Research Projects
The Study of Ovarian Cancer Chemoresistance and Metastasis Through the Integrative Omics Analyses

Programme(s) to which this project applies:

☑ MPhil/PhD ☒ MRes[Med] ☒ URIS

Our gynae-oncology research team aims to carry out bench to bedside cancer research. Current areas of basic research concentration on genetic/epigenetic alterations in cancer development and progression, cancer stem cells (CSC), cancer cell metabolism, onco-immunology, interactions between cancer cells and the tumour microenvironment in gynaecological malignancies. These studies hope to provide a scientific basis for developing novel diagnostic tools and therapeutic interventions for improving treatment outcome of gynaecological cancer patients. Among gynaecological malignancies, epithelial ovarian cancer (EOC) is the most lethal gynecologic malignancy worldwide. This disease is generally called the ‘silent killer’ because there are non-specific symptoms, and thus, the majority of patients are found in advanced stages accompanied by extensive metastasis. Therefore, understanding the molecular mechanisms of related metastases may assist in the development of ‘targeted’ oncologic therapies to improve the cure rate of this disease. The cancer metastasis is determined by the priming of the metastatic niche and the intrinsic properties of cancer cells to adapt to the microenvironmental stresses. We have recently established omental conditioned media (OCM) to mimic the tumour microenvironment of peritoneal metastases of ovarian cancer. Through the integrative omics analysis, we have started to understand the novel approach of tumour-stromal interactions in pre-metastatic niche formation, and new targets have been identified in association with chemoresistance and recurrence of ovarian cancers. These studies will provide a scientific basis for developing novel diagnostic tools and therapeutic interventions for improving treatment outcome of ovarian cancer patients.

We welcome you to join us for the following projects,

  1. to identify circulating exosomal miRNAs as a non-invasive biomarker in ovarian cancer;
  2. to explore druggable targets in cancer cell metabolism;
  3. to delineate the roles of infiltrated immune cells and metabolites in promoting ovarian cancer metastasis.

Dr DW Chan, Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology

Dr David Chan received his PhD from Monash University, Australia, in 2002. He is currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Obstetrics & Gynaecology, The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong and The University of Hong Kong-Shenzhen Hospital, as well as the Principal Investigator at The University of Hong Kong Shenzhen Institute of Research and Innovation (HKU-SIRI). He is also a member of International Gynecologic Cancer Society. He is an associate editor or editorial board member of Cancer Medicine, J Ovarian Res., Frontiers Pharmacol, and PlosOne.

Dr Chan is an accomplished scientist, recognised for his outstanding contributions to the field of exploring molecular targets and delineating molecular mechanisms in the acquired chemoresistance and cancer metastasis of cancer cells. He is interested in using the integrative omics data to decipher signalling pathways of tumour-stromal interaction in metastatic progression of ovarian cancers and exploring druggable targets of ovarian cancers. He has published more than 64 peer-reviewed in leading journals such as Gastroenerology, EMBO J, Clin Cancer Res., Mol. Cancer, Theranostics, and Oncogene etc. receiving an H-index of 28 (Google Scholar).

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HKU Scholars Hub

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.