Research Projects
Organoid-Based Investigations of Virus-Host Interaction

Programme(s) to which this project applies:

☑ MPhil/PhD ☒ MRes[Med] ☒ URIS

Virus research has come back to the limelight due to the emerging and re-emerging viruses, even devastating viruses, in the past decades. Conventionally, in vitro studies of virus-host interaction have hinged on the immortalised and cancer-derived cell lines that comprise homogenous clonal cells. Unfortunately, these cell lines can barely model native human epithelia, which are composed of multiple cell populations. Thus, a biologically relevant and readily available in vitro model system is desperately needed to understand virus-host interaction. The major contribution of our team to the field includes establishing organoids for modelling and studying virus-host interaction. 

The PhD project will focus on developing organoids studying clinically important viruses, especially human enteric and respiratory viruses. These researches will reveal viral infection and virus-host interaction in an exciting and unprecedented perspective. 

We are looking for candidates who are self-motivated and experienced in cellular biology and virology.

Professor JJ Zhou, Department of Microbiology

Professor Zhou has developed a research focus of establishing adult stem cell-derived organoids for studying virus-host interaction. We have established human lung and intestinal organoid culture platforms for investigating an array of human respiratory and enteric viruses.


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.