Supervisor: Professor C Lin

"I hope my research findings can inform best practices in an evidence-based manner."

As an advocate for the efficacy of exercise in patient care, Naomi Takemura is passionate about exercise intervention in patients with advanced lung cancer, "While most hold a belief that patients with advanced lung cancer are fragile, and their symptoms can only be mitigated by various cancer treatments, we propose that exercise as a non-pharmacological intervention can help improve their overall physical and psychological well-being in my current study."

Although the long-term treatment effects of exercise remain to be seen, Naomi has already generated preliminary findings suggesting that both aerobic and mind-body exercises are effective in abating psychological distress and promoting physical function among patients.

“Keep exercising, this is what I have been doing every day as well!

December 2020