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Translational Studies and Mechanisms Of Disease In Infectious Diseases And Sepsis


Emergency Medicine Unit

Applications accepted all year round Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

We aim to research the underlying clinical and molecular epidemiology of Infectious Diseases and Sepsis. An understanding of the molecular genomics, proteomics, lipidomics, metabolomics and immunology of infectious diseases and sepsis will lead to applications in molecular classification, screening, prevention, detection, diagnostics, prognostics and therapeutics.

The Emergency Medicine Unit at The University of Hong Kong began in 2014. It aims to become a world leading, biomedical, translational research facility, renowned for addressing the grand challenges of this age in acute illness and injury. Specifically, our team of clinical and laboratory scientists, staff and students collaborate locally and internationally on the translational continuum of discovery, utility, implementation and public health impact in infectious diseases and sepsis. The scope of our work covers the spectrum from biomolecular discoveries and mechanisms of disease through to clinical utility and economic benefits. We start with diagnostics and prognostics and move towards vaccinations and therapeutics.

For over 25 years members of our group have been studying potential applications of liquid biopsy nucleic acids and proteomics as early molecular biomarkers and diagnostics in acute conditions. We have previously made discoveries in circulating DNA, mRNA and miRNAs for early detection and prognosis in trauma, stroke, acute coronary syndrome and acute appendicitis. This work produced two patents. We were the first to characterise the early and late changes in circulating nucleic acids in trauma, stroke, acute coronary syndrome and the acute abdomen and to present their diagnostic and prognostic potential. For example, we showed that plasma DNA is elevated within an hour of trauma and that these changes predicted multiple organ failure and mortality and remained elevated for days. We have also investigated real world applications of important proteins and their applications in infectious disease.

Our team in Hong Kong will pioneer a translational programme focusing on the potential for circulating biomarkers as diagnostic and prognostic markers in patients with undifferentiated infectious diseases and sepsis. The University of Hong Kong has world-class facilities for omics research which are available for hospital front door, translational research.

We plan to perform comprehensive molecular profiling and integrative genomic and immunological studies on a large series of patients with infectious diseases and sepsis and to develop and validate pathways using next-generation sequencing, expression microarray, methylation array and DNA SNP genotyping array. The discovery of novel biomarkers using slow, complex biotechnology may then be evaluated for rapid point of care tests.

Supervisor:
Professor RAINER Timothy Hudson is a Clinical Professor and the Head of the Emergency Medicine Unit at the Li Ka Shing Faculty of Medicine at The University of Hong Kong. He is also an Honorary Consultant in the Department of Emergency Medicine at Queen Mary Hospital.

He has published in many high impact journals, including the British Medical Journal, Annals of Internal Medicine and Clinical Chemistry. His pragmatic innovative research has made Hong Kong a leader in emergency medicine research.

This new initiative is seeking Theme-Based Research Scheme (TBRS) funding, angel investors as well as partnerships with major pharmaceutical and diagnostic companies.

For recent publications from his team, please visit: https://www.researchgate.net/scientific-contributions/Timothy-Hudson-Rainer-2100530906

Supervisor’s information webpage link: https://emu.hku.hk/en/Our-Team/Academic-Staff

Faculty information, funding opportunities and application deadlines: https://www.findaphd.com/phds/program/biomedical-research-hku-li-ka-shing-faculty-of-medicine/?i586p4119

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