Research Projects
Comprehensive Assessment to Determine the Efficacy of PARP Inhibitors in Nasopharyngeal Cancer

Programme(s) to which this project applies:

☑ MPhil/PhD ☒ MRes[Med] ☒ URIS

The hypothesis of this study is to determine the role and efficacy of PARP inhibitors in Nasopharyngeal cancer, in vitro. This study will comprehensively screen PARP inhibitors across all the available NPC primary cell lines and correlate response to genomic data. Additionally, we will perform a high-throughput drug combination screen to identify novel synergistic combinations with PARP inhibitors.

Professor A El Helali, Department of Clinical Oncology

Professor Aya El Helali is a clinician scientist that has recently joined the Department of Clinical Oncology at the University of Hong Kong. She was conferred the MB BCh BAO designation from the National University of Ireland Galway in 2008 and graduated with a first-class honours and gold medals in the fields of Medicine and Surgery. She was awarded the Sir Allen McClay Clinical Research Fellowship at the Stratified Medicine Group and conferred a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) by Queen’s University Belfast in 2018. Her PhD focused on the area of stress activated kinase, tumour angiogenesis and biomarker development. She obtained her specialist Medical Oncology qualification in 2018.

Professor Aya El Helali has extensive experience in translational research and has been involved in investigating the distinct gastric cancer subtypes and their underlying molecular characteristics that may have implications on checkpoint inhibitor response, to deliver robust predictive biomarkers for immunotherapy response. Professor Aya El Helali research interests include understanding innate and adaptive immunity in solid cancers and adopting a personalised approach to identify novel drug combinations by integrating patient genomic data, thereby streamlining novel personalized therapeutics into clinical use by designing biomarker stratified phase I/II clinical trials. 


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.