Research Postgraduate Studies
Department of Pharmacology and Pharmacy


Department of Pharmacology and Pharmacy


Research Questions

  • How do we design nanoparticles to improve the delivery of RNA therapeutics?
  • How to expedite new drug development and revive problematic drugs using cocrystal engineering and nanotechnology?
  • What are the new potential drug targets for anti-aging and obesity-related diseases?
  • What is the relationship of gut microbiota with Toll-like receptors in cardiometabolic diseases?
  • What is the new potential therapeutic strategy for ischemic stroke?
  • What is the role of physical-mental multimorbidity in determining the risk of adverse events of drug prescriptions and other medical interventions?
  • How to deliver drugs specifically to disease sites through light activation?
  • What is the unmet needs in patients with autoimmune diseases, and how to use big-data decision analytics to figure out a cost-effective solution?
  • How does prenatal and early exposure influence children’s health and wellbeing based on their genotype?
  • What happen inside endothelial and smooth muscle cells? how to regulate them? and what is their relationship with human health?
  • How does drug affect endothelial and smooth muscle cells?
  • How can we improve the understanding and clinical management of osteoporosis and its comorbidities?
Researcher at the Department of Pharmacology and Pharmacy
Research Areas

1. Cardiovascular and Respiratory Research

  • Examination of the signalling pathways involved in the regulation of vascular tone under physiological and pathological situations
  • Mechanistic study of the vascular actions of clinically used drugs and natural products
  • Investigation of the role of ion channels in the function of vascular smooth muscle and endothelial cells
  • Examination of the physiology and pharmacology of nucleoside transporters and drug transporters in the cardiovascular system
  • Pharmacology and development of novel anti-angiogenic agents
  • Examination of the signalling pathways involved in the regulation of pulmonary function under physiological and pathological situations in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA), and the elucidation of potential therapeutic agents
  • Mechanistic study of the actions of natural products in mucus viscosity and secretion in airway epithelial cells
  • Mechanistic study of cellular effects of mesenchymal stem cells in the prevention and management of chronic airway diseases
Supervisor(s)

Dr SWS Leung

 

2. Ageing and Related Diseases

  • Sirtuin-1 (SIRT1) as a therapeutic target for ageing-related diseases
  • Drug development and evaluation in obesity-related cardio-metabolic diseases and cancer
  • Applying "omics" approaches for biomarker discovery and developments
  • Integrative study of the role of Toll-like receptors in metabolic diseases and their cardiovascular complications
  • Study of immuno-metabolism with a focus on metabolic function of Toll-like receptor mediated by cell signalling events
  • Gut microbiota in the evolutionary development of Toll-like receptor pathways
  • Adipocyte fatty acid binding protein as therapeutic target for obesity-related diseases
  • Identification of novel factors that regulate energy metabolism and have potential therapeutic effects on obesity and its related cardiometabolic complications
Supervisor(s)

Professor Y Wang

 

3. Drug Delivery and Translational Research

  • Development of novel intranasal, pulmonary and ocular drug delivery system
  • Delivery of therapeutic macromolecules including nucleic acids, genome editing systems (CRISPR/Cas9), monoclonal antibodies, proteins and peptides
  • Engineering stimuli-response nanomaterials for targeted drug delivery
  • Cocrystal research for improving drug delivery and manufacturability
  • Development of consistent and stable nanoparticle-based drug delivery systems for superior therapeutic outcomes
  • Novel strategies for enhancing drug solubility and stability
  • Rational design of drug formulations and manufacturing processes by proper statistical software and mathematical modelling
Supervisor(s)

Dr JKW Lam

 

4. Big Data for Medication Safety and Pharmacoeconomics

  • Population-based studies of drug safety and effectiveness to advance medication practice and pharmacoepidemiology research
  • Development of methodologies to predict future risk of cardiovascular events and adverse drug reactions using big data from population databases
  • Evaluation of the effectiveness and safety of medications used in the elderly, children, pregnancy and other special patient groups
  • Safety and effectiveness of cardiovascular drugs (e.g., anticoagulants, statins, aspirin) and effects on bone, liver, kidney and cancer
  • Post-marketing surveillance of safety of medications used in the management of respiratory disorders, psychiatric disorders and infectious diseases
  • Pharmacoeconomics of pharmacotherapy in chronic illness and public health interventions - determination of healthcare resource utilisation; analyses of oral anticoagulants, vaccinations, drug use in rare diseases using the willingness-to-pay concept, decision-analytic models and budget impact models
  • Design of interventional clinical trials to compare the effectiveness and safety of drugs used in the emergency setting for sedation, epilepsy and pain control
  • Clinical and pharmacy practice-based research to characterise drug-related problems and pharmacists' clinical intervention
  • Assessment of the appropriateness of medications in the older population
Supervisor(s)

Dr EWY Chan

 

5. Precision Medicine

  • Genetics and genomics study of endocrine disorders
  • Using integrative omics to develop new drugs and health supplement
  • Development of novel biomarker or prediction score for predicting clinical outcomes, such as incident disease, mortality, and treatment effectiveness (in endocrine disorders and cancer)
  • Evaluation of the effectiveness and safety of health supplement using randomized controlled trial, metabolomics, and animal study
  • Pharmacogenomics of serious drug-related adverse events and treatment effectiveness
Supervisor(s)

Dr CL Cheung

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:

Professor Y Wang
yuwanghk@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

Joseph BLAIS

Place of Origin: Canada
Progress: PhD Year 3
Supervisor: Dr EW Chan

“If you can, try to ‘test’ working with your supervisor and their lab to get to know their work culture before deciding to commit to a PhD.” 

Joseph Blais, a third year PhD student, came to Hong Kong 4 years ago from Canada, and quickly found himself involved in the research work of Dr Esther Chan, first as a research assistant at the Centre for Safe Medication Practice and Research, and then as her PhD student, investigating the use and effectiveness of cholesterol medications. 

“Since my supervisor works closely with the Hong Kong Hospital Authority, our lab has access to high-quality electronic health data.  By analysing different sources of real-world data we have a clearer understanding of how patients use cholesterol drugs in Hong Kong and internationally.” 

Reflecting on his research journey, Joe advises prospective applicants to get in touch with the lab and its current students to learn more about their projects, “I was lucky to work with my team for about 6 months before committing to a PhD…I realised I enjoyed research and decided to take advantage of the opportunity to do a PhD at HKU.”

December 2020