Research Projects
Investigating the Impact of Systemic Immune Responses in Neuroimmune Responses and Neurodegeneration

Programme(s) to which this project applies:

☑ MPhil/PhD ☑ MRes[Med] ☑ URIS

We are using zebrafish and cre-lox mice as experimental models in our laboratory. We investigate how peripheral body injury affect infiltration of immune cells in the brain in zebrafish. We employ laparotomy and periodontitis in mice for this study. We use quantitative PCR, Western-blot, and AAV to study pathological genes and proteins. We will also use transparent brain method to investigate cell-cell interactions and neuronal paths. Interested students should have laboratory experiences in either mice or zebrafish. Candidate should have acquired laboratory skills in one or two of techniques we use. More importantly, candidate should be able to graduate with first class honour because of the requirement of Hong Kong PhD Scheme.

Professor RCC Chang, School of Biomedical Sciences

Professor Chang’s research interest is on four directions.

  1. Pathophysiological changes of Alzheimer’s disease (AD),
  2. How different risk factors (post-operative cognitive dysfunctions, periodontitis, depression, cigarette smoking, air pollutants) stimulate systemic inflammation to affect neuroimmune responses leading to AD,
  3. Spreading of neurodegeneration in Parkinson’s disease dementia, and
  4. Neurodegeneration of the retina and deterioration of visual functions in Alzheimer’s disease.

He has published over 170 peer-reviewed papers, 15 book chapters and edited 5 books in these areas. His h-index is 47 by Scopus. He is also listed as top 1% scholar since 2018.


Selected Publications (* = corresponding author)

  1. Lee K, Lai HM, Sørensen MH, Hui ESK, Ma VWS, Cho WCS, Ho YS, Chang RCC* (2021) Optimized tissue clearing minimizes distortion and destruction during tissue delipidation. Neuropathol. Applied Neurobiol., 47, 441-453 (doi: 10.1111/nan.12673). [Corresponding author; Impact factor: 8.09; Rank of Journal: 4/90 (Top: 4.44%) in the field of Pathology]
  2. Chen XK, Kwan JSK, Chang RCC*, Ma ACH (2021) 1-Phenyl 2-thiourea (PTU) activates autophagy in zebrafish embryos. Autophagy, 17, 1222-1231 (doi: 10.1080/15548627.2020.1755119). [Co-correspondence author; Impact factor: 16.016; Rank of Journal: 14/201 (Top 6.97%) in the field of Cell Biology]
  3. Liu Y, Chu JMT, Yan T, Zhang Y, Chen Y, Chang RCC*, Wong GTC (2020) Short-term resistance exercise inhibits neuroinflammation and attenuates neuropathological changes in 3xTg Alzheimer’s disease mice. J Neuroinflamm., 17, 4 (doi: 10.1186/s12974-019-1653-7). [Co-correspondence author; Impact factor: 8.322; Rank of Journal: 23/293 (Top 7.9%) in the field of Neuroscience]
  4. You R, Ho YS, Hung CHL, Liu Y, Huang CX, Chan HN, Ho SL, Lui SY, Li HW, Chang RCC* (2018) Silica nanoparticles induce neurodegeneration-like changes in behavior, neuropathology, and affect synapse through MAPK activation. Particle Fibre Toxicol., 15: 28 (doi: 10.1186/s12989-018-0263-3). [Correspondence author; Impact factor: 9.4; Rank of Journal: 3/99 (Top 3.03%) in the field of Toxicology]
  5. Hung CHL, Cheng SSY, Cheung YT, Wuwongse S, Zhang NQ, Ho YS, Lee SMY, Chang RCC* (2018) A reciprocal relationship between reactive oxygen species and mitochondrial dynamics in neurodegeneration. Redox Biol., 14, 7-19 (doi: 10.1016/j.redox.2017.08.010). [Corresponding author; Impact factor: 11.799; Rank of Journal: 21/313 (Top 6.7%) in the field of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology]
  6. Huang CX, Irwin MG, Wong GTC, Chang RCC* (2018) Evidence of the impact of systemic inflammation on neuroinflammation from a non-bacterial endotoxin animal model. J. Neuroinflamm, 15, 147 (doi: 10.1186/s12974-018-1163-z). [Correspondence author; Impact factor: 8.322; Rank of Journal: 23/293 (Top 7.85%) in the field of Neuroscience


Research Grants

Research in this laboratory is supported by GRF, HMRF, ITC, RGC-NSFC, BrightFocus Foundation. 


Community Services

Professor Chang is the Chief Editor for American Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease and Other Dementias, Senior Editor/Asia Chief Editor for Journal of Neuroimmune Pharmacology, Associate handling Editor for Frontiers in Neurology, Frontiers in Neurosciences and Frontiers in Psychiatry. He is in the Scientific Advisory Board of International AD/PD Symposium, and Scientific Review Committee in Alzheimer Association. He is the member of editorial board of more than 20 different journals, and grant reviewer for different grant agencies/Foundations for different countries. He is the reviewer and speaker to make decision for the final round of grant proposal for Alzheimer Association, USA. Apart from Scientific community, Professor Chang has obtain Knowledge Exchange Fund to promote neuroscience and biotechnology education in high school.


HKU Scholars Hub
Laboratory Facebook

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.