Research

Like all other professionals, a doctor has an obligation to upkeep the standing of his or her profession. This can be achieved by

  1. continuously improving his or her professional skill,
  2. participating in the learning and teaching processes of continuing medical education, and
  3. engaging in medical research, at least at certain stage of his or her career such as while undergoing postgraduate training. Research runs in the blood of the academics and forms the backbone of the medical profession.

A major path for the Department has been clinical or applied research. Recent years has seen it moving into basic science research, and rightly so.

The Department also holds an annual research meeting (usually before Chinese New Year) aimed at allowing members of the Department, HKU and the community to find out what each other are doing in terms of research thus fostering collaborations and to give our trainees and students a chance to practice their presentation skills. Please visit the Medical Research Conference (MRC) homepage for further information.

For students wishing to undertake research degrees (e.g. PhD, MPhil) please refer to the Postgraduate page of Teaching and Training homepage.

Below lists the links for current research interests of Speciality Divisions of the Department:

Cardiology
  • Coronary heart disease: prevention and percutaneous revascularisation of stable ischaemic syndromes; epidemiology and treatment of acute coronary syndromes, and platelet resistance. 
     
  • Cardiac pacing: new developments in pacing therapy for treatment of heart failure and cardiac arrhythmia. 
     
  • Cardiac arrhythmia: innovative energy sources for catheter ablation, transvenous defibrillation and implantable device for treatment of atrial fibrillation; patch clamp study on ionic channels in atrial fibrillation and heart failure related arrhythmogenic potential.
     
  • Heart failure: hormonal changes and animal models of heart failure; cardiac resynchronization therapy.
     
  • Hypertension: left ventricular hypertrophy regression and salt balance. 
     
  •  Angiogenesis and cell repair: cell therapy to create new vessels and myocardium in humans and large animals. 
     
  • Cardiac muscle engineering: gene knock-out study on differentiation of myocytes into cardiac myocytes.

Clinical Pharmacology
Project Staff
Phase 1 Clinical Trials Prof Bernard Cheung
Dr Tommy Cheung
Evaluation of therapies, including pharmacoeconomics Prof Bernard Cheung
Prof Cyrus Kumana
Dr Tommy Cheung
Pharmacoepidemiology and drug utilisation Prof Bernard Cheung
Prof Cyrus Kumana
Dr CL Cheung
Dr May Lam
Pharmacogenetics and pharmacogenomics Prof Bernard Cheung
Dr CL Cheung
Dr May Lam
Safe prescribing and medication errors Prof Bernard Cheung
Dr May Lam
Dr Tommy Cheung
Adverse drug reactions Dr CL Cheung
Dr Tommy Cheung
Prof Bernard Cheung
Acute and chronic poisoning Dr Matthew Tsui
Dr Tommy Cheung
Prof Bernard Cheung
Heavy metal toxicity Prof Bernard Cheung
Dr Tommy Cheung
Dr Matthew Tsui
Oral arsenic for malignancies Prof Cyrus Kumana
Rational use of antimicrobials Prof Cyrus Kumana
Hypertension, dyslipidaemia and the metabolic syndrome Prof Bernard Cheung
Vasoactive peptides Prof Bernard Cheung
Pharmacological therapy for osteoporosis Dr CL Cheung
Dr Tommy Cheung
Prof Bernard Cheung
Efficacy and safety of biological therapies for rheumatic diseases Dr Tommy Cheung


Dermatology
Project Staff
1. Prevalence of Atopic dermatitis and Genetic study Dr MWM Chan, Dr SM Wong, Dr HHL Chan, Dr CK Yeung
2. Use of Rituximab and Intravenous Immunoglobulin in treatment of pemphigus Dr MWM Chan, Dr SM Wong, Dr HHL Chan, Dr CK Yeung
3. JAK inhibitor , Upadacitinib, in Atopic dermatitis Phase III clinical trial Dr MWM Chan, Dr SM Wong, Dr HHL Chan, Dr CK Yeung
4. Methotrexate-related liver toxicity in psoriasis patients, using non- invasive transient elastography as a diagnostic tool Dr. SM Wong, Dr. LY Mak, Dr V Lee, Dr F Chu , Dr KY Man, Dr R Lo, Dr CK Yeung, Prof. HHL Chan1 Prof. MF Yuen

Endocrinology &Metabolism
Clinical endocrinology
Karen Lam, Kathryn Tan, WS Chow, YC Woo, Joanne Lam
Advanced glycation end products & diabetic complications
Kathryn Tan, WS Chow, Joanne Lam
Lipoprotein metabolism in diabetes and endocrine disorders
Kathryn Tan, WS Chow, Joanne Lam
The molecular link between obesity, insulin resistance and endothelial dysfunction
A Xu, Kathryn Tan, Karen Lam
Development of new diagnostic tools for risk detection of cardiovascular diseases and diabetes
A Xu, Karen Lam,YC Woo
Clinical Trials and Drug Discovery in osteoporosis, diabetes, dyslipidemia & obesity
Kathryn Tan, WS Chow, A Xu, Karen Lam, YC Woo, Joanne Lam
Genetics of diabetes, obesity & dyslipidemia 
Kathryn Tan, Karen Lam
Epidemiology of diabetes and other obesity-related cardiovascular risk factors
Karen Lam, Kathryn Tan,YC Woo
Fat-derived hormones as mediators of obesity-related medical complications: clinical, basic and translational studies
Karen Lam, A Xu

Gastroenterology & Hepatology

Current Research Interest of the Division

  • Hepatitis B virus: molecular virology, disease course, novel treatment and occult hepatitis B
  • Gastrointestinal cancers: epidemiology, detection and chemoprevention
  • Liver fibrosis, cirrhosis and liver failure
  • Application of big data in Gastroenterology and Hepatology
  • Application of artificial intelligence in Gastroenterology and Hepatology

Prof. Yuen Man Fung

  • Natural history of hepatitis B virus infection including viral and host factors associated with disease progression to cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma.
  • Significance of traditional and novel viral markers to define disease status and their associations with treatment response and disease progression
  • Diagnosis and clinical implications of occult hepatitis B infection
  • Clinical drug trials on novel direct antiviral and immunomodulatory agents for the treatment of hepatitis B infection

Prof. Leung Wai Keung

  • Screening and early detection of gastrointestinal cancers
  • Inflammatory bowel diseases
  • Gastrointestinal bleeding
  • Helicobacter pylori
  • Application of big data on gastrointestinal diseases
  • Computer-assisted endoscopic diagnosis

Dr. James Fung

  • Liver transplantation in the Chinese population
  • Acute-on-chronic liver failure
  • Decompensated cirrhosis
  • Hepatitis B infection and liver transplantation

Dr. Seto Wai Kay Walter

  • Treatment response and disease monitoring in chronic hepatitis B and C
  • Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease in the Chinese population
  • Liver fibrosis
  • Novel radiological metrics in gastrointestinal and liver diseases
  • Application of artificial intelligence to gastrointestinal and liver diseases

Dr. Lam Yuk Fai Frank

  • Prevention of colorectal cancer
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Gastrointestinal endoscopy
  • Viral hepatitis
  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease and esophageal motility disorder

Dr. Cheung Ka Shing

  • Big data analysis
  • Epidemiology and chemoprevention of gastrointestinal cancers
  • Epidemiology of hepatic diseases
  • Helicobacter pylori
  • Gastrointestinal bleeding 

Dr. Danny Wong

  • Hepatitis B molecular virology
  • Natural history, treatment response and disease monitoring of chronic hepatitis B infection
  • Occult hepatitis B infection
  • Evaluation of chronic hepatitis B disease markers


 

Geriatrics
Project Staff
1. Research on diagnostic and prognostic biomarkers in Alzheimer’s disease and other dementia. We investigate the values of different blood, csf and neuroimaging biomarkers in Alzheimer’s disease, using a 6-year prospective longitudinal design. Prof. LW Chu
2. Hormonal intervention in aging: Investigation of the clinical values of hormonal intervention in Alzheimer’s disease, in particular the use of testosterone in pre-clinical Alzheimer’s disease and mild cognitive impairment (MCI) Prof. LW Chu
3. Clinical trials of new drugs in  Alzheimer’s disease and aging, in collaboration with major pharmaceutical companies, current study include masitinib in Alzheimer’s disease (with the company AB Sciences) Prof. LW Chu, Dr. Patrick Chiu, Dr. May Chan, Dr. YF Shea, Dr. Fei Chan
4. Falls in the Elderly Prof. LW Chu
5. Advance directive survey in the elderly people Prof. LW Chu, Dr. Patrick Chiu, Dr. James Luk,
6. Vascular dementia, stroke and frailty in elderly people Prof. LW Chu
7. Unplanned readmission and other health services research Prof. LW Chu, Prof. Felix Chan
8. Rehabilitation of elderly patient Dr. James Luk, Prof. Felix Chan
9. Influenza vaccination and infectious diseases in long term care homes Dr. TC Chan, Prof, LW Chu, Prof. Felix Chan, Dr. James Luk, Dr. Patrick Chiu


 

Haematology, Medical Oncology & Bone Marrow Transplantation
Introduction
The Division of Haematology, Medical Oncology & Haemopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation at Queen Mary Hospital is a tertiary / quaternary referral centre for blood diseases and malignant diseases in Hong Kong.

Range of clinical service
The Division comprises teams of experts in benign and malignant blood diseases, bone marrow transplantation and medical oncology. About 1000 new cases of these diseases are referred annually. The majority of these patients have haematological malignancies, consisting of acute and chronic leukaemias, lymphomas, plasma cell myeloma and other haematological neoplasms. Patients with other benign blood diseases including coagulation and bleeding disorders, acquired and inherited anaemias, and platelet disorders are also treated. The major facility for these patients is a specially designed haematology ward with HEPA-filtered air, which accommodates more than twenty patients.
The Division manages an adult haematopoietic stem cell transplantation suite, where more than a hundred allogeneic or autologous transplantations are performed every year. For allogeneic transplantation, this facility is the only one in Hong Kong. The full range of allogeneic transplantation is performed, with haematopoietic stem cells coming from HLA-identical siblings, matched unrelated donors and umbilical cord blood. Autologous transplantations are mainly performed for lymphomas and myeloma. The transplantation suite contains ten single rooms, a cytapheresis facility for isolation of peripheral blood haematopoietic stem cells, and a transplantation laboratory.
Medical Oncology is a relatively new development in the Division. Patients with a wide range of solid tumors are treated. Special emphasis has been placed on breast, liver and gastrointestinal cancers.

Clinical research
The Division is active in clinical research. Specific areas include new treatment protocols for acute leukaemias, malignant lymphomas and plasma cell myeloma; novel therapeutic approaches in patients with complications or relapses after haematopoietic stem cell transplantation; and thrombotic diseases. Predisposing factors and treatment of infective complications, including viral and invasive fungal infections, are also studied. Oral arsenic trioxide has been pioneered in the Division for the treatment of leukaemias and other haematological malignancies.
Medical Oncology research is focused on developing novel treatment strategies for various solid tumours, especially breast and gastrointestinal cancer. Early phase clinical trials are actively conducted to bring the novel therapeutics from the bench to the clinic.

Clinical trials
The Division conducts phase I, phase II and phase III clinical trials of novel therapeutic agents in benign and malignant blood diseases, and also solid tumors. These trials have included studies in coagulopathy, leukaemias, lymphomas, plasma cell myeloma and various solid tumors. Recruitment of patients is territory-wide, and cover all major hospitals in Hong Kong.

Basic research
The Division engages in basic research in the molecular genetic defects in haematological neoplasms, benign and malignant haematopoiesis, and solid tumors. For in vivo experiments, murine and zebrafish models are used. State-of-the-art technologies are utilized.

Specialist outpatient clinic
Patient referrals are seen in specialist outpatient clinics, which are listed below. Both Hong Kong residents and foreign patients are welcome. Private patients are also welcome, and appointments can be obtained from the Private Clinic at Queen Mary Hospital. Private patients can be admitted into specially designed private wards at Queen Mary Hospital, which include first class (single room) and second class (double room) suites.

Educational activities
Clinical fellows are welcome. Clinicians who want to conduct clinical work in Hong Kong need to check with the Hong Kong Medical Council on registration requirements. A knowledge of spoken Chinese is highly recommended, although not mandatory. Research laboratory fellows are accepted all year round. The Division also holds the following weekly meetings.

Infectious Disease
Internationally recognized landmark discoveries from the Infectious Diseases Division include, pioneering the application of topical TLR7 agonist imiquimod before intradermal influenza vaccination, which resulted in significantly higher and sustained antibody response, with protection against heterologous non-vaccine and antigenically drifted viruses; first to prove convalescent plasma and hyperimmune-IVIG reduced mortality, viral load and cytokine/ chemokine reaction in patients with severe influenza infection in a prospective cohort and a double-blind randomized controlled trial respectively; first to prove that clarithromycin, naproxen and oseltamivir combination reduce mortality and emergence of resistant quasispecies in the treatment of severe influenza infection; first to correlate disease severity with viral load from various specimens in SARS patients; first to demonstrate the potential toxicity and drug-drug interaction of colchicine with clarithromycin in a large case series.

These research findings have been published in top academic journals including the Lancet Infectious Diseases, Clinical Infectious Diseases, Emerging Infectious Diseases, Chest and Vaccine.

Nephrology
Our research interests include both basic science and clinical topics. The former theme aims to elucidate the pathogenic mechanisms in common or important kidney diseases such as lupus nephritis, diabetic nephropathy, and IgA nephropathy. The latter focuses on advancing treatment to achieve better clinical outcomes in patients.

Research topics in our Division include:
Research Themes Principal Investigators
Lupus Nephritis
  • Novel immunosuppression and advances in clinical management
  • Immuno-pathogenic mechanisms focusing on renal inflammation and fibrosis
Professor Tak Mao CHAN
Dr Susan YUNG
Dr Desmond YAP
Diabetic Kidney Disease
  • Role of Toll-like receptor 4 in disease pathogenesis
  • Pathogenic role of proximal tubular epithelial cells in diabetic kidney disease
Professor Sydney TANG
Dr Joseph LEUNG
Dr Gary CHAN
Dr Stella YIU
IgA Nephropathy
  • Glomerulopodocytic-tubular communication
  • Clinical studies including novel immunomodulatory agents
Professor Sydney TANG
Dr Joseph LEUNG
Professor Tak Mao CHAN
Peritoneal Dialysis
  • Mesothelial cell biology and function
  • Peritoneal membrane inflammation and fibrosis
  • Biocompatibility of peritoneal dialysis fluids
  • Cognitive function
  • Renal nutrition and protein-energy wasting
Dr Susan YUNG
Dr Angela WANG Dr Sing Leung LUI
Dr Terence YIP
Dr Cindy CHOY
Dr Desmond YAP
Dr Joseph LEUNG
Dr Maggie MOK Professor Tak Mao CHAN
Haemodialysis
  • Home haemodialysis
  • Novel technologies
Dr Maggie MOK
Dr Lorraine KWAN
Professor Tak Mao CHAN
Kidney Transplantation
  • Viral hepatitis
  • Clinical management and outcomes - immunosuppression, recurrent glomerular diseases, CMV and BK virus infections
  • ABO-incompatible transplantation
Prof Tak Mao CHAN Dr Desmond YAP
Dr Maggie MA
Dr Cindy CHOY
Prof Sydney TANG
Cardiovascular Complications and CKD-MBD
  • Cardiovascular disease and vascular calcification in patients with chronic kidney disease and dialysis patients
  • Cardiovascular-parathyroid interactions
Dr Angela WANG
Dr Sing Leung LUI
Sleep Apnea and Kidney Disease
  • Clinical studies on sleep apnea in dialysis or CKD patients
Professor Sydney TANG
Dr Gary CHAN
Immunopathogenesis of renal inflammation and fibrosis
  • Role of proteoglycans and glycosaminoglycans in tissue inflammation and fibrosis
  • Fibronectin isoforms in epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition
  • Role of tubular Wnt and β-catenin signaling in renal inflammation
  • Role of stem cells in overload proteinuria
Dr Susan YUNG
Professor Tak Mao CHAN
Prof Sydney TANG
Dr Desmond YAP
Dr Stella YIU
Dr Joseph LEUNG
Traditional Chinese Medicine
  • Integration with Western medicine in the management of chronic kidney disease and diabetic kidney disease
Dr Sing Leung LUI
Prof Sydney TANG
Dr Susan YUNG
Dr Kam Wa CHAN
Renal Supportive or Palliative Care
  • Palliative, psychosocial and supportive management
Dr Terence YIP
Dr Kwok Ying CHAN*
Dr Sing Leung LUI
Dr Desmond YAP
Professor Tak Mao CHAN
*Palliative Medicine Unit, TGH

Neurology
Current research interests of the Division

Parkinson's disease: molecular aspects of xenobiotic enzymes, evaluation of different treatment; Epilepsy: evaluation of different treatment including epilepsy surgery; Stroke: in vivo and in vitro studies on neuroprotection during ischaemia; Functional CT perfusion study during the acute phase. Collaboration with Cardiology: percutaneous carotid and vertebral artery angioplasty with primary stenting.

Research interests of Division members

Prof Shu Leong HO / Professor & Division Chief 
1. Pathogenesis of Parkinson's disease 
2. Disease modification strategies in Parkinson's disease
3. Biomarkers in Parkinson's disease and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis

Prof Raymond TF CHEUNG / Professor
1. Neuroprotection against stroke
2. Acupuncture-brain interactions
3. High resolution EEG
4. Advanced CT and MRI neuroimaging
5. Autonomic complications of stroke

Dr Koon Ho CHAN / Clinical Assistant Professor 
1. Immune mediated neurological disorders such as myasthenia gravis and paraneoplastic neurological disorders
2. Idiopathic inflammatory demyelinating disorders including multiple sclerosis and neuromyelitis optica
3. Neuroinflammation in Alzheimer's disease
4. Neuroprotection for Alzheimer's disease
5. CNS infection

Dr LAU Kui Kai, Gary / Clinical Assistant Professor
1. Stroke epidemiology
2. Primary and secondary preventive strategies of stroke
3. Blood pressure management in stroke  
4. Neuroimaging in stroke

 

Rehabilitation Medicine
The Rehabilitation division is actively involved in stroke, cardiac and arthritis rehabilitation research. It is also a collaboration research centre with World Health Organization (WHO) for the development of ICF-core set (International classification of functioning, health and disability).
 
Project Staff
1. Post-stroke pain Dr Leonard Li, Dr Kwok Pui Leung
2. Use of acupuncture in stroke rehabilitation Dr Kwok Pui Leung, Dr Leonard Li
3. Urinary incontinence after stroke Dr Kwok Pui Leung, Dr TK Kwok, Dr Leonard Li
4. Virtual reality training in post-stroke patients Dr TK Kwok, Dr Leonard Li
5. Outcome of stroke rehabilitation Dr Kwok Pui Leung, Dr TK Kwok, Dr Leonard Li
6. Autonomic function after stroke Dr Mona Tse, Dr Leonard Li
7. Post-stroke osteoporosis Dr Leonard Li
8. Management of post-stroke spasticity Dr Mandy Leung, Dr Kwok Pui Leung, Dr Leonard Li
9. Outcome of non-traumatic spinal cord disorders Dr Carmen Ho, Dr Leonard Li
10. Outcome of post vascular amputation Dr Carmen Ho, Dr PK Tam
11. Exercise training in cardiac rehabilitation Dr Leonard Li
12. Electronic cues for memory problems in brain injury Dr Carmen Ho, Dr TK Kwok


Respiratory Medicine
Current Research Interests of the Division
Lung cancer
  1. Molecular markers for early detection of bronchial dysplasia and lung cancer in high risk population
  2. Factors associated with progression/regression of pre-cancerous lesion
  3. Expression and functional assessment of antioxidants and biomarkers in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC)
  4. Oncogenomics and proteomics: microarray analysis in relation to clinical parameters
  5. Establishment and characterization of lung cancer cell lines from Chinese patients, as models for studying gender and smoking differences and for prediction of responses to therapeutic agents
  6. Endobronchial treatment of early lung cancer
  7. Clinical trials of chemotherapy and novel molecular targets as anti-cancer agents for the treatment of NSCLC
  8. Epidemiology, pathology and treatment of lymphoepithelioma-like carcinoma of the lung
  9. Pre-clinical models of novel lung cancer therapeutics: arsenic trioxide, autophagy inhibitors, arginase
  10. Genetic risks associated with development of lung cancer among never-smokers
Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA)
  1. OSA and cardimetabolic regulation -  vascular function, glucose metabolism, metabolic syndrome
  2. Interactions of OSA and adiposity on cardiometabolic function
  3. OSA and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease
  4. OSA and normal tension glaucoma 
  5. Clinical trials on treatment of OSA with CPAP, oral appliances and others
  6. Role of patient education in improving CPAP adherence
  7. Sleep disordered breathing in renal failure
  8. Intermittent hypoxia as a model for studying cellular and biochemical sequelae of OSA
Asthma
  1. Role of natural products having antioxidant or/and anti-inflammatory effects in the treatment of asthma
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
  1. Genetics of COPD: phenotype-genotype correlation of candidate genes
  2. Role of oxidants/antioxidants and cytokine network in pathogenesis and pathophysiology of COPD
  3. Role of natural products having antioxidant or/and anti-inflammatory effects in the management of COPD
  4. The cellular mechanisms of adipokine and serotonin function in COPD
  5. Modulation of protease -antiprotease activity in COPD
Animal model of cigarette smoke (CS)-induced lung injury
  1. Cellular and molecular mechanisms of oxidants/antioxidants and cytokine network
  2. Airway remodeling
  3. Role of nicotine and nicotine acetylcholine receptors
  4. Screening of natural products or Chinese herbal medicines in the management of CS-induced lung injury 
Other airway and parenchymal diseases
  1. Bronchiolitis obliterans and other pulmonary complications in bone marrow transplant  recipients
  2. Translational research using therapeutic compounds including pure EGCG (the major catechin in Chinese green tea) as an antioxidant in human primary cells and then to various rodent models in vivo to identify new targets and pathways
  3. The molecular link between aging and lung function decline
  4. Novel therapeutic strategy in bronchiectasis with modulation of protease - anti-protease activity 
  5. Interstitial lung disease 

Rheumatology & Clinical Immunology

The Rheumatology & Clinical Immunology Laboratory Research Team
Principal Investigators:
Prof. Chak Sing Lau
Dr. Chung Ho Yin
Dr. Vera Sau Fong Chan

Current Research staff and students:
Dr. Frankie Chi Fat Ko
Mr. Albert Wai Kin Chan
Miss Ivy Lo
Mr. Guanghua Chen
Mr. Hiu Chung Law
Mr. Ken Kong
Ms. Dorothy Lam
Ms. Christine Kwan
Miss Kylie Yuen

Current Research postgraduates:
Miss Jia Xin Chow (PhD candidate)
Miss Jie Ma (PhD candidate)
Mr. Gavin Shun Yin Sze (MRes candidate)
Mr. Walter Siqi Wang (MRes candidate)
 
Graduated research postgraduates since 2013:
Dr. Selena Sheng Yan (PhD)
Dr. Rachel Chung Yee Tam (PhD)
Dr, Haijin Wu (PhD)
Dr. Ian Kar Yin Lam (PhD)
Dr. Gloria Guo (PhD)
Dr. Ada Lok Yan Yim (PhD)
Mr. Daniel Luk (MPhil)
Mr. Christopher Chak Pui Lee (MPhil)
Mr. Alfred Lee (MRes)

Research Interest

Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (PIs: Prof CS Lau & Dr. Vera SF Chan)

Our main research area is to study the immunobiology of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), a prototypic autoimmune disorder that predominantly affect young females. Immunologically, SLE is characterized by a loss of tolerance to self-antigens, T and B cell activation, and increased autoantibody production. Immune complex mediated vasculitis and specific antibody directed organ damage account for many of the clinical manifestations, however, the etiology of SLE remains unclear. Our team has previously identified phenotypic, functional abnormalities as well as the underlying mechanisms various immune cellular compartments in SLE patients. Through understanding the underlying causes of cellular and molecular immunodysregulation in SLE we aim to identify potential therapeutic targets for exploitation in clinical settings. Our current research projects focus on the following areas:

1) Inflammasome dysregulation in SLE (GRF-funded): a mechanistic study to dissect the role of a core immune component in SLE patients

2) Elucidation of the roles of regulatory non-coding RNAs in SLE: to explore the unidentified roles and mechanisms of regulatory RNAs in autoimmunity

3) Dissecting SLE disease heterogeneity by Omics technologies: a large scale research program to study lupus immunopathogenesis, teasing out pathogenic factors at the genetics, expression and cellular functional levels in correlation with patient stratification by clinical manifestations. It is a multidisciplinary research program, collaborating with geneticists, bioinformaticians and rheumatologists.

Spondyloarthritis (PI: Dr. Ho Yin Chung)
We have a broad scope of research in Spondyloarthritis (SpA) supported by the continuing enhancement of our collaborative research network. With the advancement of biologic therapies, researchers are looking for accurate imaging techniques for diagnosis and assessment in early disease. One of our research interests is the application of Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) in SpA. Short tau inversion recovery (STIR) MRI sequence is traditionally used in assessing the extent of axial joint inflammation. However, despite its popularity, it provides little information on the intensity of inflammation. Our studies have shown that the apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC) of diffusion-weighted imaging MRI sequence correlates with disease activity, functional impairment and patient global assessment. Therefore, ADC may be used as an imaging marker for SpA. We are also looking at the correlations between ADC and several potential biomarkers.

Apart from imaging, we have been collaborating with The Hong Kong Society of Rheumatology and the Asia Pacific League of Associations (APLAR) SpA special interest group to collect data and evaluate the risks of various infections and comorbidities in patients with SpA. This will help improve the management of this disease in the future.