Research Projects
Regulation and Mechanistic Studies on Endometrial Receptivity: In Vitro Screening and Characterisation of Small Molecules

Programme(s) to which this project applies:

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

Objective and Significance:

This a one year MRes[Med] project aims to provide opportunities for student who would like to investigate the regulation and mechanistic action of small molecules on human endometrial receptivity using in vitro and in vivo models. Students will acquire some basic laboratory techniques on cell culture, drug screening, mechanistic investigation and data analysis. The objectives of the study are (1) A high throughput spheroid-endometrial co-culture screening model will be used to select a few candidate molecules from the library of pharmacological active compound (LOPAC, containing 1280 small molecules), (2) confirm any compound that can increase and/or decrease spheroid attachment, (3) determine the underlying molecular mechanism on how the drug modulates spheroid/embryo attachment/implantation. Results from this study will provide fundamental information on the role of the drug that increase or decrease spheroid attachment/embryo implantation and potentially opens new treatment methods for IVF patients with low embryo implantation rate.


Ho HT et al., 2012 Fertil Steril 97(4): 974. Ho HT et al., 2013 PLoSOne 8(12): e81380. Vliet SM et al., 2017 Toxicol Appl Pharm 329:241–248.

Research Plan and Methodology:

  1. Cell culture and drug treatment
  2. Perform high-throughput spheroid-endometrial cell screening experiment for LOPAC screening
  3. Signal quantitation, result and statistical analysis
  4. Immunohistochemical staining and Western blotting for signal molecule identification and expression
  5. In vitro and in vivo studies, result validation and functional analysis
About the Supervisor

Dr CKF Lee, Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology

Dr Lee got his PhD in Biochemistry from the Chinese University of Hong Kong and trained as postdoctoral training at Tufts University, Massachusetts, USA. He joined the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at The University of Hong Kong as Research Assistant Professor in 1998 and was promoted to Associate Professor in 2008. He was Past-President of the Hong Kong Society for Reproductive Medicine, and Hong Kong Society of Endocrinology, Metabolism and Reproduction. He has published more than 90 original articles in international journals with H index 32 (total citation >3000). His students have obtained many international and local awards including ‘The Best Poster Award of Society for the Study of Reproduction (SSR) – Southeast Asia Region’.

Google Scholar
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

HKUMed MBBS students interested in the Master of Research in Medicine (MRes[Med]) programme may visit the programme website for more information.  

HKUMed UG students interested in the Undergraduate Research Internship Scheme (URIS) may visit the scheme’s website for more information.