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Awards and Achievements

The University works extensively in promoting and expanding opportunities for students to engage in research activities to strengthen their research capability and gain hands-on experience. In this issue, we are proud to introduce some of the high-quality work and awards received by our research postgraduate students, whose achievements shine across multiple disciplines in the international arena and local community.   

Faculty of Architecture

1First-Year PhD Student Awarded in the Henderson Land Group’s Realising Your Imagination Creative Competition 

Anvar Mukhamedjanov, a first-year PhD student in the Department of Urban Planning and Design, has received the ‘Outstanding Award’ in the Realising Your Imagination Creative Competition organised by the Henderson Land Group.

Inspired by the lotus flower symbolising strength, resilience, and rebirth, Anvar created an imaginative ‘Lotus City for 25,000 People’ that envisions green, sustainable. and self-sufficient living. Here, people can benefit from vertical farming, a magnificent view of the sea, a pleasant year-round microclimate, and affordable housing. “Today, the vision of the cities of the future is no longer so ‘futuristic’,” said Anvar. “As Hong Kong plans to build artificial islands as part of the ‘Lantau Tomorrow Vision’, this concept has a chance to become a reality,” 

Click here to learn more about the competition and Anvar’s award-winning project.

 3PhD Student Wins First Prize in Smart Cities Innovation Competition in Geospatial Sciences 

Maosu Li, a PhD candidate of the Department of Urban Planning and Design supervised by Prof. Anthony Yeh and Dr Frank Xue, won the First Prize in the Smart Cities Innovation Competition (SCIC) of the International Society for Urban Informatics in July.

Maosu’s winning project is about his study on the automatic assessment of window view openness for high-rise, high-density areas using 3D colour point clouds. A high window view openness is preferred by urban dwellers, benefits human physical and mental health, and shows impacts on the real estate market, especially in high-rise, high-density urban areas such as Hong Kong.

In this project, Maosu presented both efficient and accurate assessment of window view distance through 3D semantic segmentation and OpenGL rendering of colour point clouds. The proposed approach can be applied in computing urban-scale window view openness for housing selection and valuation, local improvement of urban density, and overall optimisation of window view distance for architectural design. Click here for more information about the SCIC Competition.

3PhD Students Receives Merit Award at the CSDI Awards 2023

Weipeng Deng and Shuyu Lei, PhD students from the Department of Urban Planning and Design, as well as their teammates and alumni, Chi Chiu Cheng and Jin Zhang, have won a Merit Award in the Open Category of the Comprehensive Spatial Data Infrastructure (CSDI) Awards 2023 organised by the Development Bureau’s Geospatial Lab. With a focus on Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) aspects, the awards aim to stimulate students and the general public to apply spatial data creatively to solve pressing issues in urban environments.

Weipeng and Shuyu’s winning project is a web application named “City Connect 15+”. The concept envisions a city where residents can access essential services and amenities within a 15-minute walk or bike ride from their homes, fostering sustainability and community involvement. The web tools empower users to explore, analyse, and engage with Hong Kong’s geospatial data to address ESG challenges and improve urban living.  By integrating the 15-minute city concept with ESG aspects, the team aims to transform Hong Kong into a more liveable, healthier, and sustainable environment for all. Click here to learn more about the CSDI Award.

12321Architecture Student Examines the Limited Descriptions of Female Migrant Communities in the Outbreak Narratives

Lu Zhang, a PhD candidate under the supervision of Dr Eunice Seng of the Department of Architecture, presented a paper at the 76th Annual International Conference organised by the Society of Architectural Historians in Canada in April.  Titled “Outbreak narrative: China’s rural-urban migrant women in Covid-19”, the paper focuses on the limited descriptions of female migrant communities in the outbreak narratives, which reflect how female migrant workers reshape and subvert pre-existing female migrant communities and urban public spaces with more arduous urban engagement conditions.

In this past summer, Lu also served as a research fellow in the 2023 Doctoral Research Residency Program at the Canadian Centre for Architecture and worked on a project titled “Reading Marginalized Images: Women Labor and Urban China in Early Chinese Photography”.

Faculty of Arts

 123124PhD Student Discusses Social and Political Issues with Swedish Historians

PhD student Måns Ahlstedt Åberg from the School of Modern Languages and Culture (European Studies) attended the ninth Meeting for Swedish Historians at Umeå University in Sweden in June 2023.

As the moderator of a roundtable, Måns led a panel consisting of seven prominent researchers, archaeologists, and historians in the field in a discussion on the state of the research on the history of race science, eugenics, and biopolitics in Sweden—a topic of his book Frivilliga rasbiologer (Swe., Voluntary Eugenicists) published last year.  The roundtable fostered interactive discussion with the audience, which included an acclaimed journalist and a noted activist, to share views on various political issues in contemporary Swedish society.



459PhD Student Presents Research Study on Multilingual Language Practices

Max Lee, a PhD student from the School of Chinese, presented at the International Symposium on Bilingualism (ISB14) in Sydney in June.  The panel Max participated in, titled “The Creativity and Subversiveness of Hong Kong Multilinguals’ Language Practices”, aimed to provide a deeper understanding of the multilingual language practices in Hong Kong and move beyond conventional approaches.

Max’s contribution, “Translanguaging as a marketing strategy in public spaces: A Hong Kong case study”, drew on photographic and video data from Tai Nan Street, a bustling area in Hong Kong. The study examined how translanguaging—a force field that exists in a person’s language repertoire—is used as a marketing tool in public spaces.


Faculty of Education


45616PhD Student Develops a Novel Screening Tool to Address Hearing Loss and Cognitive Decline Problems

PhD student Shang Wang from the Faculty of Education and his supervisor Professor Lena Wong have developed a novel screening tool, known as the Integrated Digit-in-Noise (iDIN) test, to address the hearing loss (HL) and cognitive decline problems affecting the older adult population worldwide.

The iDIN test is the first in the world to screen both hearing and cognitive function simultaneously. This novel screening tool is quick, simple, and effective in detecting both HL and cognitive decline. Notably, the iDIN test is designed to be universally applicable, making it an efficient tool for use in various clinical settings.

Shang’s contributions to the development of the iDIN test earned him the Student Research Forum Award 2023 from the American Academy of Audiology. He also spent six months visiting the MRC Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit at the University of Cambridge to develop an English version of the iDIN test.  The iDIN test has also received support from the HKU DeepTech100 for commercialisation.

LKS Faculty of Medicine

3PhD Student Wins the Best 3MT Poster Presentation Prize

Ms Yuwei Liu, a PhD student under the supervision of Dr Weiping Wang from the Department of Pharmacology and Pharmacy, has won the Best 3MT Poster Presentation Prize in the 13th International Nanomedicine Conference held by the University of New South Wales Australian Centre for NanoMedicine (ACN) in Sydney from 19-21 June.

At the conference, Yuwei gave a poster presentation entitled “Cancer stemness inhibition-enhanced phototherapy achieved by light-controlled drug delivery system”. The designed system heralds a promising tactic to eliminate solid tumours precisely with synergistic efficacy and fewer side effects to normal organs.

Regarded as the premier nanomedicine meeting in the Southern Hemisphere, this conference has attracted over 250 registrants with representation from academia, medical research institutes, and biotech companies to share novel research that may lead to the prevention, diagnosis, and/or treatment of some of the most challenging diseases. Further information about the conference can be found here.

1PhD Student Wins the ECSS 2023 Young Investigator Award

Chit Kay Leung, a PhD student from the Division of Kinesiology, School of Public Health, was awarded the Young Investigator Award at the 28th Annual Congress of the European College of Sport Science (ECSS) held in Paris from 4-7 July. He won for his work titled “Effects of once-weekly high-intensity interval training on DXA-derived visceral adiposity in centrally obese adults”.

The annual congress held by ECSS is one of the biggest international exercise science conferences, with this year being the biggest one ever with over 600 young researchers partaking in the Young Investigators Award competition. This prestigious award recognises scientific excellence and is granted to four recipients for their outstanding presentation and defence at the conference.

Chit Kay’s award-winning work investigates the effectiveness on visceral adiposity of 30 minutes of high-intensity interval training (HIIT) performed once a week for 12 months. The findings reveal that HIIT performed weekly with a low frequency and low exercise volume can still induce substantial reductions in visceral adipose tissue. The work also provides preliminary insights into the safety, feasibility, and sustainability of performing HIIT in centrally obese adults for a prolonged period.

Faculty of Science

132HKU Chemists Create the MicroSpine with Shape-Transforming Properties for Targeted Cargo Delivery at the Microscale

A research team led by Dr Yufeng Wang from the Department of Chemistry has developed a new method to create biomimetic microscale materials called MicroSpine. These microscale superstructures mimic the spine structure, containing both soft and hard materials, and can act as microactuators with shape-transforming properties. The breakthrough, published in Science Advances, was achieved through colloidal assembly, a process in which nano- and microparticles spontaneously organise into ordered patterns.

“We also introduce a mechanism by which the soft component of the chain can expand and shrink when MicroSpine is heated or cooled, so it can change shape reversibly,” explained Ms Dengping Lyu, the first author of the paper and a PhD candidate in the Department of Chemistry. The research team believes this technology represents an important step towards creating complex microscale devices and machines. By taking inspiration from nature, the research team aims to design more biomimetic systems that can perform complex tasks at the microscale and beyond.

(This article is adapted from https://www.hku.hk/press/news_detail_26307.html)

23PhD Student Attends Stem Cell Conferences in Continents

Daisylyn Senna Young, a PhD candidate from the School of Biomedical Sciences, was a co-chair for the 2023 Germinal Stem Cell Biology Gordon Research Seminar (GRS) in Barcelona, Spain.  The GRS aimed to foster collaboration and career growth among young trainees, featuring a career panel with young faculty members.

Daisylyn took part in the year-long planning process involving coordinating with speakers, curating topics, and securing funding from the NIH and other sponsors. This summer, Daisylyn also presented at two international conferences: the 2023 Germinal Stem Cell Biology Gordon Research Conference in Barcelona and the 2023 International Society for Stem Cell Research Annual Meeting in Boston.  In the latter—which is the largest annual stem cell conference, this year attracting nearly 4,000 scientists from across the globe—she won a Merit and Travel Award. 



PhD Student Earns the Best Presentation Award with Insightful Earth Science Study

Chang Huang, a year-4 PhD student in the Department of Earth Sciences, attended the 17th International Luminescence and Electron Spin Resonance Dating conference (LED2023) hosted by the Department of Physics, Technical University of Denmark, in July. He presented the latest research on low temperature thermochronology using isothermal thermoluminescence signals from calcite.

Chang’s research investigated limestone rocks from the middle of the Nujiang River, in the southeastern Tibetan Plateau, where uplifting and incision has occurred in magnificent altitudes over the last two million years, providing an insightful value of luminescence research in low temperature thermochronology.  His research attracted great interest from participants, and he also received the Lars Bøtter-Jensen award for the best fundamental student presentation at the LED2023 conference.



HKU Earth Science Scholars Discover Offshore Freshened Groundwater: A Potential Source of Water Supply for Coastal Cities

PhD student Chong Sheng joined the hydrogeology research team led by Professor Jiu Jimmy Jiao of the Department of Earth Sciences and identified a previously unknown offshore freshened groundwater body with a static volume up to 575.6 ± 44.9 km3 in the Pearl River Estuary and adjacent continental shelf, with the low-salinity groundwater extending as far as 200 km offshore.  It is believed that such a large volume of offshore freshened groundwater should also exist widely in the world in other large-river deltaic estuaries and their continental shelves.

This work was published in Nature Communications in June 2023 and entitled “Offshore freshened groundwater in the Pearl River Estuary and shelf as a significant water resource”.


Treaty_AbrbitrationPhysics PhD Student Connects with World-Renowned Researchers in the United States

Xu Zhang, a PhD student from the Department of Physics under the supervision of Dr Zi Yang Meng, attended the American Physical Society March Meeting held in Las Vegas where he shared his research works from the past two years.  The conference brought together more than 13,000 physicists from around the world to showcase their work, connect with others, and discover ground-breaking physics research. At this conference, Xu presented a paper published in June in Physical Review B, entitled “Polynomial sign problem and topological Mott insulator in twisted bilayer graphene”.

Xu’s research interest focuses on many-body physics. With the support of his supervisor and Institute for Complex Adaptive Matter Sponsored QuantEmX Scientist Exchange Award, he also spent one month at the University of Michigan in Professor Kai Sun’s research group.  Learn More about Xu’s research work on his homepage: https://deadworm.github.io/.


PhD Student Investigates the Dynamical Properties of Quantum Many-Body Systems

Menghan Song, a PhD student from the Department of Physics, recently published a paper in Physical Review B, entitled “Different temperature-dependence for the edge and bulk of entanglement Hamiltonian”. In this paper, he and his co-authors propose a physical picture based on the wormhole effect of the path-integral formulation to explain the mechanism of entanglement spectra (ES). The results support the generality of viewing the ES as the wormhole effect in the path integral and the different temperature-dependence for the edge and bulk of ES.

“My research experience has been incredibly rewarding thus far, as I have had the opportunity to work with world-class scientists and use cutting-edge techniques to answer fundamental questions about the behaviour of quantum systems,” Menghan shared. “I am grateful for the support of the Hong Kong PhD Fellowship Scheme and excited to continue my research in Hong Kong.”

Faculty of Social Sciences


123Urban Visual Intelligence: Uncovering Hidden City Profiles with Street View Images

Professor Becky P.Y. Loo and her PhD student Zhuangyuan Fan from the Department of Geography recently published a paper entitled “Urban visual intelligence: Uncovering hidden city profiles with street view images” in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The research provides compelling evidence of how visual cues in urban environments can reveal crucial insights into neighbourhood characteristics.

Using computer vision to analyse 27 million street view images across 80 counties in the US, the team identified and mapped various urban features such as street furniture, building facades, and vegetation, and used these to predict the socioeconomic profiles of neighbourhoods.  The research showed that the identified urban features alone could account for up to 83% of the variance in people’s travel behaviour, 62% in poverty status, 64% in crime rates, and 68% in health behaviours, outperforming models based on points of interest, population, and demographics.

‘Urban visual intelligence’ provides insights for city planners and policymakers to create more place-based and people-oriented urban spaces. By understanding the hidden profiles of cities, communities can craft tailored interventions to address specific needs and enhance the overall urban experience.


12Postgraduate Students Explore Vital Research Themes in Gerontology

Postgraduate students under the supervision of Professor Vivian Lou from the Department of Social Work and Social Administration are delving deep into the multifaceted theoretical aspects of ageing to propose innovative solutions for better achieving inclusive ageing globally.

Clio Cheng’s research on framing and gerontechnology acceptance employs strategic health communication techniques to present wearable robots that enrich the daily life of the ageing population. Clio has been conducting a comparative study in the United Kingdom, in the capacity of Visiting Student at the Oxford Institute of Population Ageing, University of Oxford.





12Shirley Xu’s MPhil study focuses on exploring communication strategies that bridge the generation gap, fostering empathy, and improving connections, with an aim to equip service providers working with dementia families with effective communication techniques. This summer, she attended the 22nd Global Intergenerational Conference in Washington, DC, and she presented on a topic of the intergenerational programme.








Huanran Liu visited the German Centre of Gerontology and experienced fruitful discussions with scholars there. The ideas exchange provided insights for her PhD study on the examination of the challenges faced by long-distance caregivers, such as coordinating care, accessing resources, and maintaining emotional connections.  The results can help shape policies and interventions that ensure older adults receive optimal care.