Professor Tak MAK
Co-Director (Scientific)/ Immuno-oncology Research Programme Leader
Prof. Mak is a Senior Scientist at Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, a Professor in the Department of Medical Biophysics and Immunology at The University of Toronto, as well as in the Department of Pathology at the Li Ka Shing Faculty of Medicine, The University of Hong Kong. He was also the Vice President of Research for Amgen Inc. and co-founded several biotech companies specializing in oncology, including Miikana Therapeutics (now CASI Inc.), T Cell Sciences, Rigel Inc., and Agios Pharmaceuticals. He is a world-renowned expert in the genetics of immunology and cancer. Over his illustrious career he has made multiple landmark discoveries, including discovery of the human T cell receptor, cloning of T cell antigen receptor genes and discovery of the function of the immune checkpoint protein, CTLA-4. He also pioneered the use of genetically engineered mouse strains to identify genetic susceptibility factors associated with various immune disorders or different types of cancer. His work has paved the way for the development of multiple anti-cancer drugs, including a PLK4 inhibitor, a TTK inhibitor and anti-CTLA4 agents. His research continues to focus on the mechanisms underlying immune responses and tumorigenesis, with the goal of identifying new drug targets and the development of more effective cancer therapies.
Professor Suet Yi LEUNG
Managing Director/ Gastrointestinal Cancer Research Programme Leader
Prof. Leung is Chairperson of the Department of Pathology at the Li Ka Shing Faculty of Medicine, The University of Hong Kong, a Chair Professor of Gastrointestinal Cancer Genetics and Genomics (HKU), and Director of the Centre for PanorOmic Sciences (HKU). She is also a Croucher Award recipient and a YW Kan Endowed Professor in Natural Sciences. Her research interests are focused on the molecular genetics, epigenetics and genomics of gastrointestinal cancers. Her lab was the first to describe heritable germline methylation of the MSH2 gene promoter, via EPCAM deletion, as a cause of Lynch Syndrome associated colorectal cancer. These findings led to the incorporation of EPCAM deletion into the standard genetic diagnosis protocol for Lynch Syndrome worldwide. Her lab has also identified many novel gastric cancer driver genes, including ARID1A, RHOA and RNF43, and defined the genomic and epigenomic landscapes of various molecular subtypes of gastric cancer. Recently, her team established and comprehensively characterized large living biobanks of gastric and colon organoid cultures that have become valuable resources for cancer research and drug screening, with the potential to facilitate the development of precision cancer therapy.
Dr. Carmen WONG
Principal Investigator/ Liver Cancer Research Programme Leader
Dr. Wong is currently an Associate Professor in the Department of Pathology at the Li Ka Shing Faculty of Medicine, The University of Hong Kong. Her research focuses on understanding the intricate relationship between metabolic reprogramming and tumour microenvironment formation in Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Currently, she is investigating the role of hypoxia in extracellular matrix modification in HCC. She is also studying signalling pathways that rewire the metabolic programs in HCC, with the aim of identifying drugs with therapeutic potential that target the metabolic machinery. Furthermore, her recent translational research identified PLK4 as a therapeutic vulnerability in HCC, and subsequent treatment of mice with a PLK4 inhibitor combined with PD-1 blockade was able to suppress tumour progression and induced antitumour immunity.
Professor Anskar LEUNG
Principal Investigator/ Hematopoietic Cancer Research Programme Leader
Prof. Leung is Chair Professor and Li Shu Fan Medical Foundation Professor in Haematology at the Li Ka Shing Faculty of Medicine, The University of Hong Kong. His research focuses on the pathogenesis and treatment of acute myeloid leukaemia (AML), aiming to identify personalised treatment for AML based on a patient’s unique gene mutation profile. Specifically, his team has developed a high throughput zebrafish model for AML that is designed to address issues of genetic diversity in this disease. In addition, his lab has established a large archive of blood and bone marrow samples from AML patients, which have been used to validate their zebrafish results with respect to specific mutation combinations and their roles in AML formation and progression. This has led to the identification of novel therapies as leads for clinical trial evaluation, with the eventual goal to improve patient outcomes in specific AML subtypes that are currently difficult to treat.
Dr. Alan WONG
Principal Investigator/ Advanced Technical Platforms Research Programme (Functional Genomics) Research Project Leader
Dr. Wong is currently an Assistant Professor in the School of Biomedical Sciences at the Li Ka Shing Faculty of Medicine, The University of Hong Kong. His current research focuses on developing and applying cutting-edge CRISPR-based genome engineering technologies for studying complex disease biology and devising new therapeutic strategies. His team developed CombiGEM-CRISPR v2.0, a high throughput screening platform that enables multiplex gene knockouts with linked DNA barcodes. This screening platform has been successfully used to identify effective combinations of actionable targets in a simple and rapid manner, enabling drug repurposing of existing or non-conventional drugs into a combination therapy that can be clinically tested for the treatment of various cancers.
Dr. Helen YAN
Principal Investigator/ Advanced Technical Platforms Research Programme (Organoid Platform) Research Project Leader
Dr. Yan is currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Pathology at the Li Ka Shing Faculty of Medicine, The University of Hong Kong. Previously, she received training in the laboratory of world-renowned organoid expert, Prof. Hans Clevers, gaining extensive experience in the generation of organoid cultures from patient samples. Together with Prof. Suet Yi Leung, she has established and characterized large living organoid biobanks consisting of gastric and colorectal cancers. Her work combines organoid culture with high throughput multi-omics and CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing technologies, for application in disease modelling, drug screening and functional characterization of novel tumour driver genes in gastrointestinal cancers.
Professor Liwei LU
Principal Investigator/ Key Collaborator of Liver Cancer and Immuno-oncology Research Programmes
Prof. Lu is a Professor of Immunology in the Department of Pathology at the Li Ka Shing Faculty of Medicine, The University of Hong Kong. He is an expert in the field of autoimmunity and has served as the Chairman of the Hong Kong Society for Immunology. His research achievements have been recognized with numerous awards, including a Leukemia Research Fund of Canada Award, a Croucher Senior Researcher Fellowship and a Beijing Science and Technology Award. His research interests include the identification of genes involved in regulating lymphocyte development, function and apoptosis, particularly in the context of autoimmune disease and cancer. His team identified B cell-activating factor (BAFF) as a key therapeutic target in autoimmune diseases, and was among the first to successfully treat autoimmune arthritis in a preclinical model by silencing BAFF directly in affected joint tissues.
Dr. Rex AU YEUNG
Principal Investigator/ Key Collaborator of Hematopoietic Cancer and Immuno-oncology Research Programmes
Dr. Yeung is currently a Clinical Assistant Professor in the Department of Pathology at the Li Ka Shing Faculty of Medicine, The University of Hong Kong. He is an anatomical pathologist specializing in lymphoma diagnostics and immune checkpoint therapy. His research interests include studying pathogenic mechanisms and novel therapeutics in malignant lymphomas, and he is actively involved in major international collaborations focussed on lymphoma research. Among his achievements is an important study on in vivo anti-tumour responses to PD-1 blockade in lymphoma patients.
Dr. Jason WONG
Principal Investigator/ Key Collaborator of Advanced Technical Platforms Research Programme (Multi-omics Profiling and Bioinformatics)
Dr. Wong is an Associate Professor in the School of Biomedical Sciences at the Li Ka Shing Faculty of Medicine, The University of Hong Kong. He is an expert on analysing large genomics datasets, such as those from The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA), with a focus on the integrative analysis of different types of omics data. His current research is focused on the study of mutational processes in cancer and their ultimate effect on gene regulation and function. His research makes use of cutting-edge multi-omics technologies, along with bioinformatics and computational analyses to understand the mechanisms by which mutations occur in cancer and what effect they have on gene expression.
Dr. Clive CHUNG
Principal Investigator/ Key Collaborator of Advanced Technical Platforms Research Programme (Medicinal Chemistry and Drug Development)
Dr. Chung is an Assistant Professor in the School of Biomedical Sciences and Department of Pathology at the Li Ka Shing Faculty of Medicine, The University of Hong Kong. He is an expert in chemical biology and is interested in the organic synthesis of novel functional tools and drug lead compounds for biological studies and disease therapy. His research is focused on developing new chemical tools for studying diseases and cellular signalling events, particularly those related to or mediated by reversible redox modifications. He also developed a high throughput screen coupled with activity-based protein profiling for discovery of new therapeutic agents.