Research Projects
Biomarkers and Chemoresistance in Oesophageal Squamous Cell Carcinoma (ESCC)

Programme(s) to which this project applies:

☒ MPhil/PhD ☑ MRes[Med] ☒ URIS

Objective and Significance:

Cathepsin D is a protein that in humans is uncoded by the CTSD gene. Over-expression and mutation of this gene has been reported in ESCC, breast, colorectal and lung cancers. High level of CatD was found to be associated with tumor invasion, poor prognosis and nodal metastasis. However, it has also been suggested that cathepsin D is a chemo-sensitizer for certain chemotherapeutic agents such as etoposide, doxorubicin and 5-fluorouracil. Evaluation of the expression of CatD in tumor cells may shed light into the pathogenesis of esophageal cancer. It would also be useful to find out whether its level would correlate with chemo-response in ESCC and potentially can be a therapeutic target.

Research Plan and Methodology:

Expression of CatD will be suppressed by siRNA knockdown and its expression level will be determined by quantitative PCR and Western blotting. Tumorigenicity, invasive capability and tendency toward apoptosis will be examined by both in vivo and in vitro studies. Furthermore, effect of CatD suppression on chemosensitivity to anticancer agents will be elucidated.

Professor SYK Law, Department of Surgery


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.