Research Projects
Transcriptomics in Adult- and Paediatric-Onset Minimal Change Nephropathy

Programme(s) to which this project applies:

☑ MPhil/PhD ☒ MRes[Med] ☒ URIS

Minimal change nephropathy (MCN) is an important cause of nephrotic syndrome in children and adults. This project will investigate the transcriptomics in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) obtained from adult- and paediatric-onset MCN patients. The results will unveil the pathogenetic mechanisms of MCN and explain the difference in clinical behaviour of MCN in adults and children.

Professor DYH Yap, Department of Medicine

Professor Desmond Yat-Hin Yap joined the University Department of Medicine after his graduation from MBBS at the University of Hong Kong. He further pursued his Doctor of Medicine (MD) and Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degree at the University of Hong Kong, both along the study of disease pathogenesis and immunosuppressive therapies in lupus nephritis.

His current major research theme is immune-mediated glomerular diseases, with emphasis on lupus nephritis which is an important cause of renal failure especially in Asia. Importantly, his team is the first to report long-term outcomes of treatment with mycophenolate (the most commonly used standard-of-care, pioneered by his group) in lupus nephritis patients, and his work has elucidated the risk factors leading to disease relapse and also explored novel biomarkers for disease activity monitoring. Professor Yap was the co-First author for the Asian Guidelines for the management of lupus nephritis, published in the official journals of regional nephrology and rheumatology societies [Nephrology (Carlton) 2014; 19: 11-20 & Int J Rheum Dis 2013; 16: 25-36], and the first author of many invited reviews on disease pathogenesis and treatment of lupus nephritis. He received the Hong Kong Society of Nephrology Young Investigator Award in 2009 for his research on serum immunoglobulin binding activity to human mesangial cells in lupus nephritis. Funded by the Li Shu Pui Clinical Fellowship (2014-2015), Dr Yap worked as a research fellow at the Fiebiger-Nikolaus Centre, Friedrich-Alexander University, Germany to study B cell homeostasis in immune-mediated diseases.

Professor Yap’s other research interest pertains to infective complications in renal failure patients, focusing on viral hepatitis in kidney transplant recipients and peritoneal dialysis-related peritonitis. He is a co-author for the chapter on infection control in a nephrology clinical practice guidelines to be jointly published by the Hospital Authority Central Renal Committee and the Hong Kong College of Physicians.

Professor Yap was awarded the LKS Faculty Teaching Medal in 2019, in recognition of his contributions in teaching and curriculum development. He also serves as Council Member of various important professional societies including the Hong Kong Society of Nephrology, Hong Kong Society of Transplantation and the Hong Kong Society for Histocompatibility and Immunogenetics. Professor Yap is currently Subject Editor for Nephrology, the official journal of the Asian Pacific Society of Nephrology.


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.