School of Nursing

Research Questions

  • What are the care innovations to address behavioural risk factors, particularly on smoking, alcohol consumption, obesity, insomnia, mental and homosexual health for the different age cohorts?
  • What are the care innovations to enhance women’s health along the life course?
  • What are the care innovations to enhance cardiovascular, metabolic and neurological disease management from the functional, survival, economic and caregiving perspectives?
  • What are the care innovations to enhance the quality of life, end-of-life decision making, palliative care outcomes and survivorship of patients with cancer and end-stage organ failure?
  • What are the care innovations to address the global research agenda in promoting mental wellness along the life course?
  • What are the innovative health solutions based on technological, clinical and humanistic perspectives to tackle the health challenges associated global population ageing, particularly frailty and sarcopenia?
  • What are the innovative care models to enhance the health outcomes and/or optimise the formal and informal care capacity in tackling chronic disease burden associated with ageing?
School of Nursing
Research Areas

1. Ageing and Chronic Diseases

1.1. Cancer and Palliative Care

Our thematic research group focuses on a wide variety of empirical interdisciplinary and collaborative research, which contributes toward enhancing the experience and outcomes of cancer patients. Our researchers run major programmes to transform knowledge on symptom assessment, biological mechanisms for symptom management, psychosocial needs of cancer patients, interventions related to supportive care, ethical and legal issues in the practice of advance directives and living will, and end-of-life decision making. Our long-term vision is to develop new knowledge and inform clinical practice to improve the quality and effectiveness of care delivered by nurses and other healthcare professionals.

1.2 Gerontology and Long-term Care

This thematic research group focuses on the several global research priorities in tackling the impact of rapid population aging. First, in this Decade of Healthy Aging, we have a solid research track record in promoting the intrinsic capacity of older adults through risk factor modification including sarcopenia, frailty, cognitive decline and social loneliness. Second, by integrating the clinical, tele-medicine and behavioural science, this group has developed various innovative practices to enhance the health outcomes and self-care of persons with prevalent cerebrovascular and cardiovascular diseases, particularly Parkinson’s disease, stroke, coronary heart disease and heart failure. Third, cognitive heath is also a key research priority of the group, and we have extensively used the strength-based concept to develop lifestyle interventions, caregiver empowerment and dyadic care model to enhance dementia prevention and management in a family context. Last but not the least, our research extend to building the capacity of informal care including family caregivers and volunteers to buffer the overstretched aged care service. 


2. Primary Care and Behavioural Health

2.1. Community and Mental Health Nursing

We focus on the development of effective strategies that benefits our communities in mental well-being and quality of life. We have delved into community projects that cover the areas of child and adolescent health, sexual and reproductive health, behavioural health and chronic disease management. We have conducted multi-centred randomised controlled trials, population-based epidemiological studies, community-based health promotion projects, neurological imaging studies, and other novel designed studies with new technology. Our work has influenced policies and clinical recommendations of both national and international agencies in areas such as breastfeeding and scoliosis screening.

2.2. Smoking Cessation and Tobacco Control

We are one of the leading international research teams on smoking cessation and tobacco control policy. The team has continuously transformed smoking cessation services and influenced tobacco control policies worldwide. Our smoking intervention models have been widely adopted by smoking-cessation providers in Hong Kong, and have informed development of smoking cessation services in the WHO West Pacific Region. The research team has provided >50 Smoking Cessation Counsellor Training Programs to >2000 nurses, physicians, pharmacists, community social workers and students in Hong Kong over the past 2 decades. Every year since 2013, we have conducted large-scale randomised controlled trials to examine the effectiveness of various novel smoking cessation intervention models via a ‘Quit Win Contest’, to build capacity and promote smoking cessation in 18 districts in Hong Kong. Our World’s first peer-led HKU Youth Quitline (since 2005) has been recognised as a Core Partner of the WHO Collaborating Centre for Smoking Cessation and Treatment of Tobacco Dependence. The team also obtained numerous external competitive grants, including GRF and HMRF to conduct large-scale pragmatic randomized controlled trails focusing on finding cost-effective, scalable and sustainable intervention for preventing and promoting smoking cessation amongst smokers in clinical and community settings. Our research findings have been published in top international journals with high impacts on clinical applications locally and internationally. Finally, since 2013 our large territory-wide smoking-related policy surveys have provided key evidence on tobacco industry de-normalisation, the negligible effects of taxation on smuggling, the adverse effects of e-cigarette use on respiratory symptoms in adolescents, the null and probable adverse effects of e-cigarettes on quitting in youth smokers and adult smokers, and the public support for e-cigarette regulation and plain packaging and the tobacco ‘endgame’.



Dr DYT Fong

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 DYT Fong

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

Our Students


Place of Origin: Japan
Progress: PhD Year 3
Supervisor: Professor C Lin

"I hope my research findings can inform best practices in an evidence-based manner."

As an advocate for the efficacy of exercise in patient care, Naomi Takemura is passionate about exercise intervention in patients with advanced lung cancer, "While most hold a belief that patients with advanced lung cancer are fragile, and their symptoms can only be mitigated by various cancer treatments, we propose that exercise as a non-pharmacological intervention can help improve their overall physical and psychological well-being in my current study."

Although the long-term treatment effects of exercise remain to be seen, Naomi has already generated preliminary findings suggesting that both aerobic and mind-body exercises are effective in abating psychological distress and promoting physical function among patients.

“Keep exercising, this is what I have been doing every day as well!

December 2020