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SURP 2019
FENG Lijin
University College London, UK
SURP 2019
“SURP has given me a precious chance to explore more about the specific topic I am interested in, as well as guided me with my future choice and direction of postgraduate degrees. Additionally, I have established some professional networks with the supervisors, current Ph.D. students, and other international students through this wonderful project.”
SURP 2018
Taraneh WESTERGERLING
University of Graz, Austria
SURP 2018
“There has been lots of hands-on lab work. Being able to work on parts of the project from the start gives me a sense of ownership and accomplishment. I loved the interaction with the locals, going on lunches with my host supervisor and the team to discover different food.”

Summer Undergraduate Research Programme (SURP)

Research Projects

Some 70 research topics are offered by CUHK host supervisors. Applicants are recommended to choose more than one project to increase the chance of admission.

Please click onto the Faculty tab below for the details of the research projects.

(In alphabetical order of CUHK department and surname of supervisor)

CUHK Supervisor: Prof. Jette HANSEN EDWARDS
Research Project (1): Hong Kong English: Attitudes, Identity, & Use
Project Description: Strong English speaking and writing skills are required. Students with a study background in humanities or arts are preferred.
Research Project (2): Varieties of English
Project Description: Strong English speaking and writing skills are required. Students should be interested in computer software for sound editing, and possess good online research skills.


CUHK Supervisor: Prof. LAI Yee King Regine
Research Project: Phonological Learning
Project Description: The student will participate in a project that investigates human’s ability to implicitly learn phonological rules through artificial languages.
CUHK Supervisor: Prof. MOK Pik Ki Peggy
Research Project: Speech Production & Perception Research
Project Description: Depending on students’ background and interests, there are various speech research projects available for students to participate. Students will be able to analyse real production and perception data.
CUHK Supervisor: Prof. WONG Chun Man Patrick
Research Project (1): Brain & Language
Project Description: Using a team-science approach, this project examines the neural basis of language learning and processing. Students will work closely with researchers to conduct a literature review, brainstorm ideas for specific experiments, collect data for ongoing experiments, and/or analyse existing data.

For students who have a strong background in this area of research, additional responsibilities may be assigned such as participating in MRI and EEG experiments. Students with appropriate experience may also have the opportunity to work with special populations such as children with autism and dyslexia.

Interested students are encouraged to familiarise themselves with journal papers published by the research group (brain.cuhk.edu.hk) and discuss specific project details at the first meeting with the host researchers considering students’ background and interests, as well as the lab’s latest focus.

Research Project (2): Foreign Language Learning
Project Description: The project will study how foreign languages are learned and the factors that influence learning success by studying classroom learners and/or artificial language learning in the lab. Students will work closely with researchers to conduct a literature review, brainstorm ideas for specific experiments, collect data for ongoing experiments, and/or analyse existing data.

Interested students are encouraged to familiarise themselves with journal papers published by the research group (brain.cuhk.edu.hk) and discuss specific project details at the first meeting with the host researchers considering students’ background and interests, as well as the lab’s latest focus.

Research Project (3): Infant Speech Perception & Language Development
Project Description: In this project, students will participate in an ongoing cohort study to identify early predictors of language and cognitive development. 300 infants are being longitudinally studied for up to 5 years. Students will work closely with researchers to conduct a literature review, brainstorm ideas for specific experiments, collect data for ongoing experiments, and/or analyse existing data.

Interested students are encouraged to familiarise themselves with journal papers published by the research group (brain.cuhk.edu.hk) and discuss specific project details at the first meeting with the host researchers considering students’ background and interests, as well as the lab’s latest focus.

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Department of Educational Psychology
CUHK Supervisor: Prof. SO Wing Chee Catherine
Research Project: Robot Based Intervention for Children with Autism
Project Description: This project aims to use social robots to train children with autism social and communication skills. Students who are major in special needs education, education or psychology are welcomed to join.

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(In alphabetical order of CUHK department and surname of supervisor)

CUHK Supervisor: Prof. Sebastian BEYER
Research Project: Metal-Organic Coordination Compounds for Biomedical Engineering Applications
Project Description: The project is at the interface of chemistry and biomedical engineering. Students will be involved in the synthesis of Zeolitic Imidazolate Framework 8 (ZIF-8, a polymorph of zinc(II)2-methylimidazolate) and the study of its application to biomedical engineering as sensor material or as drug delivery platform.
CUHK Supervisor: Prof. CHOI Chung Hang Jonathan
Research Project (1): Design of Nanoparticles for In Vivo Applications
Project Description: In this project, students will learn about basic concepts in bionanotechnology and drug delivery, tools in nanoparticle and biomaterials synthesis, and animal studies.
Research Project (2): Design of Nanoparticles for Intracellular Applications
Project Description: In this project, students will learn about basic concepts in bionanotechnology and drug delivery, tools in nanoparticle and biomaterials synthesis, and cell experiments.
CUHK Supervisor: Prof. HO Yi Ping Megan
Research Project: Biophysical Phenotyping of Red Blood Cells
Project Description: The aim of the project is to develop and validate techniques for the characterisation of red blood cells’ biophysical properties. Participating students will receive training on microfabrication and biomechanics.

Students with a background in engineering who are interested in biological applications are preferred.

CUHK Supervisor: Prof. TONG Kai Yu Raymond
Research Project (1): Augmented Reality Training Platform to Improve Brain Cognitive Function
Project Description: The aim of the project is to develop software on game/training interface to improve cognitive function for adults and kids. The students should have good development and debugging skills in using at least one of the following languages: C/C++, C#, Python and JAVA. Students with experience in machine learning, data analytics, and/or augmented reality (AR) application is preferred.
Research Project (2): Soft Robotic Design for Biomedical Engineering Applications
Project Description: The aim of the project is to design and evaluate new type of soft robotic device for medical application, including rehabilitation and assistive technology. Students have good drawing skill with software such as SolidWorks are preferred.


CUHK Supervisor: Prof. LEUNG Ho Fung
Research Project (1): Autonomous Agents & Multiagent Systems
Project Description: Students who are interested in autonomous agents and multiagent systems will discuss with the supervisor and identify a specific research.
Research Project (2): Text Categorisation
Project Description: Students who are interested in text categorisation will discuss with the supervisor and identify a specific research.


CUHK Supervisor: Prof. SUN Xiankai
Research Project (1): Novel Photonic Nanostructures for Integrated Photonics
Research Project (2): Photonics Based on Two-Dimensional Nanomaterials
Research Project (3): Physics & Applications of Nano-Optics & Nano-Optomechanics
Project Description: Students will conduct research in a lab environment under the guidance of the supervisor. Knowledge in physics, optics, acoustics, electronics and/or material science will be an advantage.
CUHK Supervisor: Prof. TSANG Hon Ki
Research Project: Waveguide Spectrometer
Project Description: The aim of the project is to build a spectral domain optical coherence tomography (OCT) system for three dimensional imaging. Students will be involved in the testing of silicon photonic integrated circuits which serve as the integrated spectrometer used in the ICT system.

Students who are in electronic, electrical engineering, physics or related science/engineering major are preferred.


CUHK Supervisor: Prof. REN Wei
Research Project (1): Combustion Diagnostics
Project Description: This project involves the development of novel combustion diagnostic tools for the fundamental studies of combustion chemistry in the state-of-the-art experimental facilities including shock tube and jet flame.

Students who are interested in the field with a background in engineering are preferred.

Research Project (2): Laser-Based Gas Sensor
Project Description: This project involves the development of novel trace gas sensors using laser spectroscopy. These sensors can be used for environmental monitoring and biomedical applications. Students with background in engineering, and/or optics are preferred.
CUHK Supervisor: Prof. SONG Xu
Research Project: Design Next-Generation Metal 3D Printer
Project Description: Additive Manufacturing, or commonly called 3D printing, is a manufacturing process which builds 3D components from CAD models by layer-wise material addition. This project will focus on metal additive manufacturing due to its capability to fabricate high-strength materials and structures, which can be readily used in some of the most demanding applications such as aerospace and biomedical fields.

Among all the metal additive manufacturing techniques, Powder Bed Fusion (PBF) is able to manufacture complex geometries with mechanical properties comparable to the bulk properties, therefore, developing next generation PBF machine becomes the focus of this proposal, and the emphasis will be on the resolution improvement by scaling down (1) laser beam diameter for in-plane resolution and (2) layer thickness for vertical resolution.

New laser system and new powder recoater will be designed and implemented in the CUHK inhouse-built Selective Laser Melting (SLM) machine.

Students with a background in mechanical engineering and knowledge in mechanical design are preferred. The project will be conducted in Hong Kong, though short trips to Shenzhen, China may be required given the suitable visa is granted.

CUHK Supervisor: Prof. ZI Yunlong
Research Project: Triboelectric Nanogenerator (TENG) Driven Smart Lighting Systems
Project Description: In miniature and smart lighting systems, the real-time tuning of intensity, angular profile and spectral power distribution (SPD) is needed considering environmental friendliness, comfortableness as well as sustainability. There was a variety of approaches to control the beam shapes and SPDs, however, most of those methods need high voltage which is very energy and spatial consuming.

The recently developed triboelectric nanogenerators (TENGs) have the capacity to achieve extremely high voltage attained by the ambient mechanical energy. The high voltage obtained from TENGs can be employed to drive the liquid lens embedded in a lighting system, and adjust the morphology of the lens with the different voltages. Therefore, the control of beam shapes and SPDs can be achieved. The proposed design can be used for colour-tuning desk lamp to achieve the best lighting quality in accordance with the ambient light environment.

In the project, students will be involved in HV-TENG design and prototyping, performing electrowetting or electrohydrodynamics characterisation of HV-TENG, conducting Monte-Carlo ray-tracing simulation for structure design of optical devices, and integrating HV-TENG and optical devices.


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(In alphabetical order of surname of supervisor.)

CUHK Supervisor: Prof. Bryan DRUZIN
Research Project (1): The Future of International Law
Project Description: This summer project aims at introducing the student to methods of research regarding the emergence of international law. Emphasis will be placed on data collection and analysis. This summer project will be conducted entirely in English. The key outcomes are for the students to:

(1) Develop the knowledge and understanding of the core principles of empirical legal research;

(2) Learn to interpret and organise research findings;

(3) Gain critical knowledge regarding international law.

Research Project (2): Understanding Globalisation
Project Description: This summer project aims at introducing the student to core methods of empirical research regarding globalisation. Emphasis will be placed on data collection and methods of empirical analysis. The summer project will be conducted entirely in English. The key outcomes are for the students to:

(1) Develop the knowledge and understanding of the core principles of globalisation;

(2) Learn to interpret and organise research findings;

(3) Gain critical knowledge regarding global institutions of governance

CUHK Supervisor: Prof. Benoit MAYER
Research Project (1): Climate Law
Project Description: Climate change is arguably the greatest global concern of our time. The entry into force of the Paris Agreement has accelerated efforts to mitigate climate change and adapt to its impacts. Many institutions have been established, many norms adopted, and many cases brought to courts. But are they really making a difference?

Students joining this summer project will have an opportunity to learn and think about how the law responds to climate change. The student will write a short research report on a specific issue-area to be defined with the supervisor.

Potential issue-areas include, but are not limited to, the following:

– The Global Stocktaking mechanism under the Paris Agreement

– Review of compliance under the Paris Agreement

– Climate action and the protection of human rights

– The sustainable development mechanism (art. 6 mechanism) and its importance for China

– The integration of the principle of sustainable development in the Paris Agreement and the Paris Rulebook

– The role of non-State actors (e.g. cities, enterprise) in climate change mitigation

– Customary international law on climate change

– Approaches to address loss and damage associated with the impacts of climate change in developing countries

– Public interest litigation

– The possibility of international litigation

Research Project (2): Public International Law
Project Description: Public international law governs the relations of States and international organisations in areas as diverse as trade and investment, human rights, environmental protection, diplomatic and consular relations, borders, etc.

Students participating in this summer project will have an opportunity to learn and think about how international law seeks to address contemporary issues. The student will write a short research report on a specific issue-area to be defined with the supervisor.

Potential issue-areas may include the following:

– Identification of customary international law

– Identification of general principles of law

– The work of the International Law Commission on the protection of the atmosphere

– The principle of sustainable development in international law

– The obligation of States to conduct an environmental impact assessment under international law

– State responsibility for internationally wrongful acts committed by States in concert

– Quantum of reparations in the responsibility of States for internationally wrongful acts

– Dispute settlement mechanisms under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea

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(In alphabetical order of CUHK department/school and surname of supervisor.)

CUHK Supervisor: Prof. KONG Pik Shan Alice
Research Project: Lifestyle Factors & Glycemic Control in Patients with Diabetes
Project Description: The project will focus on Hong Kong adult patients with type 2 diabetes. The attachment aims to provide students with a clinical research exposure relating to the examination of lifestyle factors, such as diet, sleep, and physical activity, and their impact on physical health of diabetes patients.

Through the project, students are expected to gain a better understanding on published evidence relating to various lifestyle factors and physical health in type 2 diabetes patients; study research methodology relating to lifestyle factors and health; analyse descriptive statistics data; learn fundamental principals in statistical analysis to examine correlations; and write up short conclusion report.

Students participating in this project will be required to conduct the research at the Prince of Wales Hospital.

CUHK Supervisor: Prof. YU Jun
Research Project (1): Clarifying the Role of Gut Microbiota in Gastrointestinal Cancers
Research Project (2): Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease & its Associated Liver Cancer
Project Description: Students can work on the research topics under the guidance of the supervisor. Students with a background in biomedicine, genome, molecular biology or pharmacology are preferred.

Students participating in this project will be required to conduct the research at the Prince of Wales Hospital.


CUHK Supervisor: Prof. LAM Tsz Ping
Research Project (1): Effectiveness of Brace Clinic for Management of Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis (AIS) – Analysis of a Randomised Controlled Trial
Project Description: There is a general agreement that bracing is effective in treating scoliosis. Important issues are on brace compliance and other determinants that govern bracing effectiveness. It is hypothesised that joint consultation by both an orthopaedic surgeon and orthotist for follow up of scoliosis patients being treated with bracing will enhance treatment outcome.

The project is a prospective randomised controlled study on adolescents diagnosed with AIS requiring bracing. Patients were already allocated to either one of the clinic settings, namely (a) Brace Clinic with joint consultation by an orthopaedic surgeon and orthotist and (b) Scoliosis Clinic where only an orthopaedic surgeon primarily saw the patient. As the cohort is reaching skeletal maturity when braces are gradually being weaned off, the stage has been reached when treatment outcomes can be compared between the Brace Clinic and Scoliosis Clinic. Cobb angle taken without brace at cessation of bracing will be the primary measurement for comparison.

Students participating in the project will conduct computer-assisted measurement on whole spine radiographs on spinal curvature with the use of the advanced EOS system, and analyse the treatment outcomes for a randomised controlled study.

Students participating in this project will be required to conduct the research at the Prince of Wales Hospital.

Research Project (2): Global Body Alignments in Adults & Elderly with Osteoporosis & Degeneration
Project Description: It has been reported that musculoskeletal degeneration during aging could lead to truncal malalignment. Typically, vertebral collapse could result in mismatch in spinal alignment and standing posture in terms of pelvic incidence and lumbar lordosis and thus causing back pain and compromised quality of life. Correction for these spinal malalignments has become an important goal in surgical intervention.

This study will utilise prospectively collected data and radiographs on adults and elderly, and review body parameters using an advanced imaging technology, i.e. the EOS imaging system. Patients were seen by orthopaedic surgeon with assessment of their physical condition, medical health and body measurements. Correlation between these measurements was made for better understanding of normality against which abnormalities can be referenced.

Students participating in the project will conduct literature review and analysis on spine and body alignment, and computer-assisted measurement on whole body radiographs on skeleton with the use of advanced EOS system. They will also be given the chance to observe how clinicians and nursing staff communicate with patients in real-life clinical setting.

Students participating in this project will be required to conduct the research at the Prince of Wales Hospital.

Research Project (3): Validation of a Novel Thumb X-Ray Method for Evaluation of Maturity & Prognosis in Children with Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis
Project Description: Maturity assessment is important in managing growth disorders that result in spinal deformity and limb length discrepancy as diseases progress mainly during maximum growth at puberty. The commonly adopted physiological and radiological methods are impractical for being too complex for routine clinical use. To solve these problems, we develop a simple thumb x-ray method based on only 3 digital epiphysis in hand. This method was recently reported in the orthopaedic literature to be user-friendly with excellent validity and reliability as compared to the current gold standard.

The objectives of this study is to validate a Thumb X-Ray Method (TOCI) in children with Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis for evaluation of 1) skeletal maturity and 2) curve progression and bracing prognosis.

Retrospective review will be conducted on spinal and hand radiographs obtained from a cohort of adolescent idiopathic scoliosis patients, to measure 1) radiological parameters on spine and limb deformity, and 2) thumb and hand maturity scale. The measurements will be correlated for formulating a practical reference for clinical usage.

Students participating in the project will gain knowledge on skeletal maturity scales in children, and also acquire research techniques on reliability test for a diagnostic tool and construct a simple prognostic and correlation model.

Students participating in this project will be required to conduct the research at the Prince of Wales Hospital.

CUHK Supervisor: Prof. LEE Kuang Sheng Oscar
Research Project: Investigating the Role of Mesenchymal Stem Cells on Muscle Regeneration in Ageing-Related Sarcopenia
Project Description: Sarcopenia is a geriatric syndrome characterised by loss of skeletal muscle mass and muscle strength, and is associated with reduced muscle regeneration capacity. It is a condition that primarily results in frailty during ageing.

Sarcopenia elicits by age-dependent declines in growth hormone and physical activity as well as chronic inflammation and metabolic disorders. Also, ageing-related alternations of the immune system have been reported to contribute to muscle loss substantially. Such differences in the immune system between young and aged populations, for example, macrophages undergo a significant phenotypic and functional change that results in dysregulation of muscle regeneration and sarcopenia.

Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) are known to sense inflammation through the expression of cytokine receptors and integrins to inflammatory sites. Recent findings have shown MSCs and MSC-derived extracellular vesicles to be able to modulate macrophages, which are critical regulators of muscle satellite cells during skeletal muscle regeneration. Therefore, the purpose of this study is to investigate whether MSCs promote muscle regeneration during sarcopenia and its underlying mechanism.

Students participating in the project should have completed the principles class for the subject area in cell biology, biochemistry and physics prior to the project. Candidates who have cell culture experiences are preferred. Students participating in this project will be required to conduct the research at the Prince of Wales Hospital.

CUHK Supervisor: Prof. ONG Tim Yun Michael
Research Project (1): Effect of Exercise Programmes on OA Knees: The Role of Myokines
Project Description: Osteoarthritis (OA) is a common disease, estimated to affect one in eight adults and it is a major cause of chronic pain. The incidence of knee OA increases with age and further increases with longer lifespan and higher average weight of the population. Improving muscle function can potentially slow the progression of OA knees.

The project aims to assess the effectiveness of muscle strengthening exercise programme on the pain and function of OA knees. The clinical symptoms and function, as well as the change in the blood levels of myokines will be compared for stationary cycling exercise programme with muscle strengthening programme on OA knees.

The study will be conducted in English, but communication with some of the patients would require Chinese. Other members of the research team will be able to provide support in translation.

Students participating in this project will be required to conduct the research at the Prince of Wales Hospital.

Research Project (2): Is Persistent Quadriceps Muscle Atrophy Related to Failed Myokine Responses in Patients after Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) Reconstruction?
Project Description: Persistent quadriceps atrophy can be seen in almost half the patients after ACL reconstruction and can persist beyond 12 months after surgery.

The project aims to compare the extent of persistent quadriceps atrophy in patients after ACLR. The association between levels of myokines and the extent of persistent quadriceps atrophy after ACLR will also be explored.

The study will be conducted in English, but communication with some of the patients would require Chinese. Other members of the research team will be able to provide support in translation.

Students participating in this project will be required to conduct the research at the Prince of Wales Hospital.


CUHK Supervisor: Prof. Katie MEEHAN
Research Project: Realising the Potential of Tumour-Specific Extra-Cellular Vesicles (tEV) as Novel Biomarkers for Oral Cavity Cancers
Project Description: Oral cancer patients are at high risk to develop recurrent disease or secondary primary cancers with no available biomarkers to detect these events until a visible lesion is readily present and diagnosed by biopsy. Novel biomarkers are urgently required for definitive early detection or prognostication.

Extracellular vesicles (EVs), small nanoparticles secreted by cancer cells, are involved in tumour growth, invasion and metastasis and are therefore, ideal candidate biomarkers and potential therapeutic targets. All biomarker research to date has focused on host derived EVs which includes EVs from a broad range of cell types. The problem with this is that the volume of cancer-specific EVs in biofluids is likely to be very low. The aim of this study is to use clinically derived 3D cultures to isolate cancer-enriched EVs in order to identify novel biomarkers. EVs will be isolated, characterised and microRNA cargo will be sequenced.

Students participating in this project will be required to conduct the research at the Prince of Wales Hospital and Queen Elizabeth Hospital.

CUHK Supervisor: Prof. NG Hoi Yee Iris
Research Project: Hearing Loss in Ageing Community: Implications on Identification, Management, Psychosocial & Neurophysiological Effects
Project Description: Students will be involved in an ongoing series of studies conducted by the project team. Depending on their study background, students will have the chance to administer neurophysiological, behavioural, or questionnaire measurements from local elderly, or to obtain hands-on experiences on data processing and analysis. For those who have sufficient Cantonese proficiency, they will also be engaged in face-to-face interview and interaction with local elderly.

The data collection sites include CUHK main campus, outpatient area at the Prince of Wales Hospital, and/or other community elderly care facilities.

Students participating in this project will be required to conduct the research at the Prince of Wales Hospital.


CUHK Supervisor: Prof. CHAN Wan Yi
Research Project (1): The Establishment of Airway Ciliary Motion Assessment Platform
Project Description: Cilia are highly conserved organelles that have important motility and sensory functions. Accumulating evidence suggests cilia to play a crucial part in cell signalling and in maintaining cellular homeostasis. As a result, defects in cilia formation or function have profound effects on the development of body parts orientation and the physiology of multiple organ systems.

Primary ciliary dyskinesia (PCD) is a genetically heterogeneous autosomal recessive disease characterised by mutations that cause complete or partial ciliary immotility. Due to the prominent role of cilia in the airways, PCD-caused mutations result in abnormal mucociliary clearance, a primary defence of the respiratory tract, leading to sinus infection, progressive airway obstruction, and ultimately bronchiectasis.

Dysfunction or defects in motile and primary cilia are now understood to underlie a number of devastating genetic conditions – termed ciliopathies – which carry a heavy economic and health burden on individuals and their families. Ciliopathies can affect multiple systems, causing blindness, deafness, chronic respiratory infections, kidney disease, heart disease, infertility, obesity and diabetes. These symptoms have significant impact on those affected; some are devastating, most are life-threatening.

With such an important role, we aim to explore the hypothesis that patients with other less severe respiratory diseases may have undiagnosed airway ciliary dysfunction similar to that seen in patients with PCD, these conditions include preterm infants with and without chronic lung disease, obstructive sleep apnea and even patients with asthma.

The aim of this project is to assess the potential broader clinical significance of airway ciliary dysfunction in paediatric patients with a spectrum of respiratory disorder by establishing the airway ciliary motion assessment platform.

Students participating in this project will be required to conduct the research at the Prince of Wales Hospital and the Hong Kong Children’s Hospital.

Research Project (2): Would a Subset of Rhinoviruses Associated with Asymptomatic Infection Protect our Airways from Other Viral Infections?
Project Description: In this project, we are going to walk you through the idea that the most commonly detected respiratory virus, rhinovirus (RV), could have some of its members being a ‘good virus’, causing no symptoms to human but exerting the basal antiviral effect in our airways.

The pilot data infers a negative correlation between the enterovirus/rhinovirus and influenza peaks epidemiologically using the dataset generated from the nasopharyngeal aspirate of hospitalised patients with either respiratory symptoms and/or fever (n=57,204), using the autoregressive integrated moving average model.

While a sequential infection experiment showed that an inoculation of RV-A16 48 hours prior to the influenza virus infection in primary human nasopharyngeal and bronchial epithelial would lead to 2 logs decrease in viral load when compared to those inoculated with influenza virus alone, it is appealing to elucidate the mechanism involves in this observation and explore if there are potential candidates which would exert the same beneficial effect without its pathogenicity.

Students participating in this project will be required to conduct the research at the Prince of Wales Hospital and the Hong Kong Children’s Hospital.


CUHK Supervisor: Prof. POON Chung Yan Carmen
Research Project (1): An FPGA-Based CNN Inference Accelerator for Diagnosing Multiple Types of Colorectal Cancers during Therapeutic Endoscopy
Project Description: Colorectal cancer (CRC) is one of the most common cancers worldwide. CRC is preventable, and colonoscopy is one of the most effective ways to prevent it. Nevertheless, polyps can be missed or misdiagnosed during colonoscopy.

The aim of this project is to devise and implement a computer-aided method based on the deep convolutional neural network (CNN) structure and model compression techniques for real-time diagnosis of polyps during colonoscopy.

Students with a background in engineering science, biomedical engineering and/or electrical and computer engineering are preferred.

Students participating in this project will be required to conduct the research at the Prince of Wales Hospital.

Research Project (2): A Multi-Task Deep Prediction Network for the Management of Acute Pancreatitis
Project Description: Acute pancreatitis (AP) is one of the most common reasons for hospitalisation for patients with gastrointestinal disease. AP is mostly caused by gallstones. Although endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) is an effective method for gallstones removal, patients underwent ERCP are at different risks of developing post-ERCP pancreatitis (PEP).

The aim of this project is to assess patients’ severity of acute pancreatitis, their need for endoscopic intervention and rectal indomethacin, as well as their risk of developing acute pancreatitis after endoscopic intervention by deep learning.

Students with a background in engineering science, biomedical sciences and/or medical sciences are preferred.

Students participating in this project will be required to conduct the research at the Prince of Wales Hospital.

Research Project (3): Classification of Oncogene Mutation in Colorectal Cancers by Deep Features Learnt from Whole Slide Images
Project Description: Colorectal cancer (CRC) is one of the most common cancers worldwide. The early diagnosis and cancer staging are important for the selection of treatment approaches. CRC is heterogeneous and dynamics in nature. Studies have confirmed that genomic mutations are associated with histological images.

This project aims to investigate the associations between oncogene mutations and histological images by using deep learning techniques to learn the clinical features of whole slide image of colorectal cancers from TCGA public database.

Students with a background in engineering science, biomedical engineering and/or bioinformatics are preferred.

Students participating in this project will be required to conduct the research at the Prince of Wales Hospital.

CUHK Supervisor: Prof. TEOH Yuen Chun Jeremy
Research Project (1): Long-Term Outcomes of Patients with Genitourinary Tuberculosis
Project Description: Genitourinary tuberculosis is a rare disease worldwide. However, the disease is much more prevalent in Asia. In this project, we will first conduct a systematic review of the literature regarding genitourinary tuberculosis, followed by a review of the long outcomes of patients with genitourinary tuberculosis in Hong Kong.

Students participating in this project will be required to conduct the research at the Prince of Wales Hospital.

Research Project (2): Understanding the Recurrence Mechanisms of Non-Muscle-Invasive Bladder Cancer
Project Description: Non-muscle-invasive bladder cancer is potentially curable with surgery. However, we observe a high recurrence rate of 15 to 61% at one year following surgery. In this project, we will conduct a systematic review to understand the recurrence mechanisms of non-muscle-invasive bladder cancer.

Students participating in this project will be required to conduct the research at the Prince of Wales Hospital.


CUHK Supervisor: Prof. CHAN Leung Franky
Research Project: Development & Characterisation of an In Vitro Model of Neuroendocrine Prostate Cancer
Project Description: Besides surgery, hormone therapy or androgen-deprivation therapy (ADT) targeting androgen signalling is the mainstay treatment option for advanced prostate cancer largely based on its dependence on androgen. However, almost all patients receiving such treatment will progress to a hormone-independent stage described as castration-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC). In recent years, there has been an increased incidence of a more aggressive variant of CRPC with phenotypes of androgen independence and neuroendocrine carcinoma, termed as neuroendocrine CRPC or treatment-induced neuroendocrine prostate cancer, likely due to the increasing use of more potent ADT agents. Currently, our understanding on progression and development of NEPC is very poor and also its treatment option is still absent. The aim of the proposed project is to develop a stable transgenic prostate cancer cell model (22Rv1) with double-knockout of two tumour suppressors TP53 and RB1 using the CRISPR-Cas9 technology.
CUHK Supervisor: Prof. CHENG Sze Lok Alfred
Research Project: Mechanism-Based Combination Immunotherapy for Liver Cancer
Project Description: The supervisor is interested in delineating the mechanisms of primary and adaptive resistance of immunotherapy, which has become one of the pillars of cancer therapy. His lab focuses on defining the epigenomic and transcriptional regulation of immunosuppressive cells such as MDSCs in liver cancer development. To address this objective, an integrative experimental approach involving patient-derived immune cells, genetically-modified cell line and mouse models is applied. The long-term goal of the research is to identify new target genes and pathways for effective immunotherapies.
CUHK Supervisor: Prof. ZHOU Jingying
Research Project (1): Investigating the Immunometabolic Liver Microenvironment in Cancer Liver Metastasis
Project Description: Liver is the most common site for cancer metastasis, the most important cause of cancer-related death. While liver tropism may reflect the anatomical structure, the distinctive feature of its microenvironment may also account for the metastatic outbreak of tumour cells. Obesity is a global epidemic associated with chronic inflammation, metabolic dysfunction, immunosuppression and more importantly, increased incidence of primary and metastatic cancers.

Given the importance of metabolic and immune imbalance in promoting metastatic tumour progression, the aim of the project is to investigate the underlying mechanisms of the metastasis-prone liver immunometabolic microenvironment. Using state-of-the-art technologies in the field of immunology, genomics and metabolism including multicolour flow cytometry, single cell RNA sequencing and metabolomics analysis as well as established orthotopic liver metastasis mouse models, new preventive and therapeutic strategies will be provided to reduce cancer-related death in the era of obesity epidemic.

Students who show enthusiasm in studying cancer biology, immunology or metabolism with a related background are mostly welcome.

Research Project (2): Transcriptional & Epigenetic Regulation in Immunosuppression Myeloid Cells
Project Description: The breakthrough in understanding the inhibition of negative immune regulation has paved way for cancer immunotherapy. The immune-checkpoint blockade (ICB) therapy has produced promising and yet modest objective response rates in some solid cancers such as hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), which have been attributable to the strong immunosuppressive tumour microenvironment (TME). Accumulating evidence has demonstrated that myeloid derived suppressor cell (MDSC), an immature myeloid population with potent T cell-suppressive activity, is remarkably associated with poor prognosis and ICB resistance of cancer patients.

The project aims to delineate the immunosuppressive MDSC subcluster profiling that might inform next-generation immunotherapy in ICB low responsiveness cancers, especially for the management of HCC. By employing an integrative genomics approach comprising scRNA-seq (single-cell RNA-sequencing), scATAC-seq (single-cell assay for transposase-accessible chromatin using sequencing) and CyTOF (cytometry by time-of-flight mass spectrometry or mass cytometry) in various preclinical models/clinical specimens to translate in-depth understanding of tumour immune evasion into precision combination immunotherapy with minimal toxicity.

Students who show enthusiasm in studying cancer biology or immunology with a related background are mostly welcome.


CUHK Supervisor: Prof. KWOK Kin On
Research Project: Tackling Antimicrobial Resistance with Multidisciplinary Thinking in Infectious Disease Epidemiology in Hong Kong
Project Description: This mega-study aims to explore the determinants in antimicrobial resistance acquisition in different settings in the population. By the end of the project, students should be able to gain specific domain knowledge of antimicrobial resistance, build up skills in performing systematic review, gain hands-on experience with empirical data collection, and build up skills in analysing empirical data.

Students participating in this project will be required to conduct the research at the Prince of Wales Hospital.

CUHK Supervisor: Prof. TSE Lap Ah Shelly
Research Project (1): Circadian Disruption, Sleep & Adverse Health Impacts
Project Description: Circadian rhyme disrupted by long-term nightshift work and sleep disorders have been linked to many health outcomes, such as apple-shape diabetes, breast cancer, and cognitive impairment.

This project will be part of the on-going tripartite collaboration between Utrecht University, University of Toronto, and CUHK.

Students may need to assist in data input, study subject interview and data collection with research team in Hong Kong. Proficiency in English is required while Chinese is welcome.

Students participating in this project will be required to conduct the research at the Prince of Wales Hospital.

Research Project (2): Long Half-Life Chemicals in Human Breast Milk
Project Description: Persistent organic pollutants (POPs) including dioxin in environment has posed serious threat to population health, in particular the newborns. Biological monitoring on POPs are becoming an important task for safeguarding the population sustainability and protecting the environment.

Students may need to assist in data input, study subject interview and data collection with research team in Hong Kong. Proficiency in English is required while knowledge in Chinese is welcome.

Students participating in this project will be required to conduct the research at the Prince of Wales Hospital.


CUHK Supervisor: Prof. CHOW Ka Ming
Research Project (1): Maternal & Environment Determinants of Development of Eczema in Chinese Children: A Birth Cohort Study
Project Description: Eczema is a complex and multi-factorial disease and the etiology of the disease is not yet completely defined. Its prevalence appears to vary worldwide, possibly due to the role of environmental factors in the expression of the disease. The interaction of gut commensal microbes is becoming recognised as crucial to the proper development of the immune system. However, in the Chinese population, the detail between gut microbiota and the development of eczema is yet to be defined. The study aims to identify early-life environmental and lifestyle risk factors in the development of eczema, the association of gut microbiome diversity in the development of eczema in early childhood and to examine if microbiome diversity mediates or moderates the relationships between development of eczema and environmental factors identified.
Research Project (2): Rebuilding Sexuality & Intimacy after Treatment for Gynaecological Cancer, through a Nurse-Led Sexual Rehabilitation Intervention: A Randomised Controlled Trial
Project Description: The study aims to implement a nurse-led sexuality rehabilitation intervention for gynaecological cancer survivors in Hong Kong, and evaluate its effects on sexual functioning, marital relationships and sexual distress among participants.

Students participating in this project will be required to conduct the research at the Prince of Wales Hospital and the Queen Elizabeth Hospital.

CUHK Supervisor: Prof. WONG Cho Lee Jo Jo
Research Project (1): A Community Health Worker-Led Multimedia Intervention to Increase Cervical Cancer Screening Uptake among South Asian Women: A Randomised Controlled Trial
Project Description: The aim of this randomised controlled trial is to evaluate the effects of a community health worker-led multimedia intervention on the uptake of cervical cancer screening among South Asian women. A total of 400 South Asian women (from Pakistan, India, or Nepal) who never had a Pap test or has not undertaken cancer screening in the last five years will be recruited. Subjects in the intervention group will receive CHW-led intervention which consists of (1) a multimedia education and (2) monthly telephone follow-up and navigation assistance.

Students participating in the project will gain hands-on experience in the collection and analysis of empirical data. Students with a background in nursing and/or public health are preferred.

Research Project (2): Effects of Immersive Virtual Reality Intervention on Pain & Anxiety among Paediatric Patients Undergoing Venipuncture: A Randomised Controlled Trial
Project Description: The aim of this project is to examine the effects of immersive virtual reality on reducing pain, anxiety, stress, and length of procedure among paediatric patients undergoing venepuncture. The satisfaction ratings of health care providers toward the procedures and cost-effectiveness of immersive virtual reality will also be evaluated. Students participating in the project will have both clinical and laboratory exposures.

Students with a background in health science and/or computer science are preferred.

Students participating in this project will be required to conduct the research at the Tseung Kwan O Hospital.


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(In alphabetical order of CUHK department/school and surname of supervisor.)

CUHK Supervisor: Prof. LUI Lok Ming Ronald
Research Project (1): Early Detection of Alzheimer’s Disease Using Shape Analysis of Brain Subcortical Structures
Project Description: Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is neurodegenerative disease that usually starts slowly and gradually worsens over time. It is affecting millions of people worldwide every year. The cause of the disease is poorly understood. Early detection of the disease is important for providing timely and suitable treatment to patients. Recently, it is believed that the shapes of brain subcortical structures are important indicators for the AD diagnosis.

The aim of the project is to develop a tool for the shape analysis of brain subcortical structures using mathematical techniques such as geometry. Basic undergraduate mathematical knowledge, such as linear algebra and advanced calculus, are required. Basic programming skill is preferred.

Research Project (2): Prediction of Sleep Apnoea in Child by Analysing 3D Facial Structures
Project Description: Sleep apnoea (SA) is a sleep disorder where a person has pauses in breathing or periods of shallow breathing during sleep. The disease is especially common in small children, which can be fatal if they are not given appropriate treatment. Recently, it is believed that SA can be detected from the facial structure.

The aim of the project is to develop a tool for the prediction of SA in children. A smartphone app which can construct a 3D human face by taking several photos of the patient from different angles will be developed. The 3D face will then be analysed using mathematical models, such as geometry. Basic undergraduate mathematical knowledge, such as linear algebra and advanced calculus, are required. Basic programming skill is preferred.


CUHK Supervisor: Prof. CHING Shuk Chi Emily
Research Project: Analysis of Complex Networks
Project Description: The study of networks has emerged in many branches of science. A system consisting of a large number of components that interact with each other can be represented as a network with the individual components being the nodes and the interactions between the components as the links joining the nodes. The overall behaviour of such a system depends crucially on the interactions among the nodes or the network structure depicting how the nodes are linked with each other.

In this project, students will learn basic concepts of network theory and apply such concepts to carry out analysis of a real-world networks of cultured neurons.

Knowledge of computer programming is required and experience with MATLAB or Python will be an advantage.

CUHK Supervisor: Prof. CHU Ming Chung
Research Project: Machine Learning in Experimental Particle Physics
Project Description: Students will be involved in working to improve the existing tau lepton identification and reconstruction tools in the ATLAS collaboration and may also help to create tools to facilitate the usage of machine learning in physics analysis in the Hong Kong ATLAS group.
CUHK Supervisor: Prof. LI Guang Feng Tjonnie
Research Project: Extracting Physics from Gravitational-Wave Detections
Project Description: The LIGO experiment detected, for the first time in human history, the stretching and squeezing of spacetime caused by gravitational waves. In particular, the LIGO experiment detected a signal from the merger of two black holes.

Gravitational waves carry information about the astrophysical sources that create them, which can be measured with precision by comparing observed data to models and simulations. In particular, source masses, angular momenta, location on the sky, and distance from Earth (among other things) all affect the amplitude or phase evolution of an observed GW signal. Parameter estimation is at the interface between theory and experiment, analysing LIGO data and developing methods to improve our knowledge of the explosive sources of gravitational waves.

This project will develop experience and skills in statistical analysis, high throughput computing and the Linus/Unix environment. Students will learn about the physics and astrophysics of compact binary coalescence, and gain experience with modern analysis techniques with large data samples.

CUHK Supervisor: Prof. WANG Jianfang
Research Project: Study of Plasmonic Nanocavities Gapped with Two-Dimensional Nanosheets
Project Description: The focus of the project is to understand the interaction between two-dimensional (2D) nanosheets and plasmonic nanocavities, where 2D nanosheets act as a spacer between gold nanocrystals that form the nanocavities. Plasmonic metal nanostructures can function as nanoantennas to tightly confine light. Plasmonic nanocavities formed between metal nanocrystals have the capabilities of precisely controlling the optical response and enormously enhancing the local electromagnetic field.

To date, however, the fabrication of plasmonic nanocavities with well-controlled gaps has presented a number of challenges. 2D nanosheets can rigidly and accurately control nanocavities through a single or a small number of layers. They also exhibit fascinating optical and electronic properties. In this project, we will develop robust approaches for the construction of 2D nanosheet-gapped plasmonic nanocavities and use them as a platform for strong light-matter interaction. We will perform optical/electrical measurements and theoretical modelling to investigate the plasmon-controlled optical properties of 2D nanosheets, the modulation of the coupled plasmons by 2D nanosheets, and the new synergistic phenomena arising from strong light-matter interaction in the nanocavities.

Students who are interested in interdisciplinary research and willing to work reasonably hard are welcome.


CUHK Supervisor: Prof. Michael CHAN
Research Project: Crystal Immobilised Enzymes for Industrial Catalysis
Project Description: The research project involves producing Cry-enzyme fusion crystals (e.g. Cry-lipase crystals for biodiesel conversion) and measuring their activity, stability, and recyclability. Student with a background in chemistry and biochemistry is a requirement.
CUHK Supervisor: Prof. Laura FALKENBERG
Research Project: Effects of Future Climates on Marine Organisms
Project Description: The research project focuses on studying climate change effects (e.g. ocean warming, ocean acidification, extreme weather events) on marine algae, animals, and ecosystems. The research focus will be on algae and invertebrate (e.g. copepod, gastropod, or urchin) with a view to understand how they, and the ecosystems they are found in, may operate in the future. The project will consider the response observed within a wider context that encompasses physiology (e.g. growth, metabolism), behaviour (e.g. feeding interactions), and ecology (e.g. habitat use, competition, trophic cascades). To explore these organism responses, the students will use tank experiments within which organism are held, and conditions manipulated. The experimental work will, therefore, include establishing the experimental set-up (with organisms), measuring and maintaining experimental treatments, and quantifying organism responses.

Students with a background in marine biology and/or ecology are preferred. The experimental work will be conducted at Simon F.S. Li Marine Science Laboratory.

CUHK Supervisor: Prof. JIANG Liwen
Research Project: Organelle Biogenesis & Function
Project Description: The research project focuses on understanding the underlying mechanisms of protein trafficking, organelle biogenesis and function in eukaryotic cells (e.g. plants) using a combination of imaging, cellular, molecular, biochemical and genetic approaches.

Students will have the opportunity to learn and involve in a specific project while working together with senior researchers in the lab.

CUHK Supervisor: Prof. KANG Byung Ho
Research Project (1): Characterisation of the 3D Architectures of the Golgi Apparatus Using Electron tomography
Project Description: One of the specialities of the host lab is in electron tomography imaging of membranous organelles. In this project, students will have opportunities to collect high-resolution microscopic data from frozen mammalian or plant cells to determine the 3D structures of the Golgi apparatus in the cells. In both animal and plant cells, the Golgi consists of disk-shaped compartments, termed cisternae, piled into stacks. However, spatial organisations of the Golgi stacks are strikingly different.

The mutant cell lines in which the Golgi architectures are altered will be studied using advanced microscopy tools. Students who are interested in cell biology or image processing are welcome to join.

Research Project (2): Three-Dimension (3D) Electron Microscopy Analysis of Parkinson’s Disease Model System in C. elegans
Project Description: Parkinson’s disease is an age-dependent neurodegenerative disease, affecting millions of people worldwide. Despite its devastating consequences, there is no cure for Parkinson’s disease currently. Parkinson’s disease in human is associated with mutations leading to alterations in a protein called Parkin. The protein is involved in the recycling of damaged mitochondria. PDR-1 is a Parkin homolog in C. elegans, and we have discovered that its mutations analogous to abnormal human Parkin lead to promiscuous mitochondrial removal, destroying healthy organelles. As a follow-up research, the mitochondrial elimination in developing embryos of C. elegans in which PDR-1 is inactivated will be characterised with 3D electron microscopy analysis.

Students who are interested in cell biology or medical sciences are welcome to join.

CUHK Supervisor: Prof. KWAN Kin Ming
Research Project: Genetic Study of Organ Formation & Function
Project Description: Students with a background in cell biology and with basic lab techniques are welcome.
CUHK Supervisor: Prof. LAM Hon Ming
Research Project (1): Functional Characterisation of a Plant Unconventional G-Protein (YchF1) which Plays Roles in Both Biotic & Abiotic Stresses
Project Description:

 

YchF is an unconventional G-protein, which is very conserved among all kingdoms of life except Archaea and thus this descendant of an ancient protein probably plays vital roles in nearly all lives. However, its physiological role still remains unclear. Rice YchF1 protein (OsYchF1) was the first plant YchF protein reported with physiological functions. It acts as negative regulator in both biotic and abiotic stresses. In addition, its interacting partners were found to function in global protein metabolism. How these interaction leads to plant YchF function as negative regulator in stress responses is the next question to answer. To achieve this end, site-directed mutagenesis was adopted to construct transgenic Arabidopsis with mutated AtYchF1 expressed. By characterising these mutant AtYchF1 which no longer binds to particular interacting partner under stress conditions, the mechanism of YchF proteins relating to global protein metabolism and finally playing role as negative regulator in stress responses would be delineated.

Students with knowledge in molecular biology, plant physiology and/or genetic engineering will be an advantage. Research works will include plantation, plant abiotic and biotic treatments, phenotypes characterisation and data analysis.

Research Project (2): Study of the Soybean-Environmental Interaction
Project Description: Under the climate change conditions, the interaction between soybean and the environment could largely affect the growth of soybean plant and the final yield. To mine the useful genetic resources in soybean for crop improvement, genomic study will be carried out to integrate the large collection of genome information and phenotypic data collected from different soybean accessions under different environmental conditions. Participant of this project will be involved in collecting the phenotype data of soybean and the study of some selected gene candidates from soybean.

The research works will include greenhouse and field work in Hong Kong, investigation of soybean plant phenotypes under different conditions, data collection, entry and analysis. Knowledge in basic genetics and molecular biology is a requirement.

CUHK Supervisor: Prof. NGO Chi Ki Jacky
Research Project (1): Role of Splicing Factors in Neurodegenerative Diseases
Project Description: The splicing factor SRSF1 has recently been implicated in the pathogenesis of C9ORF72-related amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. In this project, students will be involved in investigating if SRSF1 and other SR splicing factors contribute to the pathogenesis of other repeat-expansion neurodegenerative diseases like Huntington disease and spinocerebellar ataxia.
Research Project (2): Studying the Inhibitory Mechanism of a Covalent Kinase Inhibitor in Cancer Cells
Project Description: The supervisor’s research team has recently developed a covalent inhibitor that targets a family of kinases to inhibit angiogenesis. In this project, students will investigate the inhibitory activity of this inhibitor on metastasis in different cancer cell lines.

Students with a biological and/or biomedical sciences background are preferred.


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(In alphabetical order of CUHK department and surname of supervisor.)

CUHK Supervisor: Prof. CHAN Chung Shing
Research Project: Investigating Hearing-Impaired Visitor Experience in Hong Kong Wetland Park from a Perspective of a Multi-Sensory Functional Landscape
Project Description: This project aims to understand and assess the multi-sensory experiences of hearing-impaired visitors to the Hong Kong Wetland Park. This study will understand how sensory-impaired people perceive, react and interpret their surrounding landscaped environment distinctively by their constrained sensory ability.

Through the case of the Hong Kong Wetland Park, this study will discern the five human senses holistically, with respect to hearing-impaired visitor experiences, and specifically to understand how impaired sensory experiences are portrayed and perceived by the sampled visitors. Through a series of guided and free visits to the park, the study will elucidate the self-reported experiences of sensory stimuli, park environment and sensory-based factors of the hearing-impaired participants. Key research methods include systematic participant observations, self-administered questionnaires and focus-group discussions, targeting a sample of 240 participants.

Students with knowledge in tourism, geography, sociology, psychology, or other fields in social sciences are welcomed. Proficiency in English is required and knowledge in Chinese is preferred.

CUHK Supervisor: Prof. LAI Yuk Fo Derrick
Research Project (1): Effects of Simulated Warming on Soil Respiration in Subtropical Forests
Project Description: In this project, students will conduct field and lab work to assess the impacts of warming on soil respiration in the subtropical forests.
Research Project (2): Microplastic Pollution in Hong Kong Wetlands
Project Description: In this project, students will conduct field and lab work to examine the extent of microplastic contamination in different components of wetland ecosystems.
Research Project (3): The Role of Vegetation in Greenhouse Gas Dynamics of Subtropical Coastal Wetlands
Project Description: In this project, students will conduct field and/or lab measurements to investigate the effects of vegetation on greenhouse gas production and emissions in coastal mangroves.


CUHK Supervisor: Prof. KIM Minseop
Research Project: The Interplay of Parental Employment, Parenting, & Child Development: Evidence from Hong Kong
Project Description:

 

This research project will examine whether and how parental employment influences parenting behaviours, which may in turn affect young children’s developmental outcomes, using survey data collected from a random sample of Hong Kong parents with pre-schoolers.

Students are expected to conduct literature reviews on relevant theories and previous empirical studies. They will also have an opportunity to manage and analyse survey data sets.


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