Programme(s) to which this project applies:
|☑ MPhil/PhD||☒ MRes[Med]||☒ URIS|
Bone healing or repair is a biological process that can take weeks to months and patients suffering from bone fractures usually need extended time off work and away from normal activities. In particular, as baby boomers age, osteoporosis and fractures related to fragile bones is becoming a major problem needing urgent attention. There have been many attempts to enhance bone repair by mechanical means such as insertion of metallic implants and biological means such as the use of growth factors. Although anti-catabolic drugs can indirectly induce bone formation by suppressing the osteoclastic activity, atypical bone fractures have been documented sometime when this drug is prescribed to patients for a prolonged period of time. This phenomenon may be attributed to over-suppression of bone turnover that alters the bone strength, thereby compromising the mechanical properties. As many such treatments are accompanied by potential complications, there is extensive search in identifying a safer, more economical, and faster method to enhance bone formation and repair.
Bivalent cations e.g., magnesium has been shown to stimulate bone growth and healing by regulating the osteoblast, osteoclast and macrophage activity. Mg is also actively involved in the mineralisation process which controls bone formation and resorption. However, an excessively high concentration of magnesium is detrimental to osteoblasts and even prevents the formation of the bone extracellular matrix. While Mg ions are naturally found in the human body, it is still unclear why a particular local concentration of Mg is important to the regulation of osteogenesis. Hence, our research team has studied the effects of different concentrations of magnesium on various cell lines including osteoblasts, chondrocytes, and mesenchymal stem cells. The results demonstrate that a specific dosage of magnesium can significantly up-regulate the cellular activities in the cell lines monitored. Hence, our team develops various implantable cation-based bio-composites that enable precise controlled release of magnesium to convince in-situ bone formation. We believe that these discoveries will open up an exciting prospect of using bivalent cations in bone regeneration. This process is potentially cheaper, simpler, and safer than other current approaches.
Professor KWK Yeung, Department of Orthopaedics and Traumatology
Kelvin Yeung has been passionate about applied orthopaedic biomaterial research and translation for more than 20 years. His major research areas include orthopedic biomaterials, antibacterial coatings, 3D bio-printing and musculoskeletal tissue engineering.
He is currently a tenured full professor in the Department of Orthopaedics and Traumatology, The University of Hong Kong, Director of Research Laboratory of Orthopaedic Centre & Deputy Director of Shenzhen Key Laboratory for Innovative Technology in Orthopaedic Trauma, The University of Hong Kong Shenzhen Hospital. His h-index is 60 (Scopus) with 12,000> citations and 67 (Google Scholar) with 15,000> citations. He has been consecutively ranked as the World’s Top 1% of Scientists in the field of biomaterials by Clarivate Analytics’ Essential Science Indicators (ESI) from 2014 to 2021. In addition to publishing more than 270 peer-reviewed SCI journal papers and filing 41 full patents in various countries, he co-founded OrthoSmart Limited with two senior colleagues to adapt their research findings for clinical use. He was the interim CEO and now serves as one of the directors in this startup company. Furthermore, he has been invited to act as a consultant for several medical device and biomaterial corporations.
During these years, he participated in local and regional competitions and received a number of awards and scholarships, including the Young Scientist Award 2005 and the Young Engineer Award 2009 and Faculty Research Output Award 2019. For projects in which he has acted in the capacity of principal investigator or co-principal investigator, he has received over HK$83,000,000. Furthermore, he has received 20 prizes and awards from local and international competitions and conferences. He has been invited to deliver 80 plenary lectures, keynotes or invited talks at international and regional conferences. Professor Yeung is an active member of local and international academic bodies and has served in several executive positions. He is also the Associate Editor of Bioactive Materials Journal (Impact factor (2019): 14.593, Ranking: 1/40 in materials science (Biomaterials)).
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HKUMed MBBS students interested in the Master of Research in Medicine (MRes[Med]) programme may visit the programme website for more information.
HKUMed UG students interested in the Undergraduate Research Internship Scheme (URIS) may visit the scheme’s website for more information.