Research Team -

Child health

Principal Investigators

Research Staff

  • Ms. CHAN Kar Wing Karen

  • Ms. CHAN Oi Yi Cecil

  • Ms. CHAN Suk Mei Ruth

  • Ms. CHOW Macy

  • Mr. CHUNG Pok Hei Billy

  • Ms. DENG Han Bing Debbie

  • Ms. LAM Sze Chai Shirley

  • Ms. LEUNG Hiu Yan Christine

  • Ms. LEUNG Woon Wa Cecily

  • Ms. LIN Shi Lin Cindy

  • Mr. TAI Sin Ming

  • Ms. TAM Grace

  • Mr. YIP Ka Wo Tony

  • Ms. YU Hei Man Sherman

Post-graduate students

  • Ms. Khadka Shradda (PhD)

  • Ms. SUN Kexin (MPhil)

Research Scope

An overview of research focus

The team strives to make a positive impact on the lives of Hong Kong children and their families by building the evidence base to inform policy changes that could prevent disease. These studies include randomized controlled trials to increase uptake of rotavirus and influenza vaccines, economic evaluations to demonstrate potential cost savings from increased vaccine and breastfeeding uptake, and studies aiming prevent obesity and promote healthy nutrition.

A list of research topics

  • Diarrhoeal and respiratory surveillance and disease burden 

  • Rotavirus and influenza vaccines

  • Growth and nutrition survey

  • Prevention and treatment of childhood obesity and complications

  • Breastfeeding promotion

  • Early life exposures and child health

  • Economic evaluations and health technology assessments

Selected publications

  1. de Haas TDJ, Yeung KHT, Hutubessy R, van der Putten IM, Nelson EAS. Programme costs for introducing age/gestation-based universal influenza vaccine schedules for young children and pregnant women in Hong Kong. Vaccine 2021;39(46):6762-80.

  2. Dang TKN, Rivero Cabrera R, Yeung KHT, van der Putten IM, Nelson EAS. Feasibility of age- and gestation-based routine universal influenza vaccines schedules for children aged 6 months - 2 years and pregnant women. Vaccine 2021;39(46):6754-61.

  3. Hui LL, Nelson EAS, Lin SL, Zhao JV. The role of vitamin C in pneumonia and COVID-19 infection in adults with European ancestry: a Mendelian randomisation study. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2021 Aug 30:1–4. doi: 10.1038/s41430-021-00993-4.

  4. Yeung KHT, Lin SL, Clark A, McGhee SM, Janusz CB, Atherly D, Chan KC, Nelson EAS. Economic evaluation of the introduction of rotavirus vaccine in Hong Kong. Vaccine 2021;39(1):45–58.

  5. Woh PY, Yeung MPS, Nelson EAS, Goggins WB. Risk factors of non-typhoidal Salmonella gastroenteritis in hospitalized young children: a case-control study. BMJ Paediatrics Open 2021;5:e000898. doi:10.1136/bmjpo-2020-000898

  6. Hogan W, Frost S, Johnson L, Schulze,TG, Nelson EAS, Frost W, Doctors for Assange. The ongoing torture and medical neglect of Julian Assange. Lancet 2020;396(10243):22-3.

  7. Linn K, Bravo L, Goh DYT, Nelson EA. ASVAC2019: 7th Asian Vaccine Conference. Hum Vaccin Immunother 2020;16(7):1476-84.

  8. Hui LL, Kwok MK, Nelson EAS, Lee SL, Leung GM, Schooling CM. Breastfeeding in Infancy and Lipid Profile in Adolescence. Pediatrics 2019;143(5).

  9. Lee CH, Tse B, Lai N, Goggins W, Baum L, Nelson EAS. Hong Kong’s role in global health: Public opinion of official development assistance. PLOS ONE 2018;13(12): e0207687.

  10. Yeung KHT, Tarrant M, Chan KCC, Tam WH, Nelson EAS. Increasing influenza vaccine uptake in children: A randomised controlled trial. Vaccine 2018;36(37):5524-5535.

  11. Abou-Nader AJ, Sauer MA, Steele AD, Tate JE, Atherly D, ParasharUD, Santosham M, Nelson EAS. Global rotavirus vaccine introductions and coverage: 2006 – 2016. Human Vaccines & Immunotherapeutics 2018;14(9):2281-2296.

  12. Yeung KHT, Chan KCC, Chan PKS, Lam DSY, Sham PCO, Yau YS, Chan WH, Chiu WK, Ng KL, Ng DKK, Chan IMC, Nelson EAS.Influenza vaccine effectiveness in hospitalised Hong Kong children: Feasibility of estimates from routine surveillance data. Vaccine 2018;36(24):3477–3485.

  13. Hui LL, Li AM, Nelson EAS, Leung GM, Lee SL, Schooling CM. In utero exposure to gestational diabetes and adiposity: does breastfeeding make a difference? International Journal of Obesity 2018;42(7):1317 – 1325.

  14. Hui LL, Kwok MK, Nelson EAS, Lee SL, Leung GM, Schooling CM. The association of breastfeeding with insulin resistance at 17 years: Prospective observations from Hong Kong’s ‘‘Children of 1997’’ birth cohort. Maternal and Child Nutrition. 2018;14 (1).

  15. Hui LL, Nelson EAS, Wong MY, Chung TWH, Lee KKY, Leung GM, Schooling CM. The association of intergenerational mismatch with adiposity and blood pressure in childhood and adolescence. Journal of Adolescent Health 2018;62(1);100–106

  16. Yeung KHT, Duclos P, Nelson EAS, Hutubessy RCW. An update of the global burden of pertussis in children younger than 5 years: a modelling study. Lancet Infect Dis 2017 Sep;17(9):974-80


Study title: Hong Kong Growth Study

Funding source: Food and Health Bureau - Commissioned Studies

Study period: 1 Feb 2019 to 31 Jan 2023

Reference number: GC-CUHK

Principal Investigator: Tony Nelson

Co-investigators: Thomas Chung, Patrick Ip, Simon Lam, YC Lo, Shirley Leung, Connie Hui

Study title: Increasing Rotavirus Vaccine Uptake: A Randomised Controlled Trial

Funding source: Food and Health Bureau - Health and Medical Research Fund

Study period: 5 Oct 2020 to 4 Apr 2023

Reference number: 19180202

Principal Investigator: Tony Nelson

Co-investigators: Karene Yeung, WH Tam, Genny Fung

Study title: Mothers’ Barrier to Sustain Exclusive Breastfeeding in the First Six Months

Funding source: Food and Health Bureau - Commissioned Studies

Study period: 1 Jan 2021 to 30 Jun 2022

Reference number: Breastfeeding (Mothers' Barriers) CUHK

Principal Investigator: Tony Nelson

Co-investigators: Karene Yeung, Connie Hui, Chow Ka Ming, Esther Lau, Nigel Rollins

Study title: The Development and Evaluation of a Remote Exchange Clerkship Programme

Funding source: Courseware Development Grant Scheme (2019-22)

Study period: 1 May 2021 to 30 Apr 2022

Reference number: 4170818

Principal Investigator: Tony Nelson

Co-investigators: Simon Lam, Kate Chan, Connie Hui

Study title: Improving Influenza Vaccine Uptake in Pregnant Women: A Aandomised Controlled Trial

Funding source: Food and Health Bureau - Health and Medical Research Fund

Study period: pending 5 Oct 2020 to 4 Apr 2023

Reference number: 21200932

Principal Investigator: Tony Nelson

Co-investigators: Karene Yeung, WH Tam, Chow Ka Ming, Connie Yip

Study title: Novel therapeutics for non-communicable Paediatric Diseases

Sub-project: Ketogenic Diet for Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease in Obese Adolescents: A Randomised Control Trial

Funding source: Food and Health Bureau - Commissioned Studies

Study period: 1 Aug 2021 to 31 Jul 2024

Reference number: PR-CUHK-3

Principal Investigator: TF Leung

Co-investigators: Tony Nelson (lead investigator of sub-project), Dorothy Chan, Joanna Tung, Connie Hui, Winnie Chu, Chan Suk Mei

Study title: Provision of Services to the Department of Health for Conducting Study of Persistent Organic Pollutants in Human Milk

Funding source: Department of Health, Hong Kong SAR

Study period: 29 Mar 2019 to 22 Apr 2022

Reference number: 136535299

Principal Investigator: Wong TW

Co-investigators: Tony Nelson

Study title: Economic Evaluation on Breastfeeding Promotion in Hong Kong

Funding source: Food and Health Bureau - Health and Medical Research Fund

Study period: 1 Jun 2020 to 31 May 2022

Reference number: 07181226

Principal Investigator: Connie Hui

Co-investigators: Tony Nelson, Carlos Wong

Study title: Surveillance of Streptococcus Pneumoniae and Respiratory Viruses in Children Hospitalised for Acute Respiratory Illnesses in Hong Kong (2017-2019) to Assess the Ongoing Impact of Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccines

Funding source: Merck Sharp & Dohme (Asia) Ltd

Study period: 1 Apr 21 to 31 Mar 2023

Reference number: 170693841

Principal Investigator: Margaret Ip

Co-investigators: Tony Nelson

News of the team

  • Dutch Students Compare Healthcare Policy between Hong Kong and Home

CUHK and Maastricht University (Maastricht), both members of the Worldwide Universities Network, have had an exchange programme involving 14 master’s and PhD students since 2017.

  • CUHK-Designed Intervention Package Proves Effective to Increase Influenza Vaccine Uptake in Hong Kong Young Children

The team has conducted an intervention trial which proved that a four-component intervention package, designed by the team, could triple influenza vaccination uptake in children aged below 2 years.

Collaborations and opportunities to research students

Maastricht University 

Master of Science in Healthcare Policy Innovation and Management within the Faculty of Health, Medicine & Life Sciences

The Chinese University of Hong Kong and Maastricht University are both members of the World University Network. In 2017, Inge van der Putten came to Hong Kong as part of the “Global Health Scholar Exchange Programme – PhD exchange” and studied “Inclusion and use of vaccines in Hong Kong's mixed Public-Private funding model of health care” during her 3-month stay. In collaboration with the Jockey Club School of Public Health’s Global Health Initiative, three Maastricht masters students Lisa Meels, Nina Meels and Simone Maassen studied factors affecting the underuse of Oral Rehydration Salts, access to vaccination in Hong Kong and decision-making process on the uptake of vaccines. In 2018, Loubelle Butalid and Vera Heijnert came to study factors affecting the doctor’s recommendation of the influenza vaccination and pricing and provision of the HPV vaccine in the region. In 2019, Sandra Dang and Romen Rivero Cabrera studied the feasibility of including influenza vaccines in routine schedules for young children and pregnant women. In 2020, Thomas de Haas costed these schedules. For 2021 Andrea Fernandez Coves studied “Factors for teleconsultation adoption in primary care: the role of physicians and the funding models of Hong Kong and the Netherlands” and Klara I. Szent-Iványi explored “What are the respective roles of National Regulatory Authorities, National Immunization Technical Advisory Groups, pharmaceutical companies and governments in vaccine licensure, and how do they affect vaccine access. Ines Vieira da Costa has enrolled in this exchange programme for 2022 and will study speech therapy support for children with autism.

Asian Vaccine Conferences

Tony Nelson chairs the Steering Committee of Immunization Partners in Asia Pacific and has let the organizing team for the past three conferences in Vietnam, Singapore and Myanmar. The 2022 conference is scheduled to be held in Sri Lanka in September 2022.