Research Projects
Epidemiology, Prediction and Translational Studies in Acute Kidney Injury

Programme(s) to which this project applies:

☑ MPhil/PhD ☑ MRes[Med] ☑ URIS

We aim to research the underlying clinical and molecular epidemiology of acute kidney injury with the aim of developing pragmatic and clinically relevant prediction tools. An understanding of the clinical and molecular changes of acute kidney injury will lead to applications in molecular classification, screening, prevention, detection, diagnostics, prognostics and therapeutics.

The Emergency Medicine Unit at The University of Hong Kong began in 2014. It aims to become a world leading, biomedical, translational research facility, renowned for addressing the grand challenges of this age in acute illness and injury. Specifically, our team of clinical and laboratory scientists, staff and students collaborate locally and internationally on the translational continuum of discovery, utility, implementation and public health impact in acute kidney injury. The scope of our work covers the spectrum from biomolecular discoveries and mechanisms of disease through to clinical utility and economic benefits. We start with diagnostics and prognostics and move towards vaccinations and therapeutics.

For over 25 years members of our group have been studying potential applications of liquid biopsy nucleic acids and proteomics as early molecular biomarkers and diagnostics in acute conditions. We have previously made discoveries in circulating DNA, mRNA and miRNAs for early detection and prognosis in trauma, stroke, acute coronary syndrome and acute appendicitis. This work produced two patents. We were the first to characterise the early and late changes in circulating nucleic acids in trauma, stroke, acute coronary syndrome and the acute abdomen and to present their diagnostic and prognostic potential. For example, we showed that plasma DNA is elevated within an hour of trauma and that these changes predicted multiple organ failure and mortality and remained elevated for days. We have also investigated real world applications of important proteins and their applications in infectious disease.

Our team in Hong Kong will pioneer a translational programme focusing on the potential for circulating biomarkers as diagnostic and prognostic markers in patients with acute kidney injury. The University of Hong Kong has world-class facilities for omics research that are available for hospital front door, translational research. We plan to use our clinical and molecular discoveries to develop and validate diagnostic and prognostic tools in clinical practice.

Prof TH Rainer, Department of Emergency Medicine

Professor RAINER Timothy Hudson is a Clinical Professor and the Head of the Department of Emergency Medicine at the Li Ka Shing Faculty of Medicine at The University of Hong Kong. He is also an Honorary Consultant in the Department of Emergency Medicine at Queen Mary Hospital.

He has published in many high impact journals, including the British Medical Journal, Annals of Internal Medicine and Clinical Chemistry. His pragmatic innovative research has made Hong Kong a leader in emergency medicine research.

This new initiative is seeking Theme-Based Research Scheme (TBRS) funding, angel investors as well as partnerships with major pharmaceutical and diagnostic companies.

Research Gate

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.