Division of Medical Sciences

Division Highlights

The Division of Medical Sciences offers PhD Programmes provided by 4 clinical departments:

MPhil of Medical Sciences

The programme is research-oriented. It will involve a prescribed series of investigations and students should inform themselves in depth about the fields of knowledge relevant to the topic of their projects.

PhD of Medical Sciences

The programme is research-oriented. Students should show ability for independent work and inform themselves in depth about the fields of knowledge relevant to the topic of their projects.

Hong Kong PhD Fellowship Scheme

For details of the above programmes, please visit the website of the Graduate School, CUHK.

Programme Strengths

Our Department of Clinical Oncology is renowned for the research in cancer genetics, tumor markers, and clinical drug trials. The Department of Paediatrics has extensive research work on neonatology, allergy, clinical genetics, hematology and oncology, as well as sleep and respiratory medicine. The Department of Psychiatry is well recognized for its unique ability to articulate translational research themes that integrate multiple perspectives of psychiatric problems, and the major areas of research include neurodegenerative and neurodevelopmental disorders, neuroimaging, neuromodulation treatment, substance abuse, circadian rhythm and sleep disorders. The Department of Medicine & Therapeutics encompasses all major subspecialties of internal medicine, including cardiology, clinical pharmacology, dermatology, endocrinology, gastroenterology and hepatology, geriatrics, hematology, infectious disease, nephrology, neurology, respiratory medicine, and rheumatology, and the department has research projects in every angle of medicine – from basic science to translational studies to clinical trials, from qualitative research to health care policy to big data analysis.

Latest Achievements

Star Professors / Academic Leaders of the Programme

Professor Francis Chan
(Peptic Ulcer and Endoscopy)

Professor Tony Mok
(Lung Cancer)

Professor Hui-Yao Lan
(Fibrosis Research)

Professor Cecilia Lo
(Cardiovascular Genetics)

Professor Anthony Chan
(Nasopharyngeal Cancer)

Professor Jun Yu
(Gastrointestinal Cancer)

Professor TF Leung
(Childhood Allergy)

Professor YK Wing
(Sleep Disorders)

Professor David Hui
(Respiratory Infections)

Professor Albert Li
(Childhood Sleep and Respiratory Disorders)

Professor Linda Lam
(Aging and Cognitive Impairment)

Professor Vincent Mok
(Neurodegenerative Disorders)

Professor Ronald Ma

Professor Siew Ng
(Gastrointestinal Microbiome)

Professor Vincent Wong
(Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease)

Research Impact

Department of Clinical Oncology

Lung cancer
Professor Tony Mok was the Principal Investigator on the landmark IRESSA® Pan-Asia Study (IPASS), which was the first study that confirmed the application of precision medicine for advanced lung cancer. He has also led and co-led multiple studies including the FASTACT 2, IMPRESS, ARCHER 1050, ALEX and AURA 3. These projects address various aspects on management of EGFR mutation positive lung cancer, and basically have defined the current practice. He dedicates his work on precision medicine for lung cancer by also engaging in clinical research on ALK positive lung cancer and immunotherapy. The series of clinical trials, led or co-led by Professor Mok, have defined precision medicine for lung cancer.

Nasopharyngeal cancer
Professor Anthony Chan and his group conducted pivotal studies, setting new treatment standard in multimodality approaches in nasopharynx cancer, developed the clinical application of the biomarker EBV DNA and pioneered immunotherapeutic and targeted therapeutics in this disease.

Interested candidates please check website http://www.clo.cuhk.edu.hk/eng/about-the-department.asp for further details of individual supervisors.

Department of Medicine & Therapeutics

Biomarkers for gastrointestinal cancers
The Department utilized systematic state-of-art genomic and epigenetic approaches to unveil novel biomarkers for cancer screening and diagnosis. These inventions have resulted in 35 patent applications internationally and nationally, of which 14 have been granted. In collaboration with biotechnology companies, non-invasive diagnosis kits for gastric cancer and colorectal cancer (CRC) are being developed, and one product is currently under Chinese FDA approval. These molecular biomarkers will ultimately benefit patient care by improving early diagnosis and guiding the management of gastrointestinal cancers.

Transforming delivery of diabetes care
In 1995, the Department established the Hong Kong Diabetes Registry (HKDR) to report the phenotypic heterogeneity of type 2 diabetes and conducted clinical trials to demonstrate the benefits of team-based structured care. These works have been included in meta-analyses and treatment guidelines and contributed to the integrated care model in Hospital Authority (HA). In 2007, we designed the web-based multi-lingual Joint Asia Diabetes Evaluation (JADE) Program with care protocols, risk engines, personalized reporting and decision support and enrolled 150,000 patients from 300 sites in 11 Asian countries to inform policymakers and insurers on the preventable nature of diabetes through best practices.

Non-invasive assessment of liver fibrosis
The research on the non-invasive assessment of liver fibrosis has changed clinical practice by reducing the need of liver biopsy, which led to great healthcare saving and increased feasibility of liver fibrosis assessment for patients. The research also influenced international practice guidelines, which provide the guidance on the management of more than 2 billion patients with chronic liver diseases worldwide. The impact occurred through wide-ranging engagement with healthcare workers and public via international and local meetings, public lectures, press conferences, online talks, newspaper, booklets, television and radio broadcast.

Department of Paediatrics

Rotavirus Vaccine
From 2002, the Department collaborated with Singapore and Taiwan to conduct a 3-year large-scale multicenter clinical trial to assess the safety and efficacy of the rotavirus vaccine. This study recruited more than 10 thousand of infants. The results showed that the vaccine could provide a high level of protection against severe rotavirus gastroenteritis (RVGE) (96.1% efficacy) in Asia. We also conducted the territory's first study on the real-world effectiveness of rotavirus vaccine during the peak season of rotavirus in 2014/2015 in Hong Kong. The results showed that rotavirus vaccine can prevent about 90% hospitalizations of children below 5 years of age.

Human papilloma virus Vaccine
In 2011-2015, the Department conducted a randomized trial with 21 sites to compare the immunogenicity and safety of the HPV-16/18 vaccine and HPV-6/11/16/18 vaccine. After analyzing the results from 1075 participants, it concluded that the HPV- 16/18 vaccine could elicit a superior antibody response to HPV-6/11/16/18.

Estimation of pertussis in children
In collaboration with a research team at World Health Organization (WHO), the Department revised the model to provide a more accurate estimation of pertussis in children younger than 5 years, and hence improve country-level decision making in pertussis control.

Department of Psychiatry

Neurodegenerative disorders
Prevalence studies conducted by the Department showed that the prevalence of dementia in Hong Kong had doubled during that 10-year period. The Department has also succeeded in validating and testing the applicability of a wide range of cognitive screening instruments, which are now widely used throughout Hong Kong.

Sleep disorders
Previous studies of the Department showed that puberty is the critical period for the development of insomnia symptoms and emergence of sex differences. In addition, the Department has identified that sleep loss and deprivation are very common in Hong Kong children and adolescents, and are closely related to an array of mental and physical health conditions. These findings have subsequently been translated into a sleep education programme and delayed school starttime intervention.

Neuroimaging and neuromodulation therapy
The Department conducted multiple clinical trials on neuromodulation interventions such as transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) and transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) for treatment-resistant depression, bipolar affective disorder, and neurocognitive disorders. Within the Department and in cooperation with the University Medical Center Utrecht (UMC Utrecht), several synergistic neuromodulation research projects are ongoing. The objective of these projects is to devise clinical interventions for mood-disordered patients and examine the structural connectivity map that explains the functional connectivity and treatment response trajectory of their illness.

Research Facilities

State Key Laboratory of Digestive Disease
Approved by the Ministry of Science and Technology of the People’s Republic of China, The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) established another new state key laboratory — the State Key Laboratory of Digestive Disease (The Chinese University of Hong Kong) — in partnership with the Fourth Military Medical University (FMMU) on 1 July 2013. Its aim is to promote research and improve the level of diagnosis and treatment of digestive diseases in Hong Kong and Mainland China through collaboration between the two institutions.

State Key Laboratory of Translational Oncology
Located at the Sir YK Pao Centre for Cancer of the Prince of Wales Hospital, the State Key Laboratory of Translational Oncology (The Chinese University of Hong Kong) is built on several solid foundations. One is CUHK's long-established partnership in cancer research with Sun Yat-sen University, backed by a strong clinical base and the support of the Hospital Authority and the former Food and Health Bureau of the Hong Kong SAR Government. With its strong connections to the Mainland, the State Key Lab (SKL) is in a good position to extend its scientific achievements to the wider Chinese community, spearheading international collaboration in medical research and promote scientific development.

Li Ka Shing Institute of Health Sciences
The establishment of the Li Ka Shing Institute of Health Sciences (LiHS) is an initiative made possible by a generous donation of the Li Ka Shing Foundation. Its focus is on disease management, health education, healthcare training and medical technology, supported by interdisciplinary research in personal health.

Institute of Digestive Disease
This Institute is one of the fastest-growing clinical and research facilities in Hong Kong for the treatment of digestive disorders. It has embarked on the study of various gastrointestinal and liver diseases, ranging from mechanistic studies at the molecular level to large-scale multi-centre clinical trials.

Lui Che Woo Institute of Innovative Medicine
With the generous support of the Lui Che Woo Foundation Limited, the Lui Che Woo Institute of Innovative Medicine (LCW IIM) was established in 2012 under the Faculty of Medicine. It is focused on three initiatives, namely, BRAIN (Brain Research And Innovative Neuroscience), SMART (Sports Medicine And Regenerative Technology) and CARE (Cardiovascular Advancement, Research and Education).

The Hong Kong Cancer Institute
Established in 1990, the Hong Kong Cancer Institute focuses on activities related to cancer and its associated problems. Among these activities are the prevention and treatment of cancer, training in cancer research, public education on methods of prevention and early treatment of cancer, the welfare of cancer patients, and organising seminars, workshops and conferences.

Institute of Vascular Medicine
The main mission of Institute of Vascular Medicine (IVM) is to elucidate cellular and molecular events involved in the initiation and progression of vascular dysfunction in hypertension, obesity, and diabetes, to uncover novel relevant biomarkers for vascular dysfunction, to develop venues to preserve vascular function in animal models of cardio-metabolic diseases, and to train top-quality research students. IVM has provided opportunities for closer collaboration with cardiologists, endocrinologists, clinical pharmacologists, neurologists, and basic scientists in Hong Kong and around the world aiming at deepening the understanding of pathophysiological mechanisms of cardiovascular diseases and exploring new therapeutic strategies against cardio-metabolic complications.

CUHK-UMCU Joint Research Laboratory of Respiratory Virus & Immunobiology

  • To achieve excellence in research and promote interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary research in viral infections in respiratory tract.
  • To facilitate academic exchanges among researchers and students at CUHK and UMC Utrecht through strategic alliances with key research collaborators, strengthening the Parties’ presence and visibility in the international community.
  • To nurture students’ interest and professional knowledge in the study of respiratory infections and human respiratory immunity from an interdisciplinary perspective.
  • To conduct cutting edge, basic and translational research that will foster exchange of ideas and dissemination of research findings and research tools’ developments in understanding the immunological and pathophysiological aspects of respiratory virus infection.
  • To lay a foundation for the development of a physiological drug screening and testing platform for the discovery of new therapeutic options.

Comprehensive Cancer Trials Unit (CCTU)
The Comprehensive Cancer Trials Unit (CCTU) initiates and supports different phases of cancer clinical trials, supportive care research and translational studies through grants, donations and contracts with pharmaceutical industry. Its mission is to undertake research to contribute to the reduction of the incidence, morbidity and mortality from cancer.

Highlights & Strengths of Research Areas

Department of Clinical Oncology

  • Lung cancer: Professor Tony Mok (tony@clo.cuhk.edu.hk)
  • Nasopharyngeal carcinoma: Professor Anthony Chan (anthonytcchan@cuhk.edu.hk)
  • Breast cancer: Professor Winnie Yeo (winnieyeo@cuhk.edu.hk)
  • Hepatocellular carcinoma: Professor Stephen Chan (chanlam_stephen@cuhk.edu.hk)
  • Sarcoma: Dr Herbert Loong (h_loong@clo.cuhk.edu.hk)
  • Cancer drug development: Professor Brigette Ma (brigette@clo.cuhk.edu.hk)
  • Cancer genetics and epigenetics: Professor Qian Tao (qtao@cuhk.edu.hk)
  • Lung cancer: Dr Molly Li (molly@clo.cuhk.edu.hk)
  • Cell signaling in tumorigenesis: Dr Li lili (lili_li@cuhk.edu.hk)

Department of Medicine & Therapeutics

  • Tissue fibrosis: Professor HY Lan (hylan@cuhk.edu.hk)
  • Heart failure and circulatory support: Professor Erik Fung (e.fung@cuhk.edu.hk)
  • Advanced echocardiography and biomedical engineering: Professor Alex Lee (alexpwlee@cuhk.edu.hk)
  • Coronary intervention and peripheral vascular disease: Professor Bryan Yan (bryan.yan@cuhk.edu.hk)
  • Diabetes and obesity: Professor Juliana Chan (jchan@cuhk.edu.hk)
  • Insulin sensitivity and glucose monitoring: Professor Elaine Chow (e.chow@cuhk.edu.hk)
  • Adolescent diabetes and obesity: Professor Alice Kong (alicekong@cuhk.edu.hk)
  • Diabetic kidney disease: Professor Andrea Luk (andrealuk@cuhk.edu.hk)
  • Epidemiology and genetics of diabetes and diabetic complications: Professor Ronald Ma (rcwma@cuhk.edu.hk)
  • Peptic ulcer and endoscopy: Professor Francis Chan (dean@med.cuhk.edu.hk)
  • Gut microbiota: Professor Siew Ng (siewchienng@cuhk.edu.hk)
  • Molecular targets of GI cancers: Professor CC Wong (chichun.wong@cuhk.edu.hk)
  • Liver fibrosis: Professor Grace Wong (wonglaihung@cuhk.edu.hk)
  • Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease: Professor Vincent Wong (wongv@cuhk.edu.hk)
  • Molecular pathogenesis of GI cancers: Professor Jun Yu (junyu@cuhk.edu.hk)
  • Visual neuroscience: Professor Owen Ko (ho.ko@cuhk.edu.hk)
  • Dementia, osteoporosis and nutrition in the elderly: Professor Timothy Kwok (tkwok@cuhk.edu.hk)
  • Peritoneal dialysis; urinary biomarkers of kidney disease: Professor CC Szeto (ccszeto@cuhk.edu.hk)
  • Neuroimaging: Professor Cindy Leng (xinyi_leng@cuhk.edu.hk)
  • Cerebrovascular intervention: Professor Thomas Leung (drtleung@cuhk.edu.hk)
  • Neurodegenerative disorders: Professor Vincent Mok (vctmok@cuhk.edu.hk)
  • Respiratory infections and sleep disordered breathing: Professor David Hui (dschui@cuhk.edu.hk)
  • Osteoporosis and atherosclerosis in rheumatology: Professor LS Tam (lstam@cuhk.edu.hk)
  • Microbiome: Professor Jessie Liang (JessieQY@cuhk.edu.hk)
  • Pancreatic cystic neoplasms: Professor Raymond Tang (raymondtang@cuhk.edu.hk)
  • Biostatistics on non-alcoholic fatty livers disease: Professor Terry Yip (tcfyip@cuhk.edu.hk)
  • Translational microbiome: Professor Lin Zhang (linzhang@cuhk.edu.hk)
  • Dermatology: Professor Agnes Chan (agneswschan@cuhk.edu.hk)
  • Advanced endoscopy and gastrointestinal bleeding: Professor Louis Lau (louishslau@cuhk.edu.hk)
  • Stroke: Professor Bonaventure IP (bonaventureip@cuhk.edu.hk)
  • Rheumatology: Professor Ho So (hoso@cuhk.edu.hk)
  • Cardiovascular medicine: Professor SB Ong (sangbingong@cuhk.edu.hk)

Department of Paediatrics

  • Neonatal research: Professors Simon Lam (hshslam@cuhk.edu.hk) and Genevieve Fung (genevievefung@cuhk.edu.hk)
  • Sleep and Respiratory medicine: Professors Albert Li (albertmli@cuhk.edu.hk) and Kate Chan (katechan@cuhk.edu.hk)
  • Respiratory research: Professor Kate Chan (katechan@cuhk.edu.hk)
  • General and molecular allergy; allergy genetics: Professor Ting-Fan Leung (tfleung@cuhk.edu.hk)
  • Asthma and allergy epidemiology: Professor Gary Wong (wingkinwong@cuhk.edu.hk)
  • Food allergy: Professor Agnes Leung (agnes.syl@cuhk.edu.hk)
  • Clinical genetics service: Professor Josephine Chong (chongsc@cuhk.edu.hk)
  • Clinical haematology and oncology: Professor Chi-Kong Li (ckli@cuhk.edu.hk)
  • Basic, translational and clinical haematology/oncology: Professors Chi Kong Li (ckli@cuhk.edu.hk) and Kam Tong Leung (ktleung@cuhk.edu.hk)
  • Virology research: Professor Renee Chan (reneewy@cuhk.edu.hk)

Department of Psychiatry

  • Sleep medicine; biological and cultural psychiatry: Professor YK Wing (ykwing@cuhk.edu.hk)
  • Functional brain mapping; transcranial magnetic stimulation; treatment resistant depression; child and adolescent psychiatric epidemiology: Professor Sandra Chan (schan@cuhk.edu.hk)
  • Neuropsychiatry in stroke: Professor WK Tang (tangwk@cuhk.edu.hk)
  • Adjuvant interventions and risk factor evaluation for late life cognitive and mental disorders; mental health epidemiology: Professor Linda Lam (cwlam@cuhk.edu.hk)
  • Psychosomatic medicine and affective disorders: Professor Arthur Mak (arthurdpmak@cuhk.edu.hk)
  • Post-COVID neuropsychiatric consequences and catecholaminergic system dysfunction: Professor Steven Chau (stevenwaihochau@cuhk.edu.hk)
  • Dementia and late-life depression: Professor Allen Lee (allenlee@cuhk.edu.hk)
  • Genetics of Alzheimer’s disease: Professor SL Ma (suklingma@cuhk.edu.hk)
  • Neurocognitive and neurodevelopmental disorder: Professor Oscar Wong (oscarwhwong@cuhk.edu.hk)
  • Multi-modal neuroimaging and neuromodulation: Professor Hanna Lu (hannalu@cuhk.edu.hk)
  • Circadian and sleep medicine: Professor Joey Chan (joeywychan@cuhk.edu.hk)
  • Sleep medicine and neurodegeneration: Professor Yaping Liu (yaping.liu@cuhk.edu.hk)
  • Sleep medicine and mental health: Professor Rachel Chan (rachel.chan@cuhk.edu.hk)
  • Digital mental health: Professor Tim Li (manholi@cuhk.edu.hk)
  • Basic and translational neuroscience: Professor HM Lai (hmlai@cuhk.edu.hk)

Funding / Scholarship

Major UGC research grants awarded to the Division of Medical Sciences in the past 3 years:

  • UGC General Resarch Fund: 26
  • UGC Early Career Scheme: 5
  • NSFC / RGC Joint Scheme: 1
  • French National Research Agency / RGC Joint Scheme: 1

Academic and Career Support to Postgraduate Students

Hong Kong PhD Fellowship Scheme (HKPFS)

Established in 2009, the Hong Kong PhD Fellowship Scheme (HKPFS) is designed to attract the best and brightest students from all over the world to pursue their PhD studies in Hong Kong. The Fellowship provides an annual stipend of HK$309,600 (approximately US$39,500) as well as a conference and research-related travel allowance of HK$15,000 (approximately US$1,900) per year to each awardee for a period of up to three years.

Awardees in a programme lasting four years may receive an award at the same level for the fourth year or request additional funding from their chosen institutions. In addition to the monthly stipend and annual conference travel allowance, HKPFS awardees may apply for various scholarships offered by The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK).

Postgraduate Studentship (PGS)

For full-time research postgraduate student, an annual studentship for 2019-20 is HK$207,960 (approx. US$26,660), payable during normative study period. No separate application is required. The award of studentship will be made known to students when receiving their admission offers.

Scholarship and other Financial Support

The University offers a number of scholarships, prizes and awards to recognize students' outstanding academic and non-academic performances. For more details, please visit the website of the Office of Admissions and Financial Aid of CUHK.

Starting from the academic year 2018-19, local full-time students who are admitted to UGC-funded RPg programmes are eligible for the Government’s Tuition Waiver Scheme for Local Research Postgraduate (RPg) Students. The Scheme will provide a non-mean-tested tuition waiver to all current and newly admitted eligible local students enrolled in UGC-funded RPg programmes during their normative study period.

On-Campus Accommodation

  • Jockey Club Postgraduate Halls (JCPGH 1-3)
  • Postgraduate Halls No. 4-6 (PGH 4-6)

Off-Campus Accommodation

  • Hyatt Regency Hong Kong, Shatin
  • Youth Hostels
  • The University’s Off-campus Housing Information Service (OHIS)

Other Facilities and Services

The University has a range of facilities and resources aimed at making academic inquiry as smooth, invigorating and pleasurable a process as possible. These University facilities also add extra dimensions to life on campus - from the artistic and cultural, to the recreational and athletic. And at CUHK, you can enjoy all the conveniences of Hong Kong's urban centre without the hassle.

Application Requirement & Fee

Please refer to the CUHK Graduate School website: https://www.gs.cuhk.edu.hk/