About us


About us

The Swallowing Research Laboratory is affiliated with the Human Communication, Development, and Information Sciences (CDIS), The University of Hong Kong. It was established in 2009. Our research focuses on comprehensive assessment and treatment for individuals with swallowing difficulties, with the aim of improving their swallowing abilities, quality of life and overall well-being. In order to increase public awareness about dysphagia management and to look for alternatives to treat swallowing difficulties in the elderly, our research team continues to pursue development in dysphagia research.

Our swallowing function changes with age. Older adults need longer time for processing of food and have weaker swallowing function. Our research team found that approximately 60% of the elderly in nursing homes and 40% of the elderly in day care centres suffer from swallowing difficulties, i.e. dysphagia. Many older adults also have difficulty in communicating their swallowing difficulties to their carers. Furthermore, carers such as frontline staff in aged care facilities and relatives often lack knowledge and skills in swallowing management.


Patients suffering from stroke, Parkinson’s Disease, dementia or head and neck cancer may also suffer from dysphagia. People with dysphagia are at high risk of malnutrition, dehydration, and reduced quality of life. Hong Kong has an increasingly aging population, and the burden of care due to swallowing difficulties will rise with the increase in older adults.


Professional Team

Karen Chan

Dr. Karen Chan,
Associate Professor

Speech Therapists:

Ms. Joana Liu
Ms. Denise Chua

PhD/MPhil students:
Ms. Joana Liu
Mr. Archie Cheng
Ms. Winnie Cheung
Ms. Denise Chua


Graduated PhD/MPhil students
Ms. May Poon
Ms. Dai Pu
Ms. Ivy Cheng
Ms. He Wei Jia



Current collaboration includes local and international institutes:
Department of Diagnostic Radiology, LKS Faculty of Medicine, HKU
Department of Surgery, LKS Faculty of Medicine, HKU
Department of Medicine, LKS Faculty of Medicine, HKU
School of nursing, PolyU
Faculty of Dentistry, HKU
Department of Neurology, Tung Wah Hospital
University of Queensland

Community Partner:
Sik Sik Yuen
The Hong Kong Society for the Blind (HKSB) Residential Services


**In alphabetical order