Chan To Haan Prize for Research Postgraduate Students in Pathology 2019-2020
10 Feb, 2021
Congratulations to Derek for being awarded the Chan To Haan Prize for Research Postgraduate Students in Pathology (2019-2020) as he was selected as the best graduating student based on his research output portfolio and thesis grading.
We are very proud of your continued hard work and achievements, Derek!
Genome-wide CRISPR-Cas9 knockout library screening identified PTPMT1 in cardiolipin synthesis is crucial to survival in hypoxia in liver cancer
Jan 26, 2021
Hypoxia, oxygen deprivation, is an important feature in solid tumors, especially liver cancer. Hypoxia is associated with tumor aggressiveness and therapy resistance. We performed genome-wide CRISPR-Cas9 library screening and identified PTPMT1, an important enzyme for cardiolipin (CL) synthesis, as a novel therapeutic target for survival of liver cancer cells under hypoxia. CL makes up the mitochondrial membrane where it stabilizes ETC complexes to prevent electron leakage and excessive ROS accumulation under hypoxia. Inhibition of PTPMT1 greatly induced oxidative stress and suppressed growth of not only liver cancer, but also other solid tumors.
This study was driven by our MPhil graduate Macus and Dr. Larry Wei in collaboration with Dr. Jack Wong's team. The study was recently published in Cell Reports. Congratulations Macus and Larry, amazing work!
Dr. KP Stephen Chang Gold Medal 2019/2020
Jan 11, 2021
Congratulations to Derek for being selected as the recipient of the Dr. KP Stephen Chang Gold Medal (Best PhD Thesis Award) from the Faculty of Medicine, HKU. His thesis title is "Adaptive and Constitutive Activations of Antioxidant-producing Metabolic Pathways in Hepatocellullar Carcinoma". In the past 4 years, he has discovered the major molecular mechanisms that lead to the metabolic alterations in the folate cycle and malate metabolism, generating NADPH which stabilizes antioxidant thioredoxin to allow liver cancer cells to overcome oxidative stress challenge. His work has led to the identification of novel therapeutic strategies that might potentially impede liver cancer progression.
We are very proud of you, Derek!
Tomorrow's Scientists Exploration Camp of the Hong Kong Laureate Forum
The inaugural Hong Kong Laureate Forum will take place on 15-20 Nov 2021. The forum has invited Shaw Laureates and renowned scientists to share their research and their journey in scientific explorations with 200 young scientists around the globe. This is going to be an exciting program with seminars, group discussions, workshops, and poster sessions.
To kick off, Tomorrow's Scientists Exploration Camp of the Hong Kong Laureate Forum has started on 5 Jan 2021. Due to COVID-19, our program was launched online. In this program, Carmen and Sean (Assistant Professor of Mathematics at Hong Kong Baptist University) have shared their experience with 60 local undergraduate students who are keen to pursue science and who will be selected to join the inaugural Hong Kong Laureate Forum. The participants have been very active with many questions. Due to the time constraint, we were not able to answer all questions. But, don't hesitate to contact us if you have more questions or doubts about your choice and directions.
We thank the council of the Hong Kong Laureate Forum for inviting us to be part of this meaningful event. It will be an exciting program. Stay tuned.
December 22, 2020
Congratulations to Derek for getting his PhD degree and Noreen for her MPhil degree! Thank you for the hard work in the past years and for leaving us so many good memories.
Noreen has started her MBBS study at HKU and Derek has started his postdoctoral training in our lab continuing his research journey with metabolic reprogramming in liver cancer.
May the memorable graduation marks the beginning of your success in your new endeavors!
Departmental Seminar by Dr Misty Zhang
December 17, 2020
Our post-doctoral fellow Misty will share her project titled "Hypoxia-induced Macropinocytosis Represents a New Metabolic Route for Liver Cancer" in the upcoming Departmental Seminar.
Feel free to register for the seminar delivered by Zoom on 17 December 2020 (Thursday) at 13:00!
25th Research Postgraduate Symposium (RPS) -
Li Ka Shing Faculty of Medicine, HKU
December 02-03, 2020
The 25th Research Postgraduate Symposium was held on 2 and 3 December. Our students have shared their exciting works to the faculty. Our PhD student Vincent was awarded the Outstanding Poster Presentation Award! Congratulations Vincent and keep up the great work!
State Key Laboratory of Liver Research Internal Research Meeting 2020
Our PhD student Vincent and MPhil student Macus both shared their wonderful research projects in today's State Key Laboratory of Liver Research Internal Research Meeting as both of them delivered excellent talks.
Congratulations to Macus for being awarded the Best Presentation Award and Vincent is also to be commended for his amazing works as his sharing drew the interest of many participants.
Keep up the great work!
Vincent shares his research experience!
Our PhD student, Vincent, was recently interviewed by HKUMed where he shared his experiences and views throughout his research journey. In the interview, Vincent also shared his goals and some advices to inspire young scientists. Check out the entire interview with the link below!
Carmen and the team are featured in HKUMed's new video!
Carmen was invited as one of the supervisors featured in HKU Faculty of Medicine's new branding video aimed at recruiting talented postgraduate students around the world. The video included an interview with Carmen and her interactions with the team, giving us a taste of the life of a supervisor and research postgraduate student.
We are very honoured to be a part of this video and hope you will be interested in joining our lab!
Carmen is awarded the NSFC Excellent Young Scientist Fund
Together with 6 other scientists from HKU, Carmen has been awarded the NSFC (National Natural Science Foundation of China) - the Excellent Young Scientist Fund (Hong Kong and Macau) (國家自然科學基金2020年度 [優秀青年科學家基金項目] 港澳). This is a highly competitive grant award only funded to 25 young scientists in HK and Macau.
Congratulations to Carmen, the 6 other colleagues from HKU, and 18 recipients from other institutes for the honor and achievement!
Vincent awarded a scholarship!
Our PhD student, Vincent, was recently awarded the Li Po Chun Charitable Trust Fund Postgraduate Scholarship. A very well-deserved award for Vincent in recognition of his continued excellent works.
Keep up with the amazing work as always!
Outstanding Research Output Awards!
Our joint works with Dr. Jack Wong's team were awarded the Faculty's Outstanding Research Output Awards!
The award-winning research projects include the stories from Larry and Jialing, both from our collaborator Dr Jack Wong's team titled "Genome-wide CRISPR/Cas9 library screening identified PHGDH as a critical driver for Sorafenib resistance in HCC" published in Nature Communications and "Histone chaperone FACT complex mediates oxidative stress response to promote liver cancer progression" published in Gut, respectively.
Well done and huge congratulations to all the co-authors of these exciting studies for the awards!
A new publication featured by editorial commentary in Gastroenterology!
Our latest work by David has been accepted for publication in Gastroenterology and was chosen as a featured article for editorial commentary!
Immune checkpoint inhibitor, PD-1 inhibitor, is only effective in a small percentage of liver cancer patients. Our work has uncovered a resistant mechanism to anti-PD-1 treatment. Using CyTOF, we found that another immune checkpoint, TIGIT, was induced by anti-PD-1 treatment. Liver cancer cells express PVRL1 which stabilizes PVR, the ligand for TIGIT to keep T cells exhausted even in the presence of anti-PD-1 treatment. We found that anti-TIGIT could sensitize tumors to anti-PD-1 treatment, providing the mechanistic rationale for combination therapies.
Lynna worked in the team for almost two years from 2016 to 2017 as a research assistant. Our warmest welcome to Lynna as she re-joins us in a new capacity, now as a PhD student!
Miss Noreen Chui, our MPhil graduate, has been here in the past three years. Three years ago, she started learning here as a summer intern and she decided to pursue MPhil degree after. Today is her last day. Thank you for her contributions! Good luck on her new journey!
HKU Medical Faculty News- The Emerging Changemakers
Carmen together with 8 other young scholars have been featured as "the emerging changemakers" in this issue of the Medical Faculty News.
Noreen has received her MPhil degree!
Miss Noreen Chui officially obtained her MPhil degree today as her thesis has been accepted by the school. Warmest congratulations on your achievement and best wishes for your future adventures, Noreen!
Derek has successfully passed his PhD oral defense!
Popping a champagne to celebrate his 4-years hard work in the midst of COVID-19. We are so proud of you, Dr. Lee!
Congratulations to our mentor, Professor Gregg Semenza, for winning the Nobel Prize!
Professor Gregg Semenza is one of recipients of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 2019 for his groundbreaking discovery of the oxygen sensing and adaptation system in mammalian cells. Oxygen is the most essential element in life. Professor Semenza discovered the key protein in the oxygen sensing system, hypoxia-inducible factor 1 (HIF-1), which enables cells to survive in low oxygen environment. His discovery has broad implications in the physiology and pathology of diseases including stroke and cancer.
Genome wide CRISPR-Cas9 KO screening identified an important metabolic pathway responsible for Sorafenib resistance.
Sorafenib is a standard therapy for advanced liver cancer patients. However, most patients develop resistance towards Sorafenib. Using the CRISPR-Cas9 knockout library screening platform, we identified that the serine synthesis pathway (SSP) as the major metabolic pathway that enables liver cancer cells to survive under Sorafenib treatment. PHGDH is the first committed enzyme of the SSP pathway that diverts glycolytic metabolites into the SSP. PHGDH inhibitor greatly sensitizes liver cancer cells to Sorafenib treatment and inhibits liver cancer growth in mice.
This joint work with Dr. Jack Wong's team has been recently published in Nature Communications. Congratulations to Larry for his publication!
Carmen has been elected as a member of the Hong Kong Young Academy of Sciences (YASHK).
Annual Conference of International Liver Cancer Assocation at Chicago
Carmen received the Junior Investigator Award at the ILCA annual conference. Carmen presented David's work on the molecular mechanisms of immune checkpoint inhibitor resistance in liver cancer at the Young Investigator Session of ILCA.
FACT, histone chaperone, is responsible for NRF2-mediated transcription elongation
Our joint publication with Dr. Jack Wong's epigenetics lab has been accepted by GUT. NRF2 is known to be a transcription factor and the major regulator that helps cells to overcome oxidative stress by initiating transcription of a repertoire of antioxidant genes. How NRF2 activates this adaptive response in an expeditious manner to ensure liver cancer cells survive high oxidative stress?
In this work, we identified a histone chaperone, the FACT complex, is responsible for NRF2-mediated transcription elongation of antioxidant genes. NRF2 initiates transcription when liver cancer cells encounter oxidative stress. The FACT complex is stabilized by oxidative stress and is further induced by NRF2. With the FACT complex, nucleosome could be reassembled and disassembled quickly to allow RNA polymerase to pass through chromatin during elongation to accelerate antioxidant gene transcription. Excitingly, a FACT inhibitor, curaxin, is able to reverse the event and suppress liver cancer growth in our mouse model.
Congratulations to Jialing for her exciting finding being accepted for publication!
Histone chaperone FACT complex mediates oxidative stress response to promote liver cancer progression. Gut. 2019 Aug 22. pii: gutjnl-2019-318668. doi: 10.1136/gutjnl-2019-318668. [Epub ahead of print]
New metaboblic vulnerability in liver cancer
Recently, we found that liver cancer cells rely on the thioredoxin system to counteract oxidative stress. We also demonstrated that auranofin, an inhibitor that targets thioredoxin reductase 1 (TXNRD1) which is commonly used in arthritis, could be repurposed for liver cancer treatment as single treatment or as combined treatment with Sorafenib.
Congratulations to Derek for his new publication!
Induction of Oxidative Stress Through Inhibition of Thioredoxin Reductase 1 Is an Effective Therapeutic Approach for Hepatocellular Carcinoma. Hepatology. 2019 Apr;69(4):1768-1786. doi: 10.1002/hep.30467.
Nerd Nite is a monthly lecture event that aims at a casual, relaxed, and slightly inebriated evening of academic fun times. The idea is for people to have a good time with friends over drinks while learning a thing or two, like the Discovery Channel – with beer!
Croucher scholars Kenneth Leung, Winston Sun and Carmen Wong spoke at Nerd Nite x CSA.
Carmen gave a talk on "A journey from a childhood dream to reality - Do what you love. Love what you do"
David did his MPhil, PhD, and postdoctoral training in the team. We will remember the friendship, research excitements, and laughter we shared in the past 6 years. We built this team together. David has grown with the team. We thank David for his unreserved contribution to the team. We are and will be proud of David! Time to spread your wings! All the best to your future endeavors!! Continue to generate masterpieces! You will be missed dearly!
Pathology Departmental Research Postgraduate Students Retreat 2010
Congratulations to Macus for winning the Best Scientific Content Award and Cerise for winning the Most Translational Value Award.
2019 Hong Kong Inter-U Postgraduate Symposium
Macus, Noreen, and Derek have won the Outstanding Poster Presentation Awards. Congratulations and keep up the good work!
Cerise and Derek were awarded scholarships.
Cerise has been awarded the YS and Christabel Lung Postgraduate Scholarship 2018/19. Derek has been awarded the Wong Ching Yee Medical Postgraduate Scholarship 2018/19. Congratulations! Keep up the good work.
Cerise was awarded the Leong Che Hung Medical and Research Enrichment Scholarship
Congratulations to Cerise! She has received an award from Professor Leong at the prize presentation ceremony. We thank Professor Leong for his encouragement, support, and generosity to our students.
Faculty Prize Presentation Ceremony
Congratulations to David for receiving the Dr KP Stephen Chang Gold Medal for the best PhD thesis in our faculty and the Chan To Haan Prize for Research Postgraduate Students in Pathology.
Congratulations to Jacinth for receiving the Dr. Veronica Lam Prize for her outstanding achievements in her undergraduate study at HKU.
Noreen has won the best poster award in the HK Society of Flow Cytometry Annual Meeting
Noreen has received an award from Professor Kathy Lui in the Annual Meeting of HK Society of Flow Cytometry.
Our postdoctoral fellows have successfully secured two HMRF grants. Congratulations!
Big congrats to David and Misty for being awarded two external grants as principal investigators! Thank you so much for the hard work.
Hong Kong Institute of Science - Hong Kong Yong Scientist Presentation
David was selected as a finalist for the Hong Kong Young Scientist Award. He made a great presentation on hypoxia and myeloid-derived suppressor cells.
Research Postgraduate Symposium -HKU Faculty of Medicine
Cerise, Macus, and Noreen have won the Outstanding Poster Presentation Awards! Great job and congrats. Keep up your great work!
Award Presentation Ceremony 2018
David received the Li Ka Shing Prize for the best PhD thesis award. Big congratulations for your achievement!
Jacinth received the Lee Shau Kee Postgraduate Fellowship to support her PhD study. Congratulations!
Derek was awarded the YS and Christabel Lung Postgraduate Scholarship (2017/2018). Jacinth was awarded the HKU PhD Fellowship. Congratulations!
Postgraduate students from our team will be presenting at the InterU Postgradaute Symposium.
Noreen will be giving an oral presentation on the intersection of the Wnt and HIF pathways in HCC.
Cerise will be giving a poster presentation on aneuploidy and immune microenvironment in HCC.
Derek will be giving a poster presentation on antioxidant and HCC.
Cerise has successfully transferred her study from MPhil to PhD. Congratulations and keep up the good work!
2017 Award Presentation Ceremony
Carmen received the Outstanding Young Researcher Award (OYRA) 2016/17 of HKU.
State Key Laboratory for Liver Research Internal Meeting
Cerise is going to give a talk on "pushing ploidy to its limit as a therapeutic strategy in liver cancer" in the internal meeting of State Key Laboratory for Liver Research.
Cold Spring Harbor Asia- Cancer & Metabolism
Carmen will share the work on the identification of metabolic pathways responsible for tyrosine kinase inhibitor (TKI) resistance in liver cancer.
4th International Conference on Phase 1 and Early Phase Clinical Trials (ICPOEP 2018)
Carmen gave a talk on hypoxia in cancer and immune cells at ICPOEP 2018.
Congrats to Misty and Iris for getting their PhDs.
The 1st Annual Scientific Symposium for MSCO (Macau Society of Clinical Oncology)
Carmen is going to give a talk on the Basic Biology of Immunotherapy: Checkpoint Therapy in the MSCO meeting.
Cerise and Derek won the Outstanding Poster Presentation Awards at the 22nd Research Postgraduate Symposium of the LKS Faculty of Medicine, HKU
Cerise and Derek shared their most recent work with other postgraduate students in the symposium. Greatest support from all the team members.
David has passed his PhD oral defense!
Congratulations to Dr. David Chiu! May the end of your PhD study be the start of your exciting journey of exploration.
International Liver Cancer Association 2017, Seoul, Korea
Carmen is going to give an oral presentation about the link of metabolic rewiring of cancer cells and immune components in liver cancer on September 15th, 2017.
Our paper integrating the knowledge of cancer metabolism and immunity is published in Nature Communications. Congratulations to David!
In this study, we found that hypoxic liver cancer cells express an ectoenzyme, ENTPD2, which converts extracellular ATP to AMP, thereby favoring the accumulation of myeloid-derived suppressor cells in the tumor microenvironment of liver cancer. This population of myeloid cells inhibit T cells, enabling the cancer cells to bypass immune surveillance. Excitingly, we found that ENTPD2 inhibitor improved the efficiency of anti-PD1 and anti-CTLA4 by unleashing T cells to combat HCC.
Our paper is published in JCI this month. Congratulations to Derek!
In this study, we identified folate cycle as a new metabolic vulnerability in liver cancer.
Alumini Interview by Graduate School- Hunting Hijackers
Carmen will be the speaker of the EMBO Workshop in Thiol Oxidation in Toxicity and Signaling in Spain this September. She will give a talk on metabolic reprogramming in liver cancer. She will share our recent lab findings- The pentose phosphate pathway and folate cycle protect liver cancer cells from oxidative stress.
Croucher Innovation Award 2017
Carmen won the Croucher Innovation Award 2017. The ceremony has taken place on December 8th, 2016. We are very grateful to the Croucher Foundation for their support to make our dreams real.
Graduate School Award Presentation Ceremony 2016
Robin won the Li Ka Shing Prize (a gold medal for the best MPhil thesis award)! Congratulations again!!! Watch his video!!
We are all very proud to have you as our first MPhil graduate. You did a wonderful job! Best wishes for your future endeavors!! Congratulations, Robin!
The 21st Postgraduate Symposium of the Faculty of Medicine, HKU
David got the 1st runner up award for his oral presentation at the postgraduate symposium. Congratulations!! Research without limits, David!
Professor Gregg Semenza wins Lasker Award
Congratulations to our mentor, Prof Gregg Semenza, for receiving the 2016 Albert Lasker Basic Medical Research Award! Congrats to Team HIF-1!
Our MPhil student LAI Kit Ho, Robin, was awarded the Li Ka Shing Prize for the best MPhil thesis. Today, staffs from the Graudate School interviewed Robin for a short video. Big congrats to Robin for his wonderful work!
David presented in AACR 2016!
Our PhD student, CHIU Kung Chun, David was selected for oral presentation in the Annual Meeting of AACR 2016. Today, he gave a presentation in AACR 2016, New Orleans. David, you made us proud!