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?
Researcher at the Department of Pathology
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.

Supervisor(s)

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.

Supervisor(s)

Dr PPC Ip

 

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.

Supervisor(s)

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.

Supervisor(s)

Professor SY Leung

 

5. Characterisation of Molecular Mechanisms and Signalling Pathways in Cancers

Supervisor(s)

Dr RCL Lo

 

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

Basic/translational research of liver cancer (hepatocellular carcinoma, HCC), using state-of-the art molecular approaches including genomics, transcriptomics, and single cell analysis, to address liver cancer pathogenesis and cancer heterogeneity. Importantly, integrated functional genomics of HCC is employed using genome-scale technologies, functional molecular analysis and in vivo animal models coupled with clinical translational studies are used to address the molecular mechanisms of this cancer for early detection, diagnosis, prognosis and patient stratification towards precision oncology.

Supervisor(s)

Professor IOL Ng

 

7. Malignant Lymphoma

Molecular pathogenic mechanisms of malignant lymphoma.

Supervisor(s)

Dr RKH Au Yeung

 

8. 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.

Supervisor(s)

Dr JCM Wong

 

9. Tumour Microenvironment 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.

Supervisor(s)

Dr JWP Yam

 

10. Molecular Pathogenesis of Gastrointestinal Tract Cancer

We use cancer patient-derived 3D organoid cultures as a model to study cancer pathogenesis. In particular, we are interested in understanding the intra-tumoural heterogeneity via single-cell technology and the pathogenic roles of newly identified tumour drivers through CRISPR/Cas9 genome-editing.

Supervisor(s)

Dr HHN Yan

 

11. 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.

Supervisor(s)

Professor LW Lu

 

12. 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.

 

13. 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.

 

14. 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.

Supervisor(s)

Dr CCL Wong

 

15. 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.

Supervisor(s)

Dr ACF Sin

 

16. Urologic Pathology

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

Supervisor(s)

Dr AHN Tang

 

17. Single-Cell Transcriptomics in Liver Cancer

Traditional molecular profiling strategies have inherent limitations. The emergence of single-cell genomics represents an unprecedented, powerful strategy in delineating the molecular landscapes of tumour cells and their tumour microenvironment at high resolution. It is particularly useful in studying liver cancer, which is known to be highly heterogenous and has a highly admixed cell population.

 

18. Liquid Biopsy in Liver Cancer

Liver cancer is often detected at advanced stage and inoperable, and systemic drug treatments are the major treatment option. Liquid biopsy has attractive advantages as compared to the traditional tissue biopsy in early detection and clinical management of liver cancer.

 

19. Bioinformatics in Liver Cancer

The application of single-cell sequencing (scRNA-seq) to delineate tissue heterogeneity and complexity has become increasingly popular. Although some software packages are available for its data analysis and visualization, it is still a big challenge for their usage. There is an urgent need for comprehensive software packages with graphical user interface to facilitate scRNA-seq studies.

Supervisor(s)

Dr DWH Ho

 

20. Integrated Chemical Biology Approach for Studying Redox Stress and Its Associated Diseases

Redox stress has been known to associate closely with disease development and propagation, such as cancer, aging and neurodegenerative disorders. Yet, the underlying molecular mechanism remains largely unknown, because of difficulties in studying unstable and transient redox modifications.

Our lab develops novel chemical probes and chemoproteomic technology to identify protein target(s) associated with redox stress. Through trapping “reversible redox modification” into “permanent covalent tag”, we can identify these proteins by mass spectrometry (MS). We can also real-time visualize redox-associated signalling events by fluorescence imaging. With that, we can better understand how redox stress contributes to diseases, and discover new protein target(s) for treating redox-associated diseases.

Supervisor(s)

Dr CYS Chung

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
judyyam@pathology.hku.hk

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 rpgmed@hku.hk.