Research Projects
Early Psychosis and Bipolar Disorder: neurocognitive, neuroimaging, clinical and functional outcome evaluation

Programme(s) to which this project applies:

☑ MPhil/PhD ☒ MRes[Med] ☑ URIS

Severe mental disorders including schizophrenia (and related psychoses) and bipolar disorder affect 2-3% of the population and constitute one of the leading causes of disability worldwide. Better understanding of the early course of illness, in particular the trajectory of clinical, functional and neurocognitive impairment, is critical for development of targeted intervention to modify long-term prognosis. In the current study, we conduct a well-characterized early-stage psychotic disorder and bipolar disorder cohort study with an aim to systematically examine clinical (symptom assessments), functional, neurocognitive outcomes (standardized cognitive battery), and neuroimaging measures. The study results will facilitate development of more individualized risk model for treatment outcome prediction, and hence delivery of effective interventions to promote early recovery.

Professor WC Chang, Department of Psychiatry

Professor WC Chang is a Clinical Associate Professor and Department Chairperson of the Department of Psychiatry at the School of Clinical Medicine, LKS Faculty of Medicine and a Principal Investigator of the State Key Laboratory of Brain & Cognitive Sciences, University of Hong Kong. He is a Fellow of the Royal College of Psychiatrists (UK), the Hong Kong College of Psychiatrists, Vice-President of the HK College of Psychiatrists and Member of the Advisory Committee on Mental Health of the Health Bureau. Professor Chang’s research interests include early intervention for psychosis, outcomes of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, clinical high-risk and psychosis prediction, negative symptoms, reinforcement learning and related paradigms for amotivation, as well as the impact of major mental disorders and psychotropics on physical health outcomes. He has published more than 200 articles in international peer-reviewed journals, including more than 70 first-/corresponding authored articles and 6 book chapters. He has been a HKU Scholars in the Top 1% for 5 consecutive years since 2019, and has received several research awards including such as the Early Psychosis Association Young Investigator Award, and the NARSAD Young Investigator Award by Brain & Behavior Research Foundation.

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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

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.