Research Projects
Discovery and Mechanistic Evaluation of Novel Antivirals for Emerging and Re-Emerging Viral Infections

Programme(s) to which this project applies:

☑ MPhil/PhD ☑ MRes[Med] ☑ URIS


Emerging and re-emerging viruses such as SARS-CoV-2 and MERS coronaviruses, Zika and dengue viruses, and enteroviruses are associated with significant morbidity, mortality, and socioeconomic disruptions. There is a lack of effective treatments for most of these emerging and re-emerging viral infections. In this project, the students will be provided the opportunity to learn the techniques in identifying novel antivirals and evaluating them in suitable in vitro, ex vivo, and/or in vivo models. The students will also be involved in conducting experiments to investigate the antiviral mechanisms of the identified drug candidates. These translational research experiences will help the students to develop an in-depth understanding on linking the bedside with the bench for combating infectious diseases.

Objectives & Intended Student Learning Outcomes:

1. Become knowledgeable in the clinical relevance of emerging viruses and their potential treatments.

2. Become familiar with different drug discovery approaches used for identifying novel antivirals.

3. Become competent in performing various in vitro antiviral assays for the identified drug candidates.

4. Gain exposure to ex vivo and/or in vivo antiviral evaluation models.

5. Gain experience in conducting mechanistic studies for the identified drug candidates.

6. Contribute to publications in international peer-review journals.

Research Plan and Methodology:

Learning activities and Research Plan/Methodology:

1. Hands-on laboratory works on conducting antiviral identification using different state-of-the-art approaches.

2. Antiviral evaluation studies for emerging and re-emerging viruses in different experimental systems, including but not limited to, in vitro antiviral assays, ex vivo organ culture systems, animal models.

3. Mechanistic studies of antivirals.

4. Attendance and presentation in laboratory research round meetings.

5. Face-to-face communications with supervisor, senior research staff, and postgraduate research students.

6. Dissertation writing.

Professor JFW Chan, Department of Microbiology

HKU Scholars Hub

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.