Research Projects
Mechanistic study of H3.3-H4 deposition mediated by histone chaperone DAXX in ATRX-dependent and ATRX-independent pathway

Programme(s) to which this project applies:

☑ MPhil/PhD ☒ MRes[Med] ☒ URIS

The histone chaperone DAXX (death-domain associated protein) interacts specifically with its corresponding histone variant H3.3. Interestingly, the deposition of H3.3-H4 in heterochromatin is highly regulated by two known pathways specifically through DAXX. At peri-centromeres and telomeres, DAXX delivers H3.3 by forming a heterodimer with the ATP-dependent chromatin remodeler ATRX (Alpha-thalassemia/mental retardation syndrome X-linked protein). Moreover, DAXX also deposits H3.3 specifically at endogenous retrovirus elements in an ATRX-independent pathway, which involves the recruited histone writer SETDB1 and eraser HDAC. The mechanisms behind these two regulation pathways are to be determined. The goal of this project is to elucidate the interactions and effects of ATRX and other chromatin factors on DAXX-mediated H3.3 deposition.

Dr Y Liu, School of Biomedical Sciences

LIU lab explores how epigenetic variations are incorporated and maintained in the genome, how epigenetic markers on histones are regulated by histone chaperones and chromatin remodelers in diseases, and how viral proteins affect the host chromatin structures and dynamics.


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.