HKU RIICH  Key Members

Faculty of Arts

Dr. Olga Zayts

Director, Research and Impact Initiative on Communication in Healthcare (RIICH)

Associate Professor, School of English, The University of Hong Kong

Leader, Health Communication Research Cluster (HCRC)

Board Member, Mind HK​

Olga is a sociolinguist whose areas of expertise and interest can broadly be described as interactional approaches to professional communication, particularly in healthcare settings. In the last 10 years she has worked on several large-scale, government funded research projects studying social interactions in genetic counselling and prenatal screening in Hong Kong. This work has included close collaboration with several public hospitals and the Clinical Genetic Services of Hong Kong.


Olga leads the Health Communication Research Cluster in the Faculty of Arts at The University of Hong Kong. She is a member of the Consortium on Clinical Genetics and Genomic Medicine (Hong Kong West Cluster (HKWC)/HKU) that strives to improve genetic and genomic services in Hong Kong.

Dr. Brian King

Assistant Professor, School of English, The University of Hong Kong

Leader, Communicating Sex Variation Research Cluster (CSV)

Trustee, Intersex Trust of Aotearoa New Zealand (ITANZ)

​Brian is a critical sociolinguist who researches the role of language and communication in lived experiences of bodies and identities, exploring these themes at the intersection of ethnicity, gender and sexuality. He has worked on several research projects with intersex collaborators in New Zealand and the USA, learning firsthand about their experiences with language in educational and healthcare settings. He has begun to investigate the Hong Kong healthcare sector and how variations of sex development are communicated via language in diverse social interactions. He is currently developing two projects: (1) Communicating Intersex Body Traits in Hong Kong and (2) Language and Variation of Sex Characteristics in Biomedical Literature: A Corpus-based study.

Brian leads the new Communicating Sex Variation Research Cluster (CSV) in the Research and Impact Initiative on Communication in Healthcare (RIICH). He is a member of the board of trustees of Intersex Trust Aotearoa New Zealand (ITANZ) that strives to advocate dignity, diversity and choice for people born with intersex traits.

Mr. Zhengpeng Luo

PhD Candidate, School of English, The University of Hong Kong 

Zhengpeng is a PhD candidate working on the topic of genetic literacy in the context of direct-to-consumer (DTC) genetic testing in Mainland China and Hong Kong. Genetic literacy refers to people’s ability to understand genetic information and engage with genetics-related issues (Bowling et al., 2008). DTC genetic tests refer to tests that are sold to the public directly foregoing specialist medical involvement (Hogarth et al., 2008). Recent social and technological advances are extending the relevance of genetic science and knowledge beyond the purely scientific and medical domains into people’s everyday lives. Lay people nowadays can directly access genetic information about their ancestry, fitness and health risks from commercial companies that sell direct-to-consumer (DTC) personal genetic tests (Zayts & Luo, 2017). The approval of some of the genetic tests offered by the US-based DTC company 23andMe by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2015 arguably marks the beginning of a new era in the provision of this kind of service. In the context of such developments, genetic literacy has become particularly relevant for people who undertake or consider undertaking personal genetic testing. Available research into genetic literacy primarily comes from the medical and public health literatures which tend to be quantitative in nature; qualitative studies investigating the sociocultural aspects of genetic literacy are scarce. Based on detailed analyses of several sets of data corpora, Zhengpeng’s research examines the discursive practices that participants of personal genetic testing (i.e. consumers, genetic test providers) employ to negotiate, construct and manage genetic knowledge in relation to health and wellbeing.

Ms. Xiaowei Li

PhD Candidate, School of English, The University of Hong Kong

Xiaowei is interested in discourse analysis, interactional sociolinguistics, health communication, family discourse and online discourse. She uses theories and methods of discourse analysis to examine interaction about health and illness across a range of contexts, particularly in prenatal genetic counseling. Her current research project explores the prenatal genetic counseling for non-invasive prenatal testing (NIPT) in a major city in Mainland China.

Mr. Andy Hui

Mphil Candidate, School of English, The University of Hong Kong

Andy obtained his undergraduate degree in Biochemistry at the University of Hong Kong. After graduating from the Faculty of Science, he worked as a research assistant at the School of English with a focus on the topics of genetic counseling and mental health. Andy will be a MPhil candidate working on the triadic communications between genetic professionals, parents and children in genetic counseling for Sudden Arrhythmia Death Syndrome (SADS) in Hong Kong. Given the increasing global emphasis on the involvement of children in the healthcare discussion, Andy’s project focuses on the participation level of probands under eighteen in authentic genetic counseling sessions, especially during the discussion of disclosing genetic information and decision-making for genetic testing. It also examines the rhetorical and discourse strategies that genetic professionals and parents employ in communication with minors in Hong Kong.

Faculty of Education

Dr. Susan Bridges (Co-Director; Research Cluster Leader)

Ms. Xinyue Xu (PhD candidate)

Li Ka Shing Faculty of Medicine


Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology

Dr. Tang HY, Mary

Dr. CP Lee

Dr. Anita SY Kan

Department of Psychiatry

Prof. Eric Chen (Head of Dept)

Department of  Paediatrics and Adolescent Medicine

Dr. Brian Chung

Faculty of Dentistry

Dr. C McGrath

Dr. Yiu, CKY

Dr. Hai Ming Wong

Faculty of Social Sciences

Dr. Paul Wong

Members in Other Universities


City University of Hong Kong

Dr. Jack Pun


The Hong Kong Polytechnic University

Dr. Engle Angela Chan


The Chinese University of Hong Kong

Prof. Albert Lee

Collaborating Healthcare Institutions


Clinical Genetic Services of Hong Kong (Dr. Ivan Lo, Director)


Queen Mary Hospital

Tsan Yuk Hospital

HK Sanatorium and Hospital (Ms. Manbo Man)

Tsuen Mun Hospital

Collaborating NGOs

Mind HK

City Mental Health Alliance

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