Prof. Ka-fai TO(杜家輝)

Molecular genetics and genomics of common Asian cancers

Cancer is characterized by uncontrolled proliferation, invading other tissues, and the metastatic potential. The unregulated behavior of cancer is caused by damage to the DNA, resulting in mutations on the genes regulating cellular functions. Professor KF To's research interests and activities cover the molecular genetics and genomics of common Asian cancers such as nasopharyngeal carcinoma, non-small cell lung cancer and colorectal cancer. The long term goal is to find novel diagnostic, predictive and prognostic biomarkers in cancer, and to identify potential therapeutic targets by using comprehensive molecular profiling and in-depth functional studies.

Ongoing active research projects:

1. Genomic aberrations in metastatic colorectal cancer
2. The role of Epstein-Barr virus encoded microRNA in tumorigenesis of nasopharyngeal carcinoma
3. Integrated genomic studies on Wilms' tumor
4. Molecular profiling and biomarker studies of non-small cell lung cancer

Prof. Kwok-wai LO(羅國煒)

Molecular Basis of EBV-associated Nasopharyngeal Carcinoma

Nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) is a major health-care problem in Hong Kong. It has an unusually high incidence among southern Chinese and is the most prevalent cancer in our middle-aged workforce population. Prof Lo’s group focuses on unveiling the molecular basis of NPC and developing the diagnostic and therapeutic tools of this endemic cancer. As one of the leading groups in the field, the research team has made substantial contributions in the discovery of major acquired genetic alterations in EBV-associated NPC. Our studies contributed significantly to the groundwork on understanding the molecular basis of NPC and the roles of EBV in transformation of nasopharyngeal epithelial cells. Through identifying tumor markers and developing therapeutic interventions, the aims of our current studies on NPC genomics and viral-host interplay is to better control of this endemic disease.

Ongoing active research projects:

1. NPC Genome Project - Systematic Development of Molecular Targets for Nasopharyngeal Carcinoma (3rd round RGC Theme-Based Research Scheme).
2. Integrative genomic analysis of Epstein-Barr virus in epithelial cancers.
3. Targeting EBV-modulated signaling pathways in nasopharyngeal carcinoma.

Prof. Ho-Keung NG(吳浩強)

Biomarkers in brain cancers

Brain cancer is a highly lethal disease. Biomarkers, DNA, RNA or protein, can help diagnosis, prognostication and prediction to therapy (surgery, chemotherapy or radiotherapy) in patients with brain cancers. As a neuropathologist, I am actively involved in the tissue diagnosis of patients with brain cancers. I use mostly clinical samples for research and my research team collaborates with neurosurgeons, neuro-oncologists and pediatricians. We also have collaborators in the following institutes for our research : Fudan University (Shanghai), Toronto University, Baylor University (USA), London University and the WHO.

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Ongoing active research projects:
1. Biomarkers in low grade gliomas
2. Biomarkers in medulloblastoma, the most important childhood brain cancer

Prof. Margaret H.L. NG(吳香玲)

Blood Cancer Cytogenetics and Genomics Laboratory

Here in our Blood Cancer Cytogenetics and Genomics Laboratory, of which Prof. Margaret Ng is currently the Director, we have a wide spectrum of Haematology research projects on-going, covering childhood and adult acute and chronic leukemia, plasma cell myeloma, thalassemia, and thrombophilic disorders.

Scientific insights into the genetics and biology of blood diseases obtained through properly designed research work is critical to the advancements of disease diagnosis/assessment and patient management, paving the way to research driven and evidence based practice of Precision Medicine.


By correlation with the available clinico-pathological data, the clinical impacts of the novel information from research could be delineated and translated to bedside management after validation through a series of multi-angle investigations.


A range of latest and state of art scientific platforms (mi-seq, nextseq, digital PCR, 10-color Flow Cytometry etc.) and basic molecular facilities are installed to support in-vitro and in-vivo studies and advanced researches. Cell culture and in-vivo animal models are used for genomic and transcriptomic profiling and functional assays to elucidate the mechanisms of drug resistances and the functional roles of tumor suppressor genes and oncogenes.


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Research Interests:

Blood cancer studies, Tumor markers and MRD, HLA/Immunogenetics, Cytogenetics, Epigenetics, Imaging FISH, CAR-T construct, Flow cytometric applications, Transcriptional factors, Stem cell studies & Genetic editing.Others includeChinese Medicine, Sports Science (hobby) and Yoga Studies (hobby).


Ongoing active research projects :

1. Identification and functional characterization of novel genomic biomarkers in acute myeloid leukemia with cytogenetic and next generation sequencing approaches

2. Elucidation of the mechanisms underlying the chemoresistance to proteasome inhibitors in multiple myeloma

3. Characterization of clinical and functional significance of a transcription regulator CtBP2 in multiple myeloma

Prof Gary M.K. TSE(謝文杰)

Heterogeneity in breast cancers and its biomarker development

Breast cancer is the most common cancer affecting women in Hong Kong and a major health problem worldwide. The mainstay of risk stratification for breast cancer patients relies on tumor characteristics such as histologic grade, biomarker expression and staging. However, clinical outcome significantly vary among patients with similar tumor features. One of our research interest is to explore novel morphological and molecular features to refine breast cancer classification and risk stratification in breast cancers. Over the years, we have examined a wide range of potential biomarkers for breast cancer based on its phenotypic and molecular characteristics. This knowledge can provide information to establish a more robust system for diagnosis and management of breast cancers. Further studies are in place to molecular basis for these novel features and their further clinical exploitations in breast cancers. In addition, we are also interested in the molecular pathogenesis and diagnosis of other breast lesions, including fibroepithelial lesions, papillary lesions, etc.

Ongoing active research projects:
1. Molecular basis of novel morphological features in breast cancers
2. Biomarkers in breast diseases

Dr. Wei KANG (康偉)

The underlying molecular pathogenesis and aberrant signaling transduction in gastric cancer

The research interest of Dr. Kang’s group focuses on the molecular pathogenesis of gastric cancer, one of the most common malignancies in Asia countries. By facilitating of the cutting-edge techniques, they are investigating the following in gastric cancer: the molecular mechanisms underlying the EBV- and H. pylori- gastric cancer; characterization of novel dysregulated microRNAs in gastric cancer; identification of novel prognostic biomarkers of gastric cancer; Hippo-YAP1, Slit-Robo and Notch signaling pathway in gastric tumorigenesis. Their research goal for gastric cancer is to provide better clinical translational potential.

Ongoing active research projects:
1. The regulation mechanisms of Hippo-YAP1 pathway in gastric tumorigenesis;
2. The microRNA regulation on Notch signaling pathway in gastric cancer;
3. The role of SRGAP1 in the signaling transduction of Slit-Robo and Wnt/β-catenin pathway.

Dr. Patrick Ming Kuen TANG (鄧銘權)

Reactivation of Innate Immunity in the Tumor Microenvironments

Cancer progression is dependent not only on the characteristics of cancer cells, but also on the tumor microenvironment. The important role of innate immunity in route cancer cell elimination has been recognized even earlier than the adopted immunity. However, the role of innate immunity in promoting cancer progression is just recently observed and the underlying mechanism is still largely unknown. We found that activation of Smads signaling is curial for immunosuppression in the tumor microenvironment, especially on the innate immunity. Further understanding the molecular mechanisms thereby cancer cells silencing our innate immune system will lead to a discovery of novel therapeutics for cancer.

Ongoing active research projects:
1. Natural killer cell targeted immunotherapy for invasive cancer
2. The role of innate immunity in promoting cancer development


Dr. Anna C.M. TSANG (曾智敏)

Translational opportunities in Epstein-Barr virus associated nasopharyngeal carcinoma

Epstein–Barr virus (EBV) was discovered in 1964 and is now recognized as a founding member of the human tumor viruses. In particular, it is nearly 100% associated with undifferentiated nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC), which is a lymphocyte-rich epithelial tumor arising from nasopharyngeal mucosa. The strong causal relationship between EBV infection and NPC development has been well-established by the presence of a clonal EBV genome in NPC and precancerous lesions, and the evidence of various viral products in promoting carcinogenesis, invasion, and immunoevasion for NPC progression. My laboratory strives for deciphering the interaction of EBV with host and stromal cells in the pathogenesis of NPC, and developing EBV-specific therapeutic strategies to treat NPC.

Ongoing active research projects:
1. Investigating the interactive roles of EBV with tumor microenvironment in the development of NPC
2. Discovery of aptamers for visualizing and targeting of NPC tumors
3. Preclinical assessment of translational strategies to NPC using patient-derived xenograft model and humanized mice model
4. Applying live-cell imaging and bio-engineering platforms to study the invasive behaviors of NPC cells in a bio-mimetic tumor microenvironment