Research Projects
Determinants of Liver Fibrosis and Cirrhosis: Viral Hepatitis, Steatosis and the Gut Microbiome

Programme(s) to which this project applies:

☒ MPhil/PhD ☑ MRes[Med] ☒ URIS

Objective and Significance:
To characterize determinants of advanced liver disease, i.e. severe liver fibrosis and cirrhosis, based on novel clinical and laboratory-based diagnostics

Research Plan and Methodology:
We have an established registry of patients with advanced liver disease, including patients with chronic hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. We aim to investigate the role of emerging and novel markers in predicting liver-related outcomes.

Novel markers include:

  • Viral markers for HBV, which reflect different parts of the HBV life cycle;
  • Imaging techniques facilitating accurate quantification of fibrosis and steatosis;
  • Stool biomarkers reflective of the gut microbiome, reflecting microbial dysbiosis along the gut-liver axis.

We will explore the observational and interventional role of such markers in the management of advanced liver disease.

Professor MKS Cheung, Department of Medicine

Professor Michael Ka Shing Cheung has experience in teaching medical students in conducting clinical research. All students under his guidance have published journal articles (up to 4 articles per student; highest impact factor up to 8.9). 

Professor Michael Ka Shing Cheung graduated from The University of Hong Kong in 2008, and received his Fellowship in Gastroenterology and Hepatology in 2015. He obtained his Master of Public Health degree with distinction in 2016 and Doctor of Medicine degree (with Sir Patrick Manson Gold Medal) in 2020. He is currently the Clinical Associate Professor at the Department of Medicine, the University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong. He is also the honorary consultant at the University of Hong Kong-Shenzhen Hospital, Shenzhen, China, and honorary consultant at Queen Mary Hospital. Dr. Cheung’s research interests are gastrointestinal oncology (including gastric cancer, colorectal cancer, liver cancer), Helicobacter pylori and gut microbiota. He has published more than 130 international peer-reviewed journal articles since 2016 (with an h-index of 35 and over 5800 cumulative citations), including first-authored articles in Gastroenterology, Gut, Liver Cancer, Diabetes Care and Journal of the National Cancer Institute. He was invited to deliver 60 presentations (including plenary oral session) and lectures at international and local conferences and institutions. In addition, he has been invited to be the reviewer of top peer-reviewed journals including Gastroenterology, Gut, eClinicalMedicine, Clinical Gastroenterology & Hepatology, Alimentary Pharmacology & Therapeutics and Hepatology International. 

Professor Cheung has received 26 international and local awards including Professor Anthony Hedley Prize in Public Health for the highest place, Sir Patrick Manson Gold Medal for his Doctor of Medicine, National Scholar Award of United European Gastroenterology Week in 2021 and APDWF/JGHF Young Investigator's Award of Asian Pacific Digestive Week in 2017. 




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.