Research Areas

School of Chinese Medicine

Why is traditional Chinese medicine considered as great source for innovative technology for human health and drug development?

What is the scientific basis of traditional Chinese medicine which has long history and is effective for the treatment of many diseases?

Can the efficacies of Chinese herbal medicine and acupuncture be proved by using the approaches of evidence-based medicine?

Major Research Areas

Discover molecular mechanisms of inflammatory and fibrotic diseases and develop therapeutic approaches for these diseases:
Our ongoing projects include (1) explore the functional role of genes, proteins and signalling pathways, and immune regulations in kidney diseases and diabetes mellitus; (2) develop therapeutic approaches (gene therapy, Chinese medicine, and active compounds) to prevent and treat kidney diseases and diabetes; (3) evaluate effectiveness and safety of Chinese medicine in treating inflammatory and fibrotic diseases via the evidenced based approaches (clinical trials and systematic reviews).

Contact Person

Dr H.Y. Chen
Tel: 3917 6413
Fax: 2872 5476
Email: haiyong@hku.hk

Research and development of Chinese herbal medicine for the prevention and treatment of breast cancer:
The study will develop multidisciplinary approaches to evaluate the efficacy and potential mechanism of Chinese herbal medicine in the prevention and treatment of the recurrence and metastasis of breast cancer. The major research directions include (1) seeking and developing herbal formulae, herbs and active compounds for preventing or reducing recurrence & metastasis of breast cancer, and exploring the molecular mechanisms; (2) developing Chinese medicine to improve the effectiveness and decrease the side effects of chemotherapy drugs, including basic and clinical research; (3) developing nanoparticles of traditional Chinese medicine and exploring the advantages of combination drugs for the treatment of breast cancer.

Contact Person

Dr J.P. Chen
Tel: 3917 6479
Fax: 2872 5476
Email: abchen@hku.hk

Therapeutic principle of Chinese medicinal herbs for cancer, diabetic, hepatic and renal diseases:
The research will concentrate on the clinical trial and experimental study (cell and animal models) of Chinese medicinal herbs for cancer, diabetic, hepatic and renal diseases by using recently developed techniques in clinical study, molecular biology and immunology.

Pharmacology and toxicology of Chinese medicinal herbs:
The research will focus on the following topics: standardisation and quality control of Chinese medicinal herbs; pharmacological screening and safety evaluation of Chinese medicinal herbs; pharmacological action and its mechanism in Chinese medicinal herbs. The mid- and long-term plans of this research programme include the use of advanced technologies of omics and multiple disciplinary methodologies to analyse the Chinese herbal extract or phytocompound-responsive genes or protein expression profiles in terms of cancer, diabetic, hepatic and renal diseases. All these activities will lead to drug discovery for cancer, liver diseases, cancer, diabetic, hepatic and renal diseases.

Contact Person

Dr Y. Feng
Tel: 3917 6482
Fax: 2872 5476
Email: yfeng@hku.hk

Using an evidence-based approach to evaluate the efficacy and effectiveness of Chinese medicine and acupuncture on pain and related disorders.

Verify the effectiveness and mechanism of acupuncture and Chinese medicine using rigorous scientific design; conduct translational research that bridges basic science, clinical trials, and "real world" acupuncture and Chinese medicine clinical practice; examine the efficacy of acupuncture and Chinese medicine for the treatment of pain conditions, e.g. low back pain, post-operative pain, chronic pain, cancer pain, neuropathic pain, osteoarthritis, frozen shoulder, etc, and psychiatric disorders, e.g. depression, anxiety, and insomnia; develop research methodology related to acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine.

Contact Person

Professor L.X. Lao
Tel: 3917 6476
Fax: 2872 5476
Email: lxlao1@hku.hk

Stem cell technology for stroke and neurodegenerative disease and related drug discovery from Traditional Chinese Medicine:
The study will develop multidisciplinary approaches to explore molecular targets of neural stem cells and screen active ingredients of Chinese herbal medicine targeting on the molecular targets for stimulating neurogeneration and improving recovery of neurological functions. This is an international collaboration project that involves multidisciplinary scientists from mainland China, the USA and Hong Kong. The major research activities include (1) exploring the molecular mechanisms of promoting proliferation and differentiation of neural stem cells; (2) seeking active compounds for promoting neurogenesis; (3) pharmacokinetic and pharmacological studies of the active compounds; and (4) quality control for herbal medicine.

The molecular basis of disruption of the blood brain barrier and brain damage and development of herbal medicine for neuroprotection in ischemic stroke:
The study will apply molecular biological approaches and functional brain imaging technologies to evaluate the molecular mechanisms of the breakdown of the blood brain barrier in ischaemic stroke. The study will mainly focus on the roles of plasma membrane signal molecules in modulating neural oxidative injury and blood brain barrier permeability in ischaemic brain in vivo and hypoxic neurons in vitro. The molecular targets will be used to seek active ingredients from Chinese herbal medicine for the prevention and treatment of the breakdown of the blood brain barrier. This is an international collaboration project that involves multidisciplinary scientists from the USA and Hong Kong.

Clinical study on developing novel precise medicine approaches for using Chinese medicine approaches to detect cardiovascular function and their clinical implications:
This study will develop novel Pulse Diagnostic Instruments and other approaches and methods for assessing cardiovascular functions and investigate the basis of syndrome differentiations in cardiovascular diseases. The student will join a dynamic group and have intensively interactions with Chinese Medicine Experts, Cardiologists, Electronic Engineers and Computer Scientists and conduct clinical investigations. Qualifications with Chinese Medicinal License or Western Medicine Practice License is essential required.

Contact Person

Professor J.G. Shen
Tel: 3917 6429
Fax: 2872 5476
Email: shenjg@hku.hk

Basic and clinical studies on the use of Chinese medicine and acupuncture in the treatment of major neurological and psychiatric disorders:

  • Develop clinical trials to evaluate effectiveness and safety of Chinese medicine, acupuncture, and other non-pharmacological therapies in the management of major neurological and psychiatric disorders.
  • Investigate neuropsychopharmacological effects of natural compounds and traditional Chinese medicine formulae with the employment of behavioural, biochemical, molecular, and neuroimaging approaches for anxiety, mood, and psychotic disorders.
  • Explore neural mechanisms of acupuncture effects.

Contact Person

Professor Z.J. Zhang
Tel: 3917 0445
Fax: 2872 5476
Email: zhangzj@hku.hk

Regulation of innate immunity by Chinese medicines for resolution of inflammation and tissue repair:
My group is committed to elucidating the molecular mechanisms by which Chinese medicines regulate innate immunity involving macrophages and neutrophils against myocardial infarction and neural injury. By using different cell models and animal models, we focus on the identification of active compounds and target proteins through the integrative use of various genomics, proteomics, chemical biology and cell signalling technologies. Our ongoing projects include (1) characterisation of neuroprotective and neurotrophic Chinese medicines; (2) discovery of new mechanisms against myocardial infarction, ischaemic stroke and cancers; (3) preparation of new molecular probes from bioactive natural products. Our long-term goal is to develop novel therapeutics for the treatment of myocardial infarction, depression and neurodegenerative diseases.

Contact Person

Dr J. Rong
Tel: 3917 6537
Fax: 2872 5476
Email: jrong@hku.hk

Acupuncture for psychosomatic diseases:
The study will evaluate the effectiveness and safety of acupuncture for psychosomatic diseases, especially for depression, anxiety and drug addiction, and explore the neuropsychology mechanism underlying acupuncture for psychosomatic diseases with multi-disciplinary and non-invaded methods, such as fMRI and NIRS (near infrared spectroscopy).

Self-stimulation at foot meridians for hypertension and diabetes:
The study will evaluate the efficacy and safety of self-stimulation at foot meridians for hypertension and diabetes, and explore the mechanism of self-stimulation at foot meridians effecting on hypertension and diabetes patients.

Contact Person

Dr J.M. Wu
Tel: (852) 3917 6447
Fax: (852) 2872 5476
Email: wujunmei@hku.hk

Departmental Postgraduate Admission Advisor

Professor J.G. Shen
Tel: 3917 6429
Fax: 2872 5476
Email: shenjg@hku.hk