Research Projects
The role of CD147 on the vascular remodeling function of human extravillous trophoblast and its association with preeclampsia (NSFC)

Programme(s) to which this project applies:

☑ MPhil/PhD ☒ MRes[Med] ☒ URIS

Preeclampsia is a common pregnancy complication. It is the leading cause of maternal mortality, neonatal morbidity, and mortality. Preeclampsia is typically manifested after 20 weeks of gestation, and the underlying pathogenesis is associated with abnormal placentation. So far, it is impossible to predict precisely the onset of preeclampsia.

CD147 is a type I transmembrane glycoprotein on the cell surface. One of the key features of CD147 is that it tends to interact with other membrane proteins to form complexes implicated in a variety of physiological and pathological conditions. Clinically, the expression of CD147 is down-regulated in patients with preeclampsia. In CD147 knockout mice, the number of offspring is reduced and the newborn mice are weak, which is possibly due to failure of placental development. However, the biological role(s) of CD147 in human pregnancy is unknown.

In this study, the vascular remodeling activity and the mechanism of actions on the vascular remodeling functions of CD147 on human trophoblast stem cells and organoids will be assessed. The relationship between placental CD147 expression and preeclampsia development in vivo will be established by placenta-specific CD147-knockdown/overexpression mouse models. Lastly, the expression of CD147 in early chorionic villus samples from preeclamptic pregnancies will be determined as a test for the early prediction of preeclampsia.

The outcome of this project will give a better understanding of the regulation of early placentation in humans. Clinically, the results of this study will indicate the possible use of CD147 as a novel treatment target for preeclampsia.

Dr CL Lee, Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology

My research focuses on the use of stem cell, organoid, and nanotechnology models to study placenta development and obstetrical syndromes; and investigate the functional role of placenta-derived extracellular vesicles as a modulator of feto-maternal immunotolerance.  

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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.