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Forum on Metabolism in Health and Disease - HK TECH FORUM 2022

December 15, 2022

Carmen has presented findings on 'The ever-growing roles of hypoxia-inducible factors (HIFs) in hepatocellular carcinoma development' in the HK TECH FORUM 2022 held on 15 - 16 December 2022. This forum aims to facilitate discussions on new pathways, mechanistic studies and advanced molecular technologies that will lead to potential values for early detection, prevention and therapeutic intervention of human chronic diseases including cancer, cardio-metabolic disorder and neurodegeneration.

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Using mouse liver cancer models based on somatic genome editing to predict immune checkpoint inhibitor responses

November 28, 2022

Recently, our group has characterized tumors in precision mouse models with different genotypes into cold and hot tumor based on CD8+ T cell-infiltration level. This study provides proof-of-concept evidence to show that hot tumors are responsive to anti-PD-1 treatment while cold tumors are more suitable for combined treatment with anti-PD-1 and sorafenib. Our study might help to guide the design of patient stratification systems for single or combined treatments involving anti-PD-1. This study was recently published in Journal of Hepatology. Congratulations Vincent, David and Dicky on the elegant work!

State Key Laboratory of Liver Research (SKLLR) Virtual Seminar 2022

November 22, 2022

Carmen will chair the upcoming SKLLR virtual seminar to be held on Thursday, December 1, 2022 which aims to promote academic exchange and nurture young researchers.


For this Seminar, we're honoured to have Professor Diego Francesco Calvisi (University of Regensburg, Germany), and Dr Amaia Lujambio (Icaha School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, USA) to be our speakers. All interested may join us via Zoom through simple registration by scanning the QR code above.

Carmen shares research journey at the Hong Kong Laureate Forum

November 12, 2022

Carmen is honoured to join the Lasker Laureate 2022, Prof Dennis Lo, to share their research journeys with secondary school students of Hong Kong.


Big thank you to Hong Kong Laureate Forum for the invitation.

Vincent awarded Li Po Chun Charitable Trust Fund Postgraduate Scholarship!

November 11, 2022

Our final-year PhD student Vincent was recently awarded the Li Po Chun Charitable Trust Fund Postgraduate Scholarship for the 3rd year in a row! Since the Scholarship was originally awarded to Vincent in 2020, it has been renewed for 2 consecutive years in recognition of his academic merits.


Congratulations to Vincent for his continuous excellent work!

State Key Laboratory of Liver Research Tripartite Joint Forum


November 9, 2022

The State Key Laboratory of Liver Research Tripartite Joint Forum will be held on Friday, November 18, 2022 to encourage knowledge exchange and collaboration. Carmen will deliver a presentation to share some of our group's latest works at this year's Forum. Stay tuned!

Frontiers in Cancer Science 2022

November 7-9, 2022

Carmen gave a talk at Frontiers in Cancer Science in Singapore sharing our work on rationalizing combination treatments with immune checkpoint blockade in hepatocellular carcinoma. A big thank you to FCS and Dr Polly Chen for the invitation to this amazing meeting with lots of great discussion on the hottest topics in cancer.

Genome-Wide CRISPR/Cas9 Library Screening Revealed Dietary Restriction of Glutamine in Combination with Inhibition of Pyruvate Metabolism as Effective Liver Cancer Treatment

October 30, 2022

Recently, our group reported that pyruvate metabolism is crucial to HCC cells' adaptation of glutamine depletion using genome-wide CRISPR/Cas9 knockout library screening. In particular, we found that PDHA, PDHB or PC knockout induced metabolic reprogramming of the TCA cycle which disrupted mitochondrial function and suppressed HCC cell growth under glutamine depletion. In all, we identified pyruvate metabolism as targetable metabolic vulnerabilities for HCC treatment in combination with glutamine-deficient diet. This study was recently published in Advanced Science. Congratulations on the great work, Chunxue!

State Key Laboratory of Liver Research (HKU) Symposium 2022

October 29, 2022

Today is the annual State Key Laboratory of Liver Research (HKU) Symposium, as fellow colleagues shared some of their most exciting works they have been working on. It was a great Saturday spent from the inspiring talks from the keynote speakers as well as through the interactions with colleagues from the SKLLR!

26th Annual General and Scientific Meeting of the Hong Kong Society of Flow Cytometry, 2022

October 15, 2022

Our final-year PhD student, Vincent gave a poster presentation to share his research works at the 26th Annual General and Scientific Meeting of the Hong Kong Society of Flow Cytometry and was awarded the Best Poster Award for his excellent work.  Congratulations on the achievement,  Vincent!

Hong Kong Life Sciences Scholarship Awards, 2022

October 12, 2022

Our Final-Year Project student, Terence, has received the Hong Kong Life Sciences Scholarship Award from Hong Kong Life Sciences Society. This award is set to encourage outstanding undergraduate students to pursue a life sciences or biomedical science program in a UGC-funded institution in Hong Kong. Congratulations!

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Li Ka Shing Prize, 2020-2021

October 3, 2022

Our MPhil graduate Macus was awarded the Li Ka Shing Prize for the best MPhil thesis in Science, Medicine, Engineering and Technology for 2020-2021 academic year. Congratulations on this prestigious award, Macus! We are so proud of you!

“How To Start a Research Project” Workshop 2022 Graduation Ceremony and “Nurturing Scientific Research Talents in Hong Kong” Forum

September 3, 2022

Carmen had the honour to participate in this event by The Hong Kong Young Academy of Sciences held at the Hong Kong Science Park. The event aimed to encourage high school students in Hong Kong to explore their interest in science.

Congratulations to all the students who won the 1-minute Video Competition! 

SKLLR Internal Research Meeting 2022

August 20, 2022

Our final-year PhD student Bowie beautifully presented her research works at this year's SKLLR Internal Research Meeting and was awarded the Best Oral Presentation Award!


This comes as a result of Bowie's hard work throughout her study. Congratulations on your achievement and a wonderful way to conclude your PhD journey, Bowie!

CFI-402257, a TTK inhibitor, effectively suppresses hepatocellular carcinoma

August 3, 2022

Another recent paper published by our group showed that another cell cycle inhibitor, CFI-402275, which specifically suppressed TTK which is responsible for spindle assembly checkpoint (SAC), caused chromosome mis-segregation and aneuploidy in liver cancer cells. CFI-402275, has different mechanism-of-action from CFI-400945, it also induced the STING-mediated SASPs in liver cancer cells through DNA damage and micronuclei formation. CyTOF study showed that CFI-402275 induced NK and CD8+ T cell recruitment. Combined treatment of CFI-402275 with anti-PD-1 extended the survival of mice with aggressive HCC. The work is published in PNAS. Congratulations to Dr. Cerise Chan!

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Polo-like kinase 4 inhibitor CFI-400945 suppresses liver cancer through cell cycle perturbation and eliciting antitumor immunity

August 3, 2022

Our group has recently reported that an orally available and potent PLK4 inhibitor, CFI-400945, suppressed proliferating HCC cells by inhibiting centrosome duplication and promoting endoreplication. In addition to cell cycle inhibition, more interestingly, we found that CFI-400945 induced micronuclei formation, DNA damage, and cytosolic DNA which together induced the cytosolic DNA sensing pathway, the STING pathway, through cytosolic DNA sensor DDX41. STING activated NFKB and IRF3/7-mediated transcription of senescence-associated secretory phenotypes (SASPs) to drive the recruitment of various immune cells. We showed that CFI-400945 worked together with anti-PD-1 and anti-PD-L1 to suppress HCC growth. The work was recently published in Hepatology. Congratulations to Dr. Cerise Chan!

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Carmen and Vincent Share their Mentor-Mentee Relationship

July 26, 2022

As this year marks the 135th anniversary of the Faculty, Carmen was invited to share her working relationship with whom she describes as her “senior apprentice” Vincent. In the interview, both of them share with readers their first impressions of one another, memorable moments they share with one another, and other interesting topics.


Click the link below to read the full interview!

Thiol-Based Redox Regulation and Signaling - The Chemical Biology of Sulfur

July 12, 2022

Carmen was invited to speak in this year's "Thiol-Based Redox Regulation and Signaling" conference held in Castelldefels, Spain.


During the conference, Carmen delivered a talk titled "Redox Homeostasis in Hepatocellular Carcinoma and its Therapeutic Implications" where she shared our group's findings on redox balance and HCC treatment to our fellow colleagues from around the world!

Department of Pathology Research Postgraduate Students (RPGs)

Retreat 2022

July 8, 2022

Our students Grace and Carrie shared their exciting projects with the fellow department members in our Department's RPG Retreat. Grace was awarded the High Clinical Relevance Award.

Congratulations to Grace for her achievement and great presentations from everyone!

2022 Hong Kong Inter-​University Postgraduate Symposium in Life Science

June 27, 2022

Our PhD students Vincent, Jacinth, Bowie, and Carrie gave poster presentations on their research studies in this year's Inter-University Postgraduate Symposium in Life Science. Vincent and Jacinth have been awarded the Poster Awards!


Congratulations to both and jobs well done by all students!!

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Hypoxia-induced macropinocytosis represents a metabolic route for liver cancer

June 9, 2022

A recent publication in Nature Communications by our post-doctoral fellow Dr Misty Zhang highlights macropinocytosis, the process of endocytosis, as a new metabolic mechanism used by hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) cells to engulf extracellular proteins as source to support the indefinite proliferation of liver cancer cells under oxygen deprivation - a condition known as hypoxia. Our findings shed light on macropinocytosis as a novel and effective therapeutic target for HCC.

The study was recently featured by HKUMed and newspapers found in the links below. Congratulations Misty on the groundbreaking findings!

Launch Ceremony for InnoHK!

May 25, 2022

On May 25th 2022, InnoHK was officially launched at the InnoHK Launch Ceremony which marked a new milestone in HKSAR Government’s commitment to the promotion of the region’s I&T! It is our honour to have the opportunity to be a part of this research and innovation program under the Centre for Oncology and Immunology (COI) co-directed by Prof Tak Mak and Prof Suet-Yi Leung.

New co-editor-in-chief for Hepatology Communications!

May 23, 2022

Dr. Elliot Tapper and Carmen will serve as new Co-Editor-in-Chiefs for Hepatology Communications, an official journal of the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases (AASLD). We look forward in seeing your exciting work at Hepatology Communications soon!

Jacinth and Vincent received the YS and Christabel Lung Postgraduate Scholarship!

February 23, 2022

Jacinth and Vincent, our final-year PhD students, received the YS and Christabel Lung Postgraduate Scholarship 2021-22 in recognition of their academic excellence over the past year.

Proud of your achievement and big congratulations!

Li Ka Shing Prize, 2019-20

December 15, 2021

Derek was selected as one of the recipients of the Li Ka Shing Prizes for the 2019-20 academic year. This is an award of recognition for having one of the best PhD thesis from Science, Medicine, Engineering and Technology.


Congratulations on this huge honour, Derek!


SKLLR/TRS Internal Research Meeting 2021

December 11, 2021

Our postdoc Dr Cerise and PhD student Jacinth have shared their wonderful research works in the SKLLR/TRS Internal Research Meeting. Congratulations to Jacinth for awarding the Best Oral Presentation Award! Well done!

26th Research Postgraduate Symposium (RPS) -

Li Ka Shing Faculty of Medicine, HKU

December 1-2, 2021

Our students Vincent, Jacinth, Bowie and Carrie have shared their great works in the 26th Research Postgraduate Symposium held on 1 and 2 December. Vincent was awarded the Outstanding Oral Presentation Award! Congratulations Vincent and keep up the great work!


Carmen's presentation at the Hong Kong Laureate Forum

14 September, 2021

Carmen shared our lab's latest research works and experience on cancer immunotherapies at the Science Exposition – Life Science and Medicine at the Hong Kong Laureate Forum. Check out some of the sights and sounds of the event below!

Vincent awarded Li Po Chun Charitable Trust Fund Postgraduate Scholarship!

August 15, 2021

Vincent, our PhD student, was recently awarded his 2nd Li Po Chun Charitable Trust Fund Postgraduate Scholarship. This Scholarship was originally awarded to Vincent last year and renewed this year in recognition of his impressive academic achievements.


Huge congratulations and great work, Vincent!

Carmen's latest interview with HKUMed

July 29, 2021

Carmen was recently interviewed by HKUMed talking about her scientific research journey. Carmen discussed her aspirations and passion towards liver cancer research. She also shared her career path and gave inspiring advices for young researchers.


You can find the complete interview posted on HKUMed's Official WeChat.

Visiting our new lab @ Science Park!

July 15, 2021

We visited the laboratories and facilities of the Centre for Oncology and Immunology (COINNO) in the Hong Kong Science Park! We are extremely proud to be a part of The Centre funded by InnoHK. We are grateful for this huge support and are excited to begin this innovative journey in cancer immunology research!

Department of Pathology Research Postgraduate Students (RPGs)

Retreat 2021

July 9, 2021

Our PhD students Bowie, Jacinth, and Vincent participated in our Department's RPG Retreat. All 3 of them enthusiastically shared their studies to fellow department members. Vincent was awarded the Most Innovative Award.


Congratulations to Vincent for his achievement and the excellent presentations from everyone! Keep it up!

Immunology, immunotherapies, and cancer

July 3, 2021

Carmen delivered an informative lecture on cancer immunology during the Immunology - the Organ for All Seasons. seminar on Saturday, July 3. Her lecture entitled Immunology, immunotherapies, and cancer highlighted the exciting and latest findings from our group in this field.


Keep up with the amazing discoveries, team!

Immunology Seminar - the Organ for All Season

June 18, 2021

Carmen will be presenting in the Immunology Seminar held on 3 July, 2021 (Saturday) 2 - 5pm. She will talk about immunology, immunotherapies, and cancer. Find out more in the following link!

Hong Kong Inter-University Postgraduate Symposium 2021

June 12, 2021

Our PhD students Vincent, Jacinth and Bowie gave poster presentations on their research studies in the Inter-U Postgraduate Symposium this year. Vincent has been awarded the Out-standing Poster award! Well done Vincent!

RGC Postdoctoral Fellowship 2021-2022

April 26, 2021

Congratulations to Derek for being awarded the RGC Postdoctoral Fellowship (2021-2022). It is an honour that his research effort is being recognised by the Research Grants Council. We thank the RGC for supporting our Post-doc to continue his meaningful research!

We are very proud of you, Derek!

 The International Liver Congress
April 21, 2021
Carmen will also be presenting in The International Liver Congress held on June 23-26, 2021. During the Metabolism and Cancer session, she will share our findings on KEAP1/NRF2-mediated oxidative stress response in liver cancer on Saturday June 26, 2021 2:15pm CET (Saturday June 26, 2021 8:15pm Hong Kong Time). Click below for more details!

April 21, 2021
Carmen will be presenting in the upcoming KEYSTONE SYMPOSIA - Cancer Stem Cells: Advances in Biology and Clinical Translation held on May 19-21, 2021. She will talk about Hypoxia, Cancer and Cancer Stemness on Friday May 21, 2021 at 8pm Hong Kong Time. Find out more at the link below!

YS and Christabel Lung Postgraduate Scholarship for Vincent!
April 20, 2021

Our PhD student, Vincent, has been awarded the YS and Christabel Lung Postgraduate Scholarship. It is truly a great recognition for his hard work. Congratulations!

Keep up with great work!


Cerise has passed her PhD oral defense!
March 5, 2021
Cerise passed her oral defence today and has officially become Dr. Cerise Chan! She put in tremendous efforts to reach this achievement since joining our lab. Congratulations, Dr Chan! We are all so proud of you! She has started her new chapter as a postdoctoral fellow in our laboratory to continue her exploration on finding innovative HCC therapies that could ignite the innate immune cells.

Chan To Haan Prize for Research Postgraduate Students in Pathology 2019-2020
February 10, 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

January 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
January 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 mark 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

November 27, 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!

November 10, 2020

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!

October 14, 2020

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

September 19, 2020

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!

September 07, 2020

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!

August 27, 2020

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!

August 27, 2020

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.

Welcome back, Lynna!

August 24, 2020

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!

Noreen's last day

July 30, 2020

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

July 22, 2020

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!

June 18, 2020

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!

February 13, 2020

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!

October 06, 2019

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.

October 14, 2019

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).

September 24, 2019

Annual Conference of International Liver Cancer Assocation at Chicago

September 20, 2019

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

September 07, 2019

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

April 29, 2019

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 x CSA

July 21, 2019

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"

Goodbye David!

July 30, 2019

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

June 27, 2019

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

June 07, 2019

Macus, Noreen, and Derek have won the Outstanding Poster Presentation Awards. Congratulations and keep up the good work!

Cerise and Derek were awarded scholarships.

April 25, 2019

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

April 14, 2019

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

February 10, 2019

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

March 08, 2019

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!

February 28, 2019

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

November 30, 2018

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

December 05, 2018

Cerise, Macus, and Noreen have won the Outstanding Poster Presentation Awards! Great job and congrats. Keep up your great work!

Award Presentation Ceremony 2018

December 11, 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!

July 18, 2018

Postgraduate students from our team will be presenting at the InterU Postgradaute Symposium.

June 22, 2018

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!

June 12, 2018

2017 Award Presentation Ceremony

March 25, 2018

Carmen received the Outstanding Young Researcher Award (OYRA) 2016/17 of HKU.

State Key Laboratory for Liver Research Internal Meeting

March 23, 2018

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

March 25, 2018

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)

March 01, 2018

Carmen gave a talk on hypoxia in cancer and immune cells at ICPOEP 2018.


December 16, 2017

Congrats to Misty and Iris for getting their PhDs.

The 1st Annual Scientific Symposium for MSCO (Macau Society of Clinical Oncology)

December 15, 2017

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

December 06, 2017

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

September 14, 2017

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!

September 10, 2017

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!

May 17, 2017

In this study, we identified folate cycle as a new metabolic vulnerability in liver cancer.

Alumini Interview by Graduate School- Hunting Hijackers

March 31, 2017

EMBO Worshop 2017

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

December 07, 2016

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!!

Graduation Ceremony 2016

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

September 12, 2016


Congratulations to our mentor, Prof Gregg Semenza, for receiving the 2016 Albert Lasker Basic Medical Research Award!  Congrats to Team HIF-1! 

Interview of Robin!


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! 

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