Research Projects
The Protective Effect of Lycium Barbarum Polysaccharide on Cornea Epithelial-Stromal Injury

Programme(s) to which this project applies:

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

Objective and Significance:

Cornea epithelial-stromal scarring is related to the differentiation of corneal keratocytes into opaque myofibroblasts in stroma. Our study aims to assess the feasibility of Lycium barbarum polysaccharide (LBP) as a pre-treatment strategy to minimize corneal scarring using a mice model. The objective of the study is to investigate the potential clinical benefits of LBP on preventing corneal stromal scarring after injury. The success of the project will demonstrate LBP to be a potentially cheap and non-toxic topical therapy that can improve clinical outcomes in eye diseases that involves corneal stromal scarring, including infectious keratitis, keratoconus, peripheral ulcerative keratitis and ocular trauma.

Research Plan and Methodology:

Based on our previous promising results from the in-vitro “eye-on-a-chip” study, the protective effect of LBP will be further assessed using a mice model with corneal alkaline injury. LBP solution will be applied topically before the corneal alkaline burn. After injury, slit-lamp microscopy will be used to qualify the corneal clarity and the corneal neovascularisation at different time points after injury. The wound healing process will be determined by fluorescein staining the corneal surface. Thickness of different corneal layers after alkali injury, will be studied using the hematoxylin and eosin stained corneal sections. Intracellular pro-fibrotic proteins including but not limited to alpha-smooth muscle actin (α-SMA), vimentin, and proinflammatory cytokines IL-6 and IL-8 that involved in fibrosis, will also be assessed using immunocytochemistry (ICC) and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). All the results will be compared with the normal control group that without alkali injury, and the control group without LBP pretreatment but with alkali injury.

About the Supervisor

Dr JYK Chan, Department of Ophthalmology

The research focuses of Dr Joseph Chan are on biomaterials, medical devices, and mircofluidic biochips for ophthalmic applications.


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.