Research Projects
Novel Treatment Approach for Chemoresistant Malignant Glioma

Programme(s) to which this project applies:

☒ MPhil/PhD ☑ MRes[Med] ☒ URIS

Objectives and Significance:

Malignant glioma is the commonest form of primary malignant brain tumours in adults characterised by tumour invasiveness, rapid recurrence, and a poor clinical prognosis. Temozolomide is an effective chemotherapeutic agent, but drug-resistance is common and accounts for the majority of treatment failure. A better understanding of the molecular biology of malignant glioma and of the mechanisms underpinning the development of chemo-resistance is crucial. The present project aims at encouraging and enabling students to identify molecular candidates that can be exploited as potential biomarkers and therapeutic targets. The ultimate goal is to translate laboratory findings into effective treatment.

Research Plan and Methodology:

  • Students will have the opportunities to learn and perform cell culture experiments as a means to identify novel molecular targets in malignant glioma cells. Common laboratory techniques such as western blot, PCR, cell sorting and flow cytometry will be involved. Once a potential therapeutic target is identified, students can examine the effects of genetic and epigenetic interference on malignant phenotypes such as proliferation, cell death, tumour migration, and tumour invasion in vitro.
  • Students may then verify their in vitro findings in vivo. This will involve the performance of animal experiments, such as implantation of tumour grafts in animal brains under general anaesthesia, monitoring of functional outcome, and imaging studies such as MRI. The tumours may then be explanted for ex vivo examinations using immunohistochemistry, microscopy, and biochemical assays. Animals with genetic modifications (e.g., genetic knock out of a target gene) may also be used.

Professor GKK Leung, 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.