Department of Pathology

Research Questions

  • What is the meaning of personalised medicine and how can it be harnessed?
  • How do cancers take control over the body and develop into a deadly disease?
  • Are immunological approaches effective for treating cancer or other diseases?
  • How are inherited disorders of blood and metabolism diagnosed and treated?
Research student in a lab
Research Areas

1. Gynaecological malignancies

Molecular genetics in diseases of the female genital tract including cancers of the ovary, endometrium and cervix as well as gestational trophoblastic disease. Genetic and signalling pathway studies on carcinogenesis, cancer stem cells, metastasis and chemosensitivity are some of the research topics.


Professor ANY Cheung


2. Gynaecological Pathology

Our research focuses on the molecular mechanisms of the development and progression of rare female reproductive tract malignancies. Our projects focus on molecular biomarkers for diagnosis and therapy. We have close collaborations with local gynaecological oncologists and international gynaecological pathologists.




3. Molecular Oncology, Pathology and Genetics of Breast Cancer

Our research interest focuses on investigating the underlying molecular mechanisms contributing towards drug resistance in the treatment of breast cancer. This includes cancer genetics, identification and molecular characterization of biomarkers that predict drug response and the development of novel targeted therapies.


Professor US Khoo


4. Genomics, Genetics and Precision Cancer Medicine in Colon and Stomach Cancers

Generation of 3D organoid culture model of stomach and colon cancer; large scale multi-omics profiling and drug testing to identify biomarkers that predict drug response; identification and characterisation of novel cancer driver genes and pathways; CRISPR-Cas9 genome editing for functional genomic study; discovery of new drug targets, new biomarkers, and new pathways of cancer development with therapeutic implications.


Professor SY Leung


5. Characterisation of Molecular Mechanisms and Signalling Pathways in Cancers




6. Molecular Genetic and Functional Analyses of Novel Genes and Important Cellular Pathways in Liver Cancer

One of this laboratory's research focuses is on the identification of tumour suppressor genes. We have previously characterised genes that may play important roles in the formation of liver cancer. We are continuing to characterize these novel tumour suppressor genes both genetically and functionally and to delineate their interacting partners and mechanisms. Characterization of important cell signalling pathways is a major challenge in liver cancer research. We are characterizing major oncogenic signalling pathways in liver cancer. We will also investigate the cooperation and crosstalk of this pathway with other critical genes and pathways.


Professor IOL Ng


7. Nasopharyngeal Carcinoma (NPC)

Pathogenetic roles of viruses in NPC and other infectious diseases of the respiratory tract.


Professor JM Nicholls


8. Malignant Lymphoma

Molecular pathogenic mechanisms of malignant lymphoma.


Dr RKH Au Yeung


9. Genetics and Epigenetics of Liver Cancer

Liver cancer is one of the most common malignancies worldwide and is particularly prevalent in Asia and Hong Kong. Our research focuses on studying the molecular mechanisms of liver carcinogenesis, with major research areas including genetic alterations (mutation, chromosomal gain/deletion), epigenetic abnormalities (DNA methylation, histone modifications, and chromatin remodelling) and non-coding RNA deregulation (microRNA and IncRNA) in liver cancer. We also employ next-generation sequencing and CRISPR genome editing technologies for deciphering the functional cancer genome and epigenome.


Dr JCM Wong


10. Molecular Mechanistic Study of Liver Cancer

Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is an aggressive tumour with metastasis as a signature in the advanced stage. A supportive microenvironment in the distant organs for the colonization of incoming disseminated cancer cells during metastasis is indispensable. Intercommunication between cancer cells and microenvironment plays a crucial role during cancer development and metastasis. Extracellular vesicle (EV) shedding from cells has emerged as an important channel for cell-cell communication. EV plays an important role in influencing the local tumour microenvironment and forming pre-metastatic niche in distant organ sites. EV content is regarded as a fingerprint of the releasing cells; it provides insightful information about the origin and functions of releasing cells. Circulating EV of cancer patients may therefore serve as promising biomarker for early detection and prognosis. Using multidisciplinary approaches, we are interested to understand the molecular basis of EV-driven HCC metastasis by dissecting the functional role, signalling cascades and clinical applications of EVs.


Dr JWP Yam


11. Functional Characterisation of Novel Tumour Driver Genes in Gastrointestinal Tract Cancer


Dr HHN Yan


12. Immunology

Lymphocyte development and its dysregulation in autoimmune disease − We are interested in studying lymphocyte development and its dysregulation during the pathogenesis of autoimmune disease. Using animal models for human rheumatoid arthritis and diabetes, we are developing novel strategies for the treatment of autoimmune disorders.


Professor LW Lu


13. Forensic Medicine/Pathology

Forensic pathology; patterns of injury in homicides in Hong Kong; patterns of injury and their prevention in traffic fatalities; craniofacial measurements and their use in human identification and recognition; medico-social aspects of victim care; injury patterns in homicides.


Dr PSL Beh


14. Molecular Biology of Liver Cancer, Hepatocellular Carcinoma (HCC)

Tumour microenvironment in HCC: Solid tumours are made up of malignant and other non-malignant cell types (immune cells and other stromal cells). Solid tumours are also embedded in a remodelled extracellular matrix (ECM). We are studying the molecular mechanisms by which these cellular and non-cellular components of the microenvironment promote cancer growth and immune evasion. We are particularly interested in the mechanisms which facilitate the formation of immune suppressive microenvironment in HCC.


15. Metabolic Reprogramming in HCC

How the metabolic machineries are reprogrammed during the formation of HCC is largely unknown. Our group investigates the signalling pathways that rewire the metabolic programmes in HCC.


16. Translational Studies in HCC

We are interested in the identification of novel therapeutic targets in HCC and in understanding the molecular basis of cancer cells that influences the response of immune therapies.


Dr CCL Wong


17. Therapeutic Targets and Molecular Mechanisms of Acute Leukaemia

Acute leukaemia is a highly aggressive disease with a rapidly fatal outcome if left untreated. Despite the recent advance in chemotherapeutic regimen and haemopoietic stem cell transplant, a substantial number of patients still die from the disease including young patients. Our research mainly aims to identify drug targets, develop novel therapeutic strategies for acute leukaemia and characterize the underlying molecular mechanisms. Our work, together with collaborating clinical departments, paves the way to future clinical trials so as to improve the treatment outcome of this highly fatal human disease.


Dr ACF Sin


18. Urologic Pathology

Our research focuses on molecular mechanisms of prostate cancer and other urologic malignancies.


Dr AHN Tang


19. Biochemical and Functional Characterisation of Cancer-Related Genes in Liver Cancer


Dr LK Chan


20. Genomics and Bioinformatics Study of Liver Cancer

Our research interest is to investigate and understand the molecular mechanism of hepatocarcinogenesis and metastasis of liver cancer. We will perform integrative genomics investigation of liver cancer through the combined use of next-generation sequencing, single-cell genomics, bioinformatics and large-scale screening. Computation analysis tools development will also be undertaken.



Next Step?

For more information or to express interest to join the research areas, please email the supervisor or the specified contact point in the description. Interested candidates are advised to enclose with your email:

  1. your CV,
  2. a brief description of your research interest and experience, and
  3. two reference letters (not required for HKUMed UG students seeking MRes[Med]/URIS projects).

Research postgraduate studies enquiries specific to the department/school’s research should be directed to the Chairman of the Departmental Research Postgraduate Committee:

Dr JWP Yam

Information on the research programme, funding support and admission documentations could be referenced online at the Research Postgraduate Admissions website.

General admission enquiries should be directed to

Our Students

A research student working in a laboratory.
Jane Smith (Example)

Country of origin: Name of country
Progress: PhD Year X
Supervisor: Dr AB Chan

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May 2021