23 January 2021
21 July 2020
CUHK Graduate of Global Physician-Leadership Stream Receives Esther Yewpick Lee Millennium Scholarship to Pursue Clinical Research

Dr. Timothy Liong Tipoe, a 2019 graduate of the MBChB programme in the Global Physician-Leadership Stream of The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK), has been awarded the Esther Yewpick Lee Millennium Scholarship to pursue a DPhil in Clinical Medicine at the University of Oxford, starting from October this year.

Timothy has always excelled in academics, as demonstrated by his 11A*s in the 2012 General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE) and a perfect score of 45 in the 2014 International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma.

The Global Physician-Leadership Stream provides an abundance of overseas research opportunities to its students and Timothy has had some first-hand experience of the ground-breaking clinical research and current avenues of innovation through being attached twice to the Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine in Oxford. He was able to assimilate well into their competitive research environment and this inspired him to pursue a DPhil at Oxford. Timothy says that he chose to study clinical medicine because the research expertise and clinical knowledge gained through his postgraduate pursuit at Oxford are expected to have a direct impact on his future practice as a doctor and clinical scientist when he returns to Hong Kong.

“Getting to this point in life was never easy. In fact, one point that I persistently reiterated throughout my interview process was that human beings are far from perfect. Strengths always come with weaknesses, but ultimately as my family and close friends have taught me, our inadequacies shape our individuality as humans and make us strive for improvement and future success,” said Timothy.

His current inspiration is towards clinical research in HIV. Despite the widespread availability of anti-retroviral therapy (HAART), there is still no definite cure for the disease. Timothy will be working closely with Professor John Frater, a distinguished virology researcher and medical doctor who specialises in HIV research and therapeutics. The team plans to research novel therapies in HIV and, hopefully, get one step closer to discovering biomarkers for HIV which would be predictive of viral clearance, relapse and possible cure. Timothy also hopes to investigate the immunology behind HIV and discover more about the pathogenesis and subsequent viral mechanisms of the disease.

He added, “Apart from the HIV research, I hope my work in Oxford will have a substantial impact on healthcare in Hong Kong, particularly in infectious disease. As a developed and globalised city, Hong Kong is under constant threat from communicable and infectious diseases, evidenced by the recent COVID-19 pandemic. In fact, recent studies by researchers have been investigating the use of particular anti-viral drugs as possible therapies for treating COVID-19 (Healthline, 2020). The seemingly inter-connected nature of HIV, COVID-19 and other infectious diseases demonstrates the potential seen in infectious disease research, and as a future clinical doctor and researcher, I intend to use my knowledge acquired in the DPhil to gain a better understanding of infectious diseases and ultimately improve Hong Kong’s healthcare in this field as a whole.”  

The Esther Yewpick Lee Millennium Scholarship, tenable at the University of Oxford, was established with funds from the estate of the late Dr. Esther Yewpick Lee, whose family has had strong connections with and affection for both CUHK and Oxford. The award amounting to over HK$1 million fully sponsors the scholar to study a postgraduate programme, covering the University and College fees at Oxford, a return economy class air fare and an annual personal allowance to take care of board and lodging and other maintenance costs, for a maximum period of 3 years. It is offered for young prospective leaders who meet the academic criteria, have a respect for humanity, possess a curious mind, moral integrity and a spirit of adventure, and demonstrate the potential to make a contribution to the well-being of the community. 

Timothy serves as a student intern at the Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine, The University of Oxford

Timothy performs whole genome amplification (WGA) at the Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine

Timothy serves as a House Officer at the Prince of Wales Hospital