Professor Maria Li LUNG

Professor Maria Li LUNG

Chair Professor
Director, Laboratory of Cancer Molecular Genomics

  • PhD (Stanford)
Short Biography
Maria Lung attended Cornell University in New York for her bachelor’s degree and obtained her PhD from Stanford University in California. After being a postdoctoral fellow at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Massachusetts, she joined the Department of Microbiology at the University of Hong Kong. She subsequently moved to the Department of Biology at the Hong Kong University of Science & Technology and became one of its founding Members. In 2009, she moved back to the University of Hong Kong and became Chair Professor in the Department of Clinical Oncology.
Research Interests

Prof. Lung is a leading researcher in cancer genomics. Her main research interests focus on elucidating the molecular genetic basis of two cancers of great concern to the Chinese population, namely nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) and esophageal carcinoma (ESC). Using monochromosome transfer, genotyping, cytogenetics, nude mouse animal models, and oligonucleotide microarray approaches, she has discovered key critical regions and candidate tumor suppressor genes that contribute to the development of these tumors and may be useful diagnostic biomarkers for cancer detection. Her whole genome sequencing approaches to cancer have now paved the way to understanding the molecular genetic basis for and the molecular landscape of mutations in NPC and ESC.

Prof. Lung attended Cornell University and obtained her PhD from Stanford University. After being a postdoctoral fellow at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, she joined the Dept. Microbiology at the University of Hong Kong. She then moved to the Dept. of Biology at the Hong Kong University of Science & Technology and became one of its founding members. In 2009, she moved back to the University of Hong Kong as a Chair Professor in the Dept of Clinical Oncology.

Prof. Lung has led a Collaborative Research Fund group grant establishing an Esophageal Carcinoma Research Center (2007-2010), Area of Excellence group grant (2010-2018) directing the Center for Nasopharyngeal Carcinoma Research, a Collaborative Research Fund group grant (2017-2019) on targeted genomics and genetic susceptibility in ESC, and a Theme-based Research Fund grant (2017-2021) on translational studies of tumor heterogeneity and molecular evolution in ESC.

Selected Publications
    1. Decleve A, Lieberman M, Ihle JN, Rosenthal PN, Lung ML, Kaplan HS.Physiochemical, biological, & serological properties of a leukemogenic virus isolated from cultured RadLV‑induced lymphomas of C57B/Ka mice. Virology. 90:23‑35. 1978.
    2. Lung ML, Hering C, Hartley JW, Rowe WP, Hopkins N.Analysis of the genomes of mink cell focus‑forming murine type‑C viruses: a progress report. CSH Symposia on Quantitative Biology. XLIV: 1269‑74. 1979.
    3. Lung ML, Hartley JW, Rowe WP, Hopkins N. Large RNase T1‑ resistant oligonucleotides encoding p15E & the U3 region of the long terminal repeat distinguish two biological classes of mink cell focus‑ forming type‑C viruses of inbred mice.J Virol. 45:275‑90. 1983.
    4. Lung ML, Lam WK, So SY, Lam WP, Chan KH, Ng MH. Evidence that respiratory tract is major reservoir for Epstein‑Barr virus.The Lancet. i: 889‑892. April 20, 1985.
    5. Lung ML, Chang RS, Huang ML, Guo HY, Choy D, Sham J, Tsao SY, Cheng P, Ng MH. Epstein‑Barr virus genotypes associated with nasopharyngeal carcinoma in Southern China.Virol. 177:44‑53. 1990.
    6. Lung ML, Lam WP, Sham J, Choy D, Zong YS, Guo HY, Ng M.H. Detection and prevalence of the "f" variant of Epstein‑Barr virus associated with nasopharyngeal carcinoma in Southern China.Virol. 185:67-71. 1991.
    7. Lung ML, Sham J, Lam WP, Choy D. Analysis of localized tumors provides further evidence for the direct association of Epstein-Barr virus with nasopharyngeal carcinoma. Cancer. 71:1190-1192. 1993.
    8. Leung CS, Cheung MH, Wong CM, Lau KW, Tang CM, Lung ML. p53 mutations detected in colorectal carcinoma patients in Hong Kong. Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers and Prevention. 9:925-930. 1997.
    9. Cheng Y, Poulos NE, Lung ML, Hampton G, Ou B, Lerman M, Stanbridge EJ. Functional evidence for a nasopharyngeal carcinoma tumor suppressor gene that maps at chromosome 3p21.3. Proc Natl Acad Sci. 95:3042-3047. 1998.
    10. Lung ML. Functional approaches to localize and identify tumor suppressive regions required for development of nasopharyngeal carcinoma. Cancer Reviews: Asia Pacific. 1:21-30. 2003.
    11. Lung HL, Bangarusamy DK, Xie D, Cheung AK, Cheng Y, Kumaran MK, Miller L, Liu ET, Guan XY, Sham JS, Fang Y, Li L, Wang N, Protopopov AI, Zabarovsky ER, Tsao SW, Stanbridge EJ, Lung ML. THY1 is a candidate tumor suppressor gene with decreased expression in metastatic nasopharyngeal carcinoma. Oncogene. 24:6525-32. 2005.
    12. Yang LC, Leung AC, Ko JM, Lo PH, Tang JC, Srivastava G, Oshimura M, Stanbridge EJ, Diago Y, Nakamura Y, Tang MC, Lau KW, Law S, Lung ML. Tumor suppressive role of a 2.4 Mb 9q33-34 critical region and DEC1 involvement in esophageal squamous cell carcinoma. Oncogene. 24:697-705. 2005.
    13. Lung HL, Cheung AK, Xie D, Cheng Y, Kwong FM, Murakami Y, Guan XY, Sham JS, Chua D, Protopopov AI, Zabarovsky ER, Tsao SW, Stanbridge EJ, Lung ML. TSLC1 is a tumor suppressor gene associated with metastasis in nasopharyngeal carcinoma. Cancer Research. 66:9385-9392. 2006.
    14. Lo PH, Leung AC, Kwok CY, Cheung WS, Ko JM, Yang LC, Law S, Wang LD, Li J, Stanbridge EJ, Srivastava G, Tang JC, Tsao SW, Lung ML. Identification of a tumor suppressive critical region mapping to 3p14.2 in esophageal squamous cell carcinoma and studies of a candidate tumor suppressor gene, ADAMTS9, Oncogene. 26:148-157. 2007.
    15. Cheung AK, Lung HL, Hung SC, Law EW, Cheng Y, Yau WL, Bangarusamy DK, Miller L, Liu ET, Shao JY, Kou CW, Chua D, Zabarovsky ER, Tsao SW, Stanbridge EJ, Lung ML. Functional analysis of Protein Tyrosine Phosphatase Receptor type G (PTPRG) in suppression of nasopharyngeal carcinoma. Cancer Research. 68:8137-45. 2008.
    16. Ko JM, Chan PL, Yau WL, Chan HK, Chan KC, Miller L, Liu ET, Yang LC, Lo PH, Stanbridge EJ, Tang JC, Srivastava G, Tsao SW, Lung ML. Monochromosome transfer and microarray analysis identify a critical tumor suppressive region mapping to chromosome 13q14 and THSD1, a novel candidate tumor suppressor gene, in esophageal carcinoma. Molecular Cancer Research. 6:592-603. 2008.
    17. Cheung AK, Lung HL, Ko JM, Cheng Y, Stanbridge EJ, Zabarovsky ER, Nicholls JM, Chua D, Tsao SW, Guan XY, Lung ML. Chromosome 14 transfer and functional studies identify a novel candidate tumor suppressor gene, Mirror image polydactyly 1 in nasopharyngeal carcinoma. PNAS. 106(34):14478-83. 2009.
    18. Lo PH, Lung HL, Cheung AK, Apte SS, Chan KW, Kwong FM, Ko JM, Cheng Y, Law S, Srivastava G, Zabarovsky ER, Tsao SW, Tang JC, Stanbridge EJ, Lung ML. Extracellular protease ADAMTS9 suppresses esophageal and nasopharyngeal carcinoma tumor formation by inhibiting angiogenesis. Cancer Research. 70:5567-76. 2010.
    19. Cheung AK, Ko MY, Lung HL, Chan KW, Stanbridge EJ, Zabarovsky ER, Tokino T, Kashima L, Suzuki T, Kwong DL, Chua D, Tsao SW, Lung ML. CRIP2 acts as a repressor of NFkB-mediated pro-angiogenic cytokine transcription to suppress tumorigenesis and angiogenesis. PNAS. 108(20):8390-5. 2011.
    20. Law EW, Cheung AK, Lung HL, Cheng Y, Kashuba VI, Pavlova TV, Zabarovsky ER, Stanbridge EJ, Chua D, Kwong DL, Tsao SW, Sasaki T, Lung ML. Anti-angiogenic and tumor-suppressive roles of candidate tumor suppressor gene, Fibulin-2, in nasopharyngeal carcinoma. Oncogene. 31:728-738. 2012.
    21. Lung ML. Unlocking the Rosetta Stone Enigma for Nasopharyngeal Carcinoma: Genetics, Viral Infection, and Epidemiological Factors. Seminars in Cancer Biology. 22:77-78. 2012.
    22. Lung HL, Cheung AK, Ko JM, Cheng Y, Stanbridge EJ, ML Lung. Deciphering the Molecular Genetic Basic of NPC through Functional Approaches. Seminars in Cancer Biology. 22:87-95. 2012.
    23. Cheung AK, Ip JC, Lung HL, Wu JZ, Tsao SW, Lung ML. Polo-like kinase (PLK) inhibitor, Ro5203280, has potent anti-tumor activity in nasopharyngeal carcinoma. Molecular Cancer Therapeutics. 12(8):1393-401. 2013.
    24. Szeto CY, Lin CH, Choi SC, Yip TT, Ngan RK, Tsao GS, Lung ML. Integrated mRNA and microRNA transcriptome sequencing characterizes sequence variants and mRNA – microRNA regulatory network in nasopharyngeal carcinoma model systems.FEBS Open Bio. 4(1):128-40.2014.
    25. Lung HL, Man OY, Yeung MC, Ko JMY, Cheung AKL, Law EWSL, Yu Z, Yang X, Kan R, Phoon Y, Chua D, Kwong LD, Lee AWM, Ji MF, Lung ML. Serum amyloid A1 (SAA1) genetic polymorphisms are associated with variation in anti-angiogenic and tumor suppressive activities in nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC). Oncogene. 34:878-889. 2015.
    26. Cheng Y, Ho RLKY, Chan KC, Kan R, Tung E, Lung HL, Yau WL, Cheung AKL, Ko JMY, Zhang ZF, Luo DZ, Feng ZB, Chen S, Guan XY, Kwong D, Stanbridge EJ, Lung ML. Anti-angiogenic pathway associations of the 3p21.3 mapped BLU gene in nasopharyngeal carcinoma. Oncogene. 6;34(32):4219-28. 2015.
    27. Shuen WH, Kan R, Yu Z, Lung HL, Lung ML. Novel lentiviral-inducible transgene expression systems and versatile single-plasmid reporters for in vitro and in vivo cancer biology studies. Cancer Gene Therapy 22(4): 207-214, 2015.
    28. Ip JCY, Ko JMY, Yu VZ, Chan KW, Lam AKY, Law SYK, Tong KDH, Lung ML. A versatile orthotopic nude mouse model for study of esophageal squamous cell carcinoma. Biomedical Research International. 2015:910715. 2015.
    29. Dai W, Cheung A, Ko JMY, Cheng Y, Hong Z, Kwong D, Ngan R, Ng WT, Lee A, Yau CC, Lung ML. Comparative methylome analysis in solid tumors reveals aberrant methylation at chromosome 6p in NPC. Cancer Medicine. 4: 1079-90. 2015.
    30. Yu Z, Wong VCL, Ko JMY, Lam AKY, Chan KW, Samant RS, Lung HL, Dai W, Shuen WH, Law S, Chan YP, Lee NPY, Tong DKH, Law TT, Lee VHF, Lung ML. Nuclear Localization of DNAJB6 Is Associated With Survival of Patients With Esophageal Cancer and Reduces AKT Signaling and Proliferation of Cancer Cells. Gastroenterology. 149:1825-1836. 2015.
    31. Dai W, Zheng H, Cheung AK, Tang CS, Ko JM, Wong BW, Leong MM, Sham PC, Cheung F, Kwong DL, Ngan RK, Ng WT, Yau CC, Pan J, Peng X, Tung S, Zhang Z, Ji M, Chiang AK, Lee AW, Lee VH, Lam KO, Au KH, Cheng HC, Yiu HH, Lung ML. Whole-exome sequencing identifies MST1R as a genetic susceptibility gene in nasopharyngeal carcinoma. Proc Natl Acad Sci. 113(12):3317-22. 2016.
    32. Zheng H, Dai W, Cheung AKL, Ko JMY, Kan R, Wong BWY, Leong MML, Deng M, Kwok TCT, J Chan, Kwong DLW, Lee AWM, Ng WT, Ngan RKC, Yau CC, Tung S, Lee VHF, Lam KO, Kwan CK, Li WS, Yau S, Chan KW, Lung ML. Whole-exome sequencing identifies multiple loss-of-function mutations of NF-κB pathway regulators in nasopharyngeal carcinoma. Proc Natl Acad Sci. 113(40):11283-11288. 2016. pnas.1607606113
    33. Wong VC, Ko JM, Lam CT, Lung ML. Succinct workflows for circulating tumor cells after enrichment: from systematic counting to mutational profiling. PLos ONE. 12(5):e0177276. 2017.
    34. Dai W, Ko JMY, Choi SSA, Yu ZU, Ning L, Zheng H, Gopalan V, Chan KT, Lee N, Chan KW, Law S, Lam A, Lung ML. Whole-exome sequencing reveals critical genes underlying metastasis in esophageal squamous cell carcinoma. J Pathol. 242(4):500-510.2017.
    35. Lin WT, Yip YL, Jia L, Deng W, Zheng H, Dai W, Ko JMY, Lo KW, Chung GTY, Yip KYL, Lee SD, Kwan JSH, Zhang J, Liu T, Chan JYW, Kwong DLW, Lee VHF, Nicholls JM, Busson P, Liu X, Chiang AKS, Hui KF, Kwok H, Cheung ST, Cheung YC, Chan CK, Li B, Cheung, ALM, Hau PM,Zhou Y, Tsang CM, Middeldorp J, Chen HL, Lung ML, Tsao SW. Establishment and characterization of new tumor xenografts and cancer cell lines from EBV-positive nasopharyngeal carcinoma. Nature Communications. 9:4663.2018.
    36. Leong MML, Cheung AKL, Dai W, Tsao SW, Dawson CW, Ko JMY, Lung ML. EBV infection is associated with histone bivalent switch modifications in squamous epithelial cells.PNAS. 116:14144-14153.2019. 10.1073/pnas.1821752116
    37. Ko JMY, Ning L, Zhao XK, Chai AWY, Lei CL, Choi SSA, Tao L, Law S, Kwong A, Lee NPY, Chan KT, Lo A, Song X, Chen PN, Chang YL, Wang LD, Lung, ML. BRCA2 loss-of-function germline mutations are associated with esophageal squamous cell carcinoma risk in Chinese. Intl J Cancer. 146(4):1042-1051.2020.
    38. Ko JMY, Vardhanabhuti V, Ng WT, Lam KO, Ngan RKC, Kwong DLW, Lee VHF, Yau CC, Kwan CK, Li WS, Yau S, Guo C, Choi S, Lei L, Chan K, Lam C, Chan CKC, Dai W, Khong PL, Lung ML. Clinical utility of serial analysis of circulating tumor cells for detection of minimal residual disease of metastatic nasopharyngeal carcinoma. Br J Cancer.123:114-125.2020. 10.1038/s41416-020-0871-1
    39. Ko JMY, Ng HY, Lam KO, Chiu KWH, Kwong DLW, Lo AWI, Wong JC, Lin RCW, Fong HCH, Li JYK, Dai W, Law S, Lung ML. Liquid biopsy serial monitoring of treatment responses and elapse in advanced esophageal squamous cell carcinoma. Cancers. 12(6):1352.2020. 10.3390/cancers12061352
    40. Dai W, Chung DLS, Chow, LKY, Leong MML, Chan CKC, Ko JMY, Lung ML. Integrative genomic analysis reveals a nasopharyngeal carcinoma subgroup with the BRCAness signature associated with poor overall survival. Clinical Cancer Research. 2020 Sep 28.
    41. Ning L, Ko JMY, Yu VZ, Ng HY, Chan CKC, Tao L, Lam SY, Leong MML, Ngan RKC, Kwong DlW, Lee AW, Ng WT, Cheng A, Tung S, Lee VHF, Lam KO, Kwan CK, Li WS, Yau S, Bei YX, Lung ML. Association of TRIM31 and TRIM39 loci with nasopharyngeal carcinoma by MHC region deep sequencing. Communications Biology.2020.