Research Projects
Single-Cell Lineage Maps of Blood/immune Cells in Human Organoids

Programme(s) to which this project applies:

☑ MPhil/PhD ☒ MRes[Med] ☒ URIS
About the Project

Blood/immune cells sustain life through oxygen supply, resistance to infection, and gatekeeping cancer cells. We developed a powerful stem cell culture system that allowed us to recapitulate blood/immune cell development in human organoids. What are the lineage relationships of human blood/immune cells? The analysis of lineage relationships represents a research area of fundamental importance as a major framework for regenerative medicine and genetic disorders. In this highly collaborative project, we will focus on improving our understanding of lineage specification in the developing blood/immune system. The PhD student will be involved in the generation and analysis of blood/immune cells in human organoids. They will use single-cell RNA-seq and novel single-cell barcoding technology and analyse cellular types and its lineage. Through collaboration with informaticians, we will create single-cell lineage maps of blood/immune cells in human organoids. Methods to be used: molecular biology methods, organoid formation, cell culture, stem cell differentiation, single-cell RNA-seq, and bioinformatics analysis. This highly collaborative project will additionally involve the laboratories of Prof Pengtao Liu (HKU) who is an expert in expanded potential stem cells and Prof Bertie Gottgens (Cambridge) who has strong expertise in bioinformatics analysis of hematopoietic development.

About the Supervisor

Dr RR Sugimura, School of Biomedical Sciences

Dr Rio Sugimura received his M.D. from Osaka University, Japan, in 2008, and his PhD in Stem Cells and Regeneration from Stowers Institute, USA, in 2012. He has been trained in the world-leading institutes, Harvard Medical School and Kyoto University. He is currently an Assistant Professor in the School of Biomedical Sciences, The University of Hong Kong. He is also an International Member of the American Society of Hematology. He is a Full Faculty Member of F1000.

Dr Sugimura is an accomplished scientist, recognised for his outstanding contributions to the field of haematology and stem cell biology. He is interested in using the single-cell barcoding technology to delineate single-cell lineage maps of blood/immune cells in human organoids and exploring druggable targets of anti-cancer immunity. He has published more than 12 peer-reviewed in leading journals such as Nature, Cell, Genes & Development, etc. receiving a citation of 1,163 (Google Scholar).

Google Scholar

Next Step?

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