Research Projects
Deciphering the Epigenome of Liver Cancer

Programme(s) to which this project applies:

☑ MPhil/PhD ☒ MRes[Med] ☒ URIS

Liver cancer is one of the most common cancer and is particular prevalent in Hong Kong and Mainland China. Liver carcinogenesis is a stepwise progress that traditionally attributed to the accumulation of genetic mutations. Recently, growing evidences have suggested that epigenetic deregulation is playing an equally important role in liver carcinogenesis. Epigenetics, as implied by the Greek prefix, epi- (means “in additional to”), refers to an additional regulatory layer on top of the genetic information stored as DNA sequences. Epigenetic regulation is principally mediated through various heritable modifications at nucleotide, histone, and chromatin levels, but without altering the DNA sequence per se. DNA methylation, histone modifications, and chromatin remodelling are three major mechanisms of epigenetic regulation in mammalian cells. The three epigenetic regulatory mechanisms work intimately to determine local higher-order chromatin structure, and thereby switching “on” and “off” gene expression across the genome. Deregulated epigenetic machinery may lead to malignant transformation and cancer development.  We are interested to explore the aberrant epigenomic landscape (i.e. DNA methylation, histone modification, and chromatin remodelling) in liver cancer using different next-generation sequencing techniques. We are also interested to dissect the functions of different epigenetic regulators in liver cancer using different functional assays. Finally, we will also employ different in vitro and animal models to test the therapeutic potential of small molecular inhibitors targeting epigenetic regulators in liver cancer. This study will shed light to the underlying molecular mechanisms of liver carcinogenesis and pave the way for the development of novel treatment strategy for liver cancer.

Dr JCM Wong, Department of Pathology

Dr Chun-ming Wong is an associate professor of the Department of Pathology and a Principal Investigator of the State Key Laboratory of Liver Research. He is keen on investigating the genome and epigenome of liver cancer and is one of the pioneers working on RNA modification and liver cancer.

Laboratory Homepage

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.