Research Projects
PhD at The University of Hong Kong in Protein and Stem Cell Engineering

Programme(s) to which this project applies:

☑ MPhil/PhD ☒ MRes[Med] ☒ URIS
About the Project

My laboratory studies how transcription factors read the genomic code to toggle the switches that turn genes on and off to give cells their identity. We use structural analyses, biochemical assays, genomics and cell fate reprogramming in our research. The new knowledge gleaned from these analyses is the applied to re-engineer driver molecules that change cell states in order to more effectively manipulate cells in a dish. By protein engineering, we can switch and drastically improve the function of factors the give cells new identities. To advance these efforts, we devised a method for the directed molecular evolution in mammalian to identify artificially evolved and enhanced transcription factors (eTFs). Ongoing projects will focus to apply this platform in lineage reprogramming and the differentiation of pluripotent cells to push the boundaries for the production of functional cells for the study of diseases and regenerative therapies.

Example projects:

  1. Technologies for cell fate reprogramming and stem cell differentiation
  2. Rational protein design and directed molecular evolution of reprogramming factors
  3. Sequence-structure-function analysis of engineered ‘super TFs’
  4. Authentic cell models for neurodegenerative disease
About the Supervisor

Dr R Jauch, School of Biomedical Sciences

Ralf Jauch joined the School of Biomedical Sciences at the University of Hong Kong as Associate Professor in 2018. He did his undergraduate studies at the Friedrich-Schiller-University in Jena, Germany, and the University of Manchester and obtained his PhD degree in 2005 at the Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry in Göttingen. In 2006, he joined the Genome Institute of Singapore, A*STAR, and stayed for seven years as a PostDoc and Research Scientist. From 2013-2018, he was a Principal Investigator at the Guangzhou Institutes of Biomedicine and Health, Chinese Academy of Sciences, where he helped to set up the GIBH - Max Planck Center for Regenerative Biomedicine. The culturally diverse laboratory currently has nine members.


Next Step?

For more information or to express interest for this project, please email the supervisor or the specified contact point in the project 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).

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