Research Projects
Understanding NPC Molecular Subtypes Associated with Clinical Outcome and Their Impact on Tumour Microenvironment

Programme(s) to which this project applies:

☑ MPhil/PhD ☒ MRes[Med] ☒ URIS

Nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) is a complex disease involving Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) infection, genetic and environmental factors. To understand the molecular basis of NPC pathogenesis and identify the potential therapeutic targets, previously we carried out genomic and epigenomic studies to characterize the important molecular changes using whole-exome sequencing (WES), whole-genome bisulfite sequencing, assay for transposase-accessible chromatin with high-throughput sequencing (ATAC-seq) and Hi-C in NPC. In the integrative analysis, we identified several molecular subtypes associated with clinical outcomes and key cellular factors for regulatory epigenome for NPC. For example, in a total of 216 NPC cases from three genomics studies, we identified a new mutational signature relevant to the deficiency of the homologous recombination (HR) repair pathway (BRCAness) in a subset of NPC cases (29.6%). Survival analysis indicates that this mutational signature is significantly associated with shorter overall survival after adjustment for stage, gender and age and stratification by studies in NPC. We will utilize the state-of-the-art sequencing technology to further understand the impact of these molecular subtypes on tumour microenvironment and their translational values. The detailed functional role of the key cellular factors will be further investigated. 

Professor W Dai, Department of Clinical Oncology

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.