Programme(s) to which this project applies:

☑ MPhil/PhD ☒ MRes[Med] ☒ URIS

Cryo-electron tomography (cryoET) has gained increasing importance to study molecular architectures of viruses, bacteria and cellular components in situ. It can provide structures of macromolecular complexes in situ and in cellular context at or below subnanometer resolution. Combined with cryo-focused ion beam (cryo-FIB) milling for sample preparation this has led to unprecedented insights into the inner working of molecular machines in their native environment, as well as their functional relevant conformations and spatial distribution within biological cells or tissues. Despite its rapid development in recent years, many hardware and software are still evolving to address the increasing challenges due to the complexity of biological systems. 

We are looking for candidates with strong interest in data processing and software development. The specific projects will be determined together with PI and student and potential directions include but not limit to:

  1. Development of hardware and software for automated high-throughput cryoET data collection and pre-processing; 
  2. Method development for cryoET data analysis and subtomogram averaging, such as using Artificial Intelligence (AI) based approach for target recognition;
  3. Methods development and optimisation for cryogenic correlative light and electron microscopy (cryo-CLEM).

Dr T Ni, School of Biomedical Sciences

Dr Ni is an Assistant Professor in the School of Biomedical Sciences at HKU. Prior to joining to HKU, he was a postdoctoral research fellow at the University of Oxford and visitor scientist at eBIC working on HIV capsid and carboxysomes using cryoEM and cryoET subtomogram averaging. Dr Ni completed his Bachelor in Biological Sciences degree in Nankai University (2008-2012) and PhD in structural biology in the University of Oxford (2012-2016).

 Laboratory Homepage

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.