Research Projects
Extracellular Matrix Remodelling in Neuromuscular Synapse Development

Programme(s) to which this project applies:

☑ MPhil/PhD ☒ MRes[Med] ☒ URIS
About the Project

Motor neurons, skeletal muscles, and perisynaptic Schwann cells interact with extracellular matrix (ECM) to form the tetrapartite synapse in the peripheral nervous system. Dynamic remodelling of ECM composition is essential to diversify its functions for distinct cellular processes during neuromuscular junction (NMJ) development. The proteolytic regulation of ECM proteins is mediated by secreted and membrane-type matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs), in axonal growth and NMJ development. In our lab, we primarily use Xenopus primary culture system and a variety of techniques, including live-cell time-lapse fluorescence microscopy, super-resolution microscopy, molecular biology, immunocytochemistry, electrophysiology, and Western blotting to investigate the cellular and molecular mechanism of synaptic development. Our goal is to not only gain a mechanistic understanding of the regulatory functions of MMP-mediated ECM remodelling in axonal growth and NMJ development, but also provide insights into the pathophysiological mechanisms of MMP-mediated proteolytic degradation in neuromuscular disorders.

About the Supervisor

Dr CW Lee, School of Biomedical Sciences

HKU Scholars Hub

Next Step?

For more information or to express interest for this project, please email the supervisor or the specified contact point in the project 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).

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