Research Projects
Study of precise treatment to premature ovarian insufficiency based on follicle in vitro activation (SZSTI)

Programme(s) to which this project applies:

☑ MPhil/PhD ☒ MRes[Med] ☒ URIS

In vitro fertilization is an effective treatment for various causes of infertility. However, management of women with the poor ovarian response (POR) or premature ovarian insufficiency (POI) remains challenging because these women have under-developed small ovarian follicles that do not respond to hormone treatment. In vitro activation (IVA) of small follicles has been developed but its efficiency has much room for improvement. In the current project, we plan to look for novel drugs that can stimulate the development of small follicles that can be used in IVF clinics. Our recent work provided several lines of evidence showing that certain drugs can specifically promote the development of mouse ovarian follicles from the primary to the secondary stage, which greatly potentiates these small follicles for subsequent in vivo development into antral follicles that can be ovulated. Our goal is to screen for more drugs that can be used as potential treatments to increase the success rate of IVA in small human follicles.

Prof K Liu, Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology

Professor. Liu obtained his Ph.D. from Umeå University, Sweden in September 1999. After his postdoctoral period at Harvard Medical School, USA, he became an assistant professor in 2003 at Umeå University, Sweden. He became a professor in 2010 at Umea University and Gothenburg University, Sweden, and moved to the University of Hong Kong in 2018. Ever since he established his own research group, he has been studying mechanisms of female germ cell development, especially on the topic of activation of primordial follicles. In the past years, his group has published papers in top journals such as Science, PNAS, Current Biology, Journal of Cell Biology, Cell Research, and Nature Medicine. The studies published not only represent advances in basic research but also have the implication for translating into the possible novel treatment of female infertility. 

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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.