Research Postgraduate Studies
Department of Paediatrics and Adolescent Medicine


Department of Paediatrics and Adolescent Medicine


Research Questions

  • How can we use cellular and immunological approaches to treat cancer?
  • How can we use genetics, genomics and analysis of big data to understand disease genes and mechanisms?
Research student in a lab
Research Areas

1. Cancer, Stem Cell Biology, Traditional Chinese Medicine

  • Interaction between cancer cells and microenvironment
  • Clinical studies on childhood neurogenic tumour (brain tumour, neuroblastoma)
  • Biology and application of human mesenchymal stem cells
  • Clinical studies on haemopoietic stem cells transplantation
  • Effects of purified novel herbal extracts polysaccharides on human immune and cancer cells, including β-glucans
  • Clinical study on thalassaemia and iron overload
Supervisor(s)

Professor GCF Chan

 

2. Clinical Genetics and Genomics

  • Medical application of whole-genome technologies: Using cutting-edge technologies including copy number variants (CNV) arrays, whole exome/genome sequencing and detailed phenotypic evaluation, to identify novel variants/genes involved in the pathogenesis of human diseases
  • Clinical genetics and genetic counselling: Disease burden, clinical manifestations and natural history of genetic syndromes; communication/discourse analysis in genetic counselling in different clinical settings including inherited arrhythmia clinics, prenatal diagnosis, preimplantation genetic diagnosis (in collaboration with Dr Olga Zayts, School of English, HKU)
  • Epigenetics and human diseases: Using various technologies including bisulphite-converted DNA pyrosequencing, MLPA and whole genome DNA methylation arrays, we study various common and rare disorders in which epigenetics or imprinting is implicated in the pathogenesis
Supervisor(s)

Dr BHY Chung

 

3. Developmental Behavioural Paediatrics & Neurorehabilitation

  • Disease burden, epidemiology and risk factors of common developmental disorders e.g. Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorders, autism and developmental delay etc.
  • Validation of developmental assessment tools and assessment tools for screening of childhood emotional, behavioural difficulties and learning disorders
  • Using advance neuroimaging techniques e.g. Diffusion kurtosis/ tensor imaging, fMRI or transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) to diagnose, prognosticate and manage children with developmental disorders or brain injuries
  • New rehabilitation methods to improve the outcomes of children with disabilities
  • Cancer survivorship
  • Outcomes of children with acquired brain injuries
Supervisor(s)

Dr WWY Tso

  

4. Epstein-Barr Virus Biology and Translational Research

  • Host-virus interactions in primary and persistent Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) infection and on the elucidation of pathogenic mechanisms of EBV in lymphoid and epithelial cancers
  • Role of adaptive immune responses in the control of EBV: longitudinal study of viral loads, humoral and CD8+ T cell responses in patients with primary EBV infection, post-transplant lymphoproliferative disorders and EBV-associated haemophagocytic syndrome
  • Sequence analysis of EBV strains in EBV infection subjects and EBV-positive tumours
  • Action of different compounds in inducing the lytic cycle of EBV in cancer cells and investigation of mechanistic pathways of viral lytic cycle induction
Supervisor(s)

Dr AKS Chiang

  

5. Immnology

  • Cord blood dendritic cell and T cell development; mannose-binding lectin; single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and short tandem repeats (STRs) in immunological and infectious diseases; vaccines study disease; epidemiology of allergic diseases
  • Immune responses to respiratory pathogens, such as human and avian flu, SARS-CoV, RSV/hMPV and mycobacteria
  • Roles of mannose binding lectin in infection and immunity
  • Lupus pathogenesis – how tolerance is breached
Supervisor(s)

Professor YL Lau

  • Viral immunology: Innate and adaptive immune responses to viral infections, such as human and avian influenza A viruses in both human and mouse models including humanised mice
  • Transplantation immunology: Biology of human regulatory T cells and their application in transplantation, autoimmune diseases. Viral infection and solid organ transplantation
Supervisor(s)

Professor WW Tu

  • Host defence and immune regulation
  • Molecular mechanisms of susceptibility to bacterial and fungal infections in primary immunodeficiency disorders
  • Inflammasomes: immunopathogenesis in monogenic autoinflammatory syndromes, systemic lupus erythematosis and infectious diseases
  • Autophagy as a mechanism of host defence and immune regulation in infectious disease and autoinflammatory disorders
Supervisor(s)

Dr PPW Lee

 

6. Infectious Diseases

  • Disease burden and epidemiology of respiratory viruses in children
  • Epidemiology, clinical manifestation and immune responses of influenza infection in children
  • Intradermal vaccination of influenza vaccination
  • Human herpesvirus-6 and -7 infection – clinical and epidemiology aspects
  • Patterns of antimicrobial resistance – Streptococcus pneumoniae serotypes in HK
Supervisor(s)

Dr SSS Chiu

 

7. Molecular Basis of Mammalian Development and Genetic Diseases

  • Molecular control of development and how abnormalities in this process lead to diseases. In particular, novel genes that affect chromatin structure and regulate the expression of a number of genes in neurons
Supervisor(s)

Dr SY Chan

  • Genetic studies of monogenic diseases; genetic studies of complex diseases especially on autoimmune disorders (for students with a background in medicine or biological sciences)
  • Association studies, linkage analysis, exome- and whole-genome sequencing and other cutting-edge technologies as tools to uncover genes involved in various human diseases
  • Genomic data analysis, bioinformatics and statistical genetics (for students with a computing or statistics background):
  • Computational tools, statistics and data modelling to analyse large amounts of genetics and genomics data and also develop novel tools in these areas
Supervisor(s)

Dr BHY Chung

Dr WL Yang

 

8. Paediatric Cardiovascular Research

  • Arterial function in children and adolescents in health and disease
  • Ventricular function in congenital heart disease and after its surgical repair
  • Ventriculo-arterial interaction
  • Genetics of congenital and acquired heart disease in the young
Supervisor(s)

Professor YF Cheung

 

9. Paediatric Neurology Research

  • Rare paediatric neuromuscular disorders: Genetic diagnosis, genotypic-phenotypic correlation, patient registry and the impact of new therapies
  • Stem cell research for the translational aspects of neuromuscular disorders: Use of patient-derived induced pluripotent stem cells differentiated affected target tissues as disease model to study the underlying mechanisms and potential therapeutic treatment, mainly focus on dystrophinopathy
  • Rare paediatric immune-mediated neurological disorders: epidemiology, clinical characteristics, immunological profile and clinical outcome of autoimmune encephalitis and acquired peripheral neuropathies
Supervisor(s)

Dr SHS Chan

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 WL Yang
yangwl@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

Fatin Nurizzati binti Mohd Jaya

Place of Origin: Brunei
Progress: Graduated in 2020
Supervisor: Professor GCF Chan

Excelling in research and postgraduate studies doesn’t just require a keen sense of focus and academic rigour, it also requires a strong set of persuasion skills and plenty of practice in public speaking.

As champion at the recent Visualise Your Thesis Competition 2019, Fatin Nurizzati, Final Year PhD student from the Department of Paediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, was exceptionally honest about the fact that her first foray into public speaking was not voluntary, “In my very first year as a Masters student, I was asked on the spot by my supervisor to give a short talk at this seminar that I was attending, on my research topic to a crowd of academicians and scientists from different disciplinaries”. Ever since then, Fatin has steadily continued to share her research and partake in academic exchange across disciplines, “Sometimes, in distilling key concepts from you field of study, you have to treat your audience like idiots; the art of public speaking lies in breaking down the most complicated ideas and making sure that even those who had never heard of your field would know what you’re talking about”.

September 2019

Nicodemus Wong

Place of Origin: Canada
Progress: PhD Year 3
Supervisor: Professor YF Cheung

Nicodemus Wong has been fascinated with stem cells since his teens. A second-year PhD student of HKUMed, he has been engrossed in developing induced pluripotent stem cells into cardiac muscle cells as part of a research to study the disease mechanism of congenital heart diseases.

“Learning how to handle stem cells diligently has been the most challenging. But it is very rewarding when I think about how I can improve the quality of life for kids who suffer from these cardiac birth defects,” he says.

August 2019