- Oxford Croucher Scholarship in 2023 at University of Oxford
About Augustine Luk’s work
Augustine Luk’s research centres on infectious diseases, genomics and data science, with a special focus on antimicrobial resistance (AMR). AMR causes excess mortality, poorer patient outcomes, longer hospital stays and increased healthcare costs and burden. In 2019 alone, 4.95 million deaths were associated with drug-resistant infections worldwide.
Gram-negative bacteria are particularly notorious for their high resistance profile and propensity to develop multi-drug resistance. They are the primary cause of hospital-acquired infections, implicated in many bloodstream infections, pneumonia, and meningitis.
Luk’s work will focus on developing novel bioinformatic algorithms to identify AMR genes in Gram-negative bacterial genomes and plasmids, as well as their associated genetic contexts (e.g. promoters), from whole genome sequencing and clinical data. Using a combination of statistical, machine learning and deep learning techniques, the goal is to provide accurate and personalised in silico predictions of antibiotic efficacy. Such insights could help guide clinical decision-making on empirical antibiotic choices or escalation of therapy for those with inadequate response or those with severe infections.
This research also has the potential to uncover new AMR determinants with a better understanding of resistant mechanisms and drivers of AMR transmission and evolutions in Gram-negative bacteria.
Augustine Luk gained an Entrance Scholarship to study medicine at the University of Hong Kong in 2015, graduating with an MBBS in 2021. During his studies, he was recognised with a Chui’s Students of Excellence award and the Sun Chieh Yeh Heart Foundation Enrichment Scholarship. This enabled him to conduct research at Imperial College, London on developing deep-learning techniques for reconstructing cardiac MRI images in cardiomyopathies.
Upon graduation, Luk contributed to the COVID-19 frontline in Hong Kong and completed his post-graduate internship in 2022. He earned an MSc in Applied Digital Health from the University of Oxford in 2023, with his dissertation on using machine learning and electronic health records (EHR) for personalised AMR prediction in sepsis patients.
Luk is pursuing a Doctor of Philosophy (DPhil) in Clinical Medicine at the University of Oxford, supervised by Professors David Eyre, David Clifton and Sarah Walker.