Research Projects
Host factors that determine severity of influenza and COVID-19 disease

Programme(s) to which this project applies:

☑ MPhil/PhD ☑ MRes[Med] ☒ URIS

Severe disease in influenza and COVID-19 is associated with lung damage due to inflammation triggered by infection, rather than the infection itself. Whilst inflammation is an essential defence mechanism, excessive or uncontrolled inflammation leads to tissue damage, pneumonia and acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). A close correlation between inflammation and severe disease has been shown in influenza and COVID-19. However, an understanding of the complexities of the systemic inflammatory response to these viruses is lacking. The goal of this study is to identify and study potential gene targets that mediate the development of severe disease. This project uses animal and cell culture models of infection and disease and techniques including immunophenotyping, single cell transcriptomics and gene silencing and knockout.

Dr MP Zanin, School of Public Health

My research is focused on zoonotic viral respiratory pathogens. I seek to understand (i) host and viral factors that underlie the transmission of avian influenza viruses in mammals, and, (ii) which host responses lead to severe influenza and COVID-19 disease.

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.