Department of Medicine


Research Questions

  • Why do people who have never smoked still have lung cancer?
  • What is the impact of intermittent hypoxia (as seen in sleep apnoea) on cardiovascular or metabolic function?
  • How to reduce or prevent the accumulation and spread of alpha-synuclein (toxic protein) in Parkinson's disease?
  • How is mutant LRRK2 linked to impaired degradation of waste proteins in brain cells which leads to Parkinson's disease?
  • What are the mechanisms underlying the cellular and molecular immune dysregulation in SLE?
  • What are the roles of regulatory noncoding RNAs in SLE pathogenesis?
  • SLE disease heterogeneity - can SLE patients be stratified by omics analyses?
  • Is DWI useful for axial spondyloarthritis disease monitoring?
  • Are there any serum biomarkers that could be used for axial spondyloarthritis monitoring?
  • What is the relationship between disease progression and intensity of spinal inflammation?
Research student in a lab
Research Areas

1. Cardiology

  • Pluripotent stem cell for disease modelling and treatment of cardiovascular disease
  • Tissue engineering for treatment of heart failure
  • Small and large animal models for studying the mechanism and treatment of hypertension and heart failure
  • Cardiac arrhythmia − mechanisms and treatment of atrial fibrillation and ventricular arrhythmias
  • Cardiac pacing − developments in novel pacing technologies for treatment of heart failure and cardiac arrhythmia
  • Sudden cardiac death − epidemiology, prevention and treatment
  • Precision medicine for coronary heart disease − prediction of coronary artery disease using genetic and multi-omic approaches
  • Cardiovascular imaging − development of novel echo and MRI imaging for cardiovascular diseases
Supervisor(s)

Professor HF Tse

  

2. Clinical Pharmacy

  • Cardiovascular risk factors in the community, including hypertension and the metabolic syndrome
  • Pharmacogenetics, pharmacogenomics and precision medicine
  • Improving drug therapy − clinical trials, meta-analysis of clinical trials, clinical guidelines, assessing utilisation and cost-effectiveness, and drug safety
Supervisor(s)

Professor BMY Cheung

  

3. Endocrinology and Metabolism

  • Molecular genetics and pathogenesis of atherosclerosis, diabetes and diabetic complications;
  • clinical and basic studies on obesity and adipocyte-derived hormones
  • adipose tissue browning, immunometabolism
  • pathogenesis and management of autoimmune thyroid disease
  • genetics and environmental determinants of osteoporosis
Supervisor(s)

Professor KCB Tan

  

4. Gastroenterology and Hepatology

  • Natural history and risk factors for development of disease complications of chronic hepatitis B infection
  • Virology and novel markers for hepatitis B disease
  • Novel treatment for chronic hepatitis B infection
  • Diagnostic tools and disease characterization of occult hepatitis B infection
Supervisor(s)

Professor MF Yuen

  

5. Big Data Research on GI Diseases

  • Helicobacter pylori − disease pathogenesis, antibiotics resistance, gastric carcinogenesis
  • Stomach and colon cancer − chemoprevention, innovations on screening and surveillance
  • Gastrointestinal bleeding − prevention and intervention
  • Inflammatory bowel disease: epidemiology and treatment outcome
Supervisor(s)

Professor WK Leung

  • What factors alter disease outcomes in treatment-predominant chronic hepatitis B?
  • What are the viral and host factors that predict treatment response in novel emerging therapies for chronic hepatitis B?
  • What are the underlying molecular mechanisms for different phenotypes of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease?
  • How can we diagnose liver fibrosis non-invasively and apply to clinical use?
  • What are the disease entities affected by gut microbiota dysbiosis?
  • Can faecal microbiota transplantation in animal models provide a causative answer to disease outcomes?
  • Artificial intelligence and deep learning: is machine better than man?
  • How can artificial intelligence enhance prediction of disease outcomes in different liver diseases?
  • Chronic hepatitis B: Translational and clinical studies on treatment outcomes and functional cure
  • Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease: Animal models and molecular mechanisms
  • Liver fibrosis: Novel non-invasive diagnostic techniques and clinical outcomes
  • Gut microbiota and faecal microbiota transplantation: Animal models and associations with disease outcomes
  • Artificial intelligence: Deep machine learning and its integration in liver disease
Supervisor(s)

Professor WWK Seto

  

6. Haematology

Clinical protocols for treatment of leukaemia and lymphomas; detection of minimal residual disease and molecular mechanisms in haematologic malignancy; clinical protocols for bone marrow transplantation; infective and neoplastic complications of bone marrow transplantation; molecular genetics of haematological malignancies; basic research in pathogenesis of blood cancers; normal and leukaemic haematopoietic stem cell study using NOD/SCID mice; embryonic haematopoiesis and gene regulation studies in zebrafish.

  

7. Molecular Medicine

Development of novel diagnostic techniques (including non-invasive prenatal diagnosis and pre-implantation diagnosis) for common genetic diseases, such as thalassemias, haemophilias, Duchenne muscular dystrophy, spinal muscular atrophy and Huntington’s disease; genome-wide scan with microsatellite markers for linkage of new disease genes; development of DNA microarray technology to diagnose and elucidate the molecular pathology of genetic diseases and cancers.

Supervisor(s)

Professor YL Kwong

  

8. Infectious Diseases

  • Influenza − rapid diagnostics, vaccination and antiviral treatment (mouse models and clinical trials)
  • Pneumococcal disease − rapid diagnostics and vaccination (clinical trials)
  • Respiratory viruses − parainfluenza virus, metapneumovirus, rhinovirus, coronavirus, adenovirus (clinical presentation and antiviral treatment in mouse models and clinical trials)
  • Multiple drug resistance organisms − infection control and treatment
Supervisor(s)

Professor IFN Hung

  

9. Nephrology

  • Molecular and immunological pathogenic mechanisms of renal inflammation and fibrosis in glomerular and tubulointerstitial diseases, with special focus on lupus nephritis
  • Translational studies on peritoneal mesothelial cell biology focusing on inflammation and fibrosis of peritoneal membrane in the context of peritoneal dialysis
Supervisor(s)

Professor DTM Chan

  • Cellular and molecular mechanisms of proteinuric tubulointerstital disease, diabetic kidney disease and IgA nephropathy
  • Stem cell and regenerative medicine in diabetic and non-diabetic models of kidney disease
  • Integrative medicine in diabetic kidney disease, clinical and basic
Supervisor(s)

Professor SCW Tang

  

10. Neurology

  • Elucidation of therapeutic targets of pathogenic mechanisms to modify the progressive course of Parkinson's disease
Supervisor(s)

Professor SL Ho

  • Experimental stroke models; neuroimaging of stroke; biomarkers for stroke; high resolution EEG; functional brain mapping
Supervisor(s)

Professor RTF Cheung

  • Neuroimmunology and Neuroinflammation − clinical, neuroradiological, molecular, immunological and pathological studies of 1) autoimmune and immune-mediated neurological disorders including neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorders (NMOSD), multiple sclerosis (MS), autoimmune encephalitis, autoimmune myasthenia gravis and paraneoplastic neurological disorders; and 2) Alzheimer's disease (AD) aiming at development of novel therapies with anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective properties in NMOSD, MS and AD by cell and animal models as well as human clinical trials
  • Intracerebral haemorrhage with specific focus on intracerebral haemorrhage complicating therapy with anticoagulants and antiplatelet agents
Supervisor(s)

Dr KH Chan

  

11. Stroke and Brain Health

  • Epidemiology and clinical studies in primary and secondary prevention of stroke
  • Use of novel neuroimaging techniques to better understand the mechanisms and prognosis of stroke and cerebral small vessel disease
  • Role of the gut microbiota in vascular and brain health
  • Use of digital health technologies to improve the management of stroke
Supervisor(s)

Dr GKK Lau

  

12. Respiratory Medicine

  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and bronchiectasis − mechanisms of neutrophil recruitment; role of transforming growth factor, TGF-beta; bronchial epithelial injury airways remodelling; biomarker and stem cell regeneration
  • Lung cancer − molecular genetics; circulating tumour markers; environmental risk factor and genes interaction in pathogenesis; novel therapeutics in lung cancer; screening of lung cancer
  • Obstructive sleep apnoea − cardiometabolic aspects of OSA; intermittent hypoxia exposure animal and cell culture models
Supervisor(s)

Professor MSM Ip

  

13. Rheumatology and Clinical Immunology

  • Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) and other autoimmune diseases
  • Is SLE a single disease entity or a collection of autoimmune disorders?
  • Genetic and genomic studies of systemic lupus erythematosus
  • Evaluation of the Lupus Low Disease Activity State as an outcome measure of systemic lupus erythematosus
  • Treatment response measure in systemic lupus erythematosus
  • Amyotrophic dermatomyositis and anti-MDA-5 antibody syndrome
Supervisor(s)

Professor CS Lau

  • What are the molecular and cellular defects and the underlying mechanisms in immune cells that contribute to the development of lupus?
  • What are the potential roles of non-coding RNAs as immune regulators and biomarkers for SLE?
  • What is the role of AIM2 inflammasome in lupus?
  • How can we exploit the lupus-associated molecular defects as tools for predicting disease progression and treatment response in patients?
  • Molecular and cellular dysregulation in systemic lupus erythematosus
  • Immunobiology of innate immune receptors
Supervisor(s)

Dr VSF Chan

  

14. Spondyloarthritis

  • Using diffusion weighted imaging as an imaging biomarker for axial spondyloarthritis
  • Machine learning for magnetic resonance imaging in axial spondyloarthritis
  • Biomarkers for spondyloarthritis
  • Cardiovascular risks and comorbidities in spondyloarthritis
Supervisor(s)

Dr HY Chung

  

15. Immunology and Allergy

  • Drug allergy: epidemiology, clinical characteristics and diagnostics
  • Anaphylaxis: epidemiology, management, specific syndromes and healthcare intervention
  • Immunotherapy: Allergen immunotherapy and immunological changes with use of immune checkpoint inhibitors
  • Primary and Secondary Immunodeficiences: Diagnostics and cost-effectiveness of subcutaneous immunoglobulin in Hong Kong
  • Hereditary Angioedema: Genetics, clinical modifiers, therapeutics and Hong Kong HAE registry
Supervisor(s)

Dr PH Li

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 KH Chan
koonho@hku.hk

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 rpgmed@hku.hk.

Our Students

Bowie Cheng

Place of Origin: Hong Kong
Progress: Graduated in 2019
Supervisor: Professor AYH Leung

Third-year PhD student Bowie Cheng lights up whenever she talks about the zebrafish she uses in her cancer research. “Zebrafish are great animal models because 70% of their genes are the same as ours. They have a fast growth cycle - developing from egg to fish in just 12 hours - so we get the experiment results pretty quickly. The transparency of their body is also an asset for researchers,” she says.

Bowie has been studying how the combinations of different mutated genes affect patients of acute myeloid leukemia, one of the most fatal cancers. “I hope to learn more and eventually apply my knowledge to the study of other types of cancer,” she adds.

August 2019