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Research Teams


Our Department has established significant strength within the area of Neonatal Research over the past two decades. The neonatal unit at PWH is the largest Level III neonatal intensive care unit in Hong Kong, which also serves as one of the three neonatal surgery referral centres.  Our research team comprises both clinical and basic science researchers and has been focusing on important areas in Neonatology.  In fact, CUHK Neonatology is known to be one of the most academically active Neonatal unit in Asia and in the world.

Our unit is renowned internationally in

(i) sepsis and biomarker research,

(ii) pathogenesis of necrotising enterocolitis,

(iii) prenatal and early-life heavy metal exposure and neurodevelopmental outcomes, and

(iv) randomised control studies.


Sleep and Respiratory Medicine

Our research in Sleep Medicine began in 2003 with the establishment of a cohort of children along the sleep-disordered breathing (SDB) spectrum.  Over the years, we have investigated on epidemiology, basic mechanisms, complications and treatment outcome of SDB.  Recently we have also focused on the importance of adequate sleep in children with special needs and neuro-typical individuals.  Our team receives world-wide recognition and continues to attract funding support from major grant agencies.  Our work on Respiratory Medicine spans from surveillance of pneumococcal carriage in paediatric community, burden of bronchiolitis, evaluation of efficacy of RSV prophylaxis in at-risk infants, infant wheeze and its association with nutritional status, lung function deficits in various medical conditions to the establishment of normal reference of spirometry and peak oxygen consumption in children and adolescents.



Our asthma and allergy team has established one of the largest bio-banks in the Chinese population that archives human DNA, serum, plasma, urine, stool, exhaled breath and environmental dust samples from thousands of subjects from both local community and hospital clinics.  Our team is conducting laboratory and analytical work to unravel genetic and environmental determinants of longitudinal changes in lung function and airway inflammation in asthmatic children.  These cohorts also provide the clinical materials for a series of genomic and genetic projects for asthma and eczema.  Besides, our team pioneered asthma monitoring by exhaled breath analyses in Asia-Pacific.  We also identified a number of seromarkers, biophysical and psychological assessment tools and therapeutic options for childhood eczema.  Our members are leading collaborators in several large international research consortia such as International Study of Asthma and Allergies in Childhood (ISAAC) and EuroPrevall Study group aiming to determine the environmental and genetic determinants of asthma, food allergies and related atopic conditions.

Clinical Genetics

In collaboration with Departments of Obstetrics and Gynaecology and Chemical Pathology, our Department established a Clinical Genetics centre in 2013 to pioneer the first-ever, self-financed expanded newborn screening programme for over 30 inborn errors of metabolism.  This programme quickly attracted wide recognition from local doctors and the public.  We are receiving 500 referrals for this innovative programme every month, which allows us to generate funding for expanding researches in this emerging research theme of our Department.

Haematology and Oncology

The Children’s Cancer Centre is one of the largest paediatric oncology units in Hong Kong.  We have active clinical research in leukaemia and stem cell transplantation.  Our Centre is also the local coordinator centre for various multi-national collaborative studies, and has more recently established a close link with a network of paediatric oncology centres in mainland China.  On-going researches include:

(i) multi-centre clinical trials on leukaemia and lymphoma as well as haemophilia;

(ii) pharmacogenetics of chemotherapy tolerance;

(iii) biomarkers of chemotherapy-induced neuropathy;

(iv) molecular mechanisms of haematopoietic stem cell homing, engraftment and mobilisation; and

(v) development of novel targeted therapy for childhood leukaemia.


On-going research projects under this theme include:

(i) human lung local immunity to influenza virus - role of lung antibody and resident memory T;

(ii) influenza B viruses: virus tropism in human and swine respiratory organ explant cultures and sero-epidemiology in swine flu;

(iii) neutrophil mediated host-responses during influenza A virus infection, an in vitro study;

(iv) tissue tropism and pathogenesis of human rhinovirus C in human respiratory tract – an in vitro and ex vivo study; and

(v) investigation of the human rhinovirus diversity in non-asthmatic and asthmatic children in Hong Kong.

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