Research Projects
Social Dynamics, Resilience, and Mental Health

Programme(s) to which this project applies:

☒ MPhil/PhD ☑ MRes[Med] ☒ URIS

Objective and Significance:

The WHO proposition that there can be “no health without mental health” is substantiated by the highly prevalent, disabling and recurrent nature of mood disorders. Mood disorders are leading causes of disability in the world and one in ten individuals around the world will develop mood disorders in their lifetime. Depression is the most common psychiatric condition seen in primary care yet only around half of the individuals with depression are detected in Hong Kong and elsewhere.

We accordingly focus upstream to examine the prevailing and emerging determinants of mental health.

Professor MY Ni, School of Public Health

Professor Michael Ni is currently Clinical Associate Professor in the Division of Community Medicine and Public Health Practice. He trained in internal medicine at Queen Mary Hospital, pursued postgraduate studies at Harvard University, and obtained a higher doctorate by research in psychiatric epidemiology from the University of Hong Kong. Professor Ni is a specialist in public health medicine and has been conferred Fellowships by the Hong Kong Academy of Medicine (Community Medicine), Hong Kong College of Community Medicine, and the United Kingdom’s Faculty of Public Health, and Membership of the Royal College of Physicians.

As a public health physician, Professor Ni’s interdisciplinary research spans across different fields while maintaining a focus on population mental health. His primary area of research is in psychiatric epidemiology, and revolves around prevailing and emerging determinants of mental health. Since 2014, Professor Ni’s research programme has been supported by over 35 grants, including 20 as PI or Co-PI with funding over HK$100 million.

Professor Ni is Programme Director for the FAMILY Cohort (n=46,001), a large population-based cohort study in Hong Kong. He serves as a Principal Investigator and on the Executive Committee of the State Key Laboratory of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, and holds a joint appointment with the Faculty of Architecture. Professor Ni is the Principal Investigator for the World Health Organization World Mental Health Composite International Diagnostic Interview-5 in Hong Kong. He is responsible for coordinating modules in both the undergraduate medical and postgraduate public health curricula. Professor Ni’s research has been cited in BBC, Bloomberg, CNN, The Guardian, among others.


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.