Research Projects
Metabolism and immune microenvironment of liver cancer

Programme(s) to which this project applies:

☑ MPhil/PhD ☒ MRes[Med] ☒ URIS

Tumor microenvironment (TME) is extremely hostile. Since tumor growth often outpaces the rate of angiogenesis, the lack of blood supply leads to hypoxia, low oxygen level, and inadequate nutrient supply. Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is one of the most hypoxic and nutrient deprived malignancies. However, by substantially reprogramming the metabolic pathways, HCC cells become even more aggressive. In this project, we aim to identify the metabolic flexibilities of HCC cells for therapeutic targeting.

Immunotherapies have revolutionized HCC treatment due to recent successful clinical trials with immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICIs). However, only a subset of HCC patients respond to ICIs. This project aims to characterize the immune landscape of HCC and studies how tumor microenvironmental factors (inflammation, hypoxia, stromal cells, extracellular matrix) intertwine to influence intratumoral immune contexture in HCC and their response for immunotherapies. We aim to improve ICIs and identify new and effective immunotherapies for HCC.

Professor CCL Wong, Department of Pathology

Professor Carmen Chak-Lui Wong is an Associate Professor in the Department of Pathology. Her team is interested to understand how liver cancer cells acquire ability to survive metabolically and to evade immune evasion, hoping to design innovative therapeutic approaches to target the cancer cells and to boost anti-tumor immunity.

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.