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
  • Ko JM, Dai W, Wong EH, Kwong D, Ng WT, Lee A, Ngan RK, Yau CC, Tung S, Lung ML. Multigene pathway-based analyses identify nasopharyngeal carcinoma risk associations for cumulative adverse effects of TERT-CLPTM1L and DNA double-strand breaks repair. Int J Cancer 135:1634–1645, 2014.
  • 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.
  • Yang X, Dai W, Kwong DLW, Szeto CYY, Elibe Wong HW, Ng WT, Lee AWM, Ngan RKC, Yau CC, Tung SY, Lung ML. Epigenetic markers for non-invasive early detection of nasopharyngeal carcinoma by methylation-sensitive high-resolution melting. Int J Cancer. 2015 Feb 15;136(4):E127-35.
  • 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.
  • Ko JM, Zhang P, Law S, Fan Y, Song YQ, Zhao XK, Wong EH, Tang S, Song X, Lung ML, Wang LD. Identity-by-descent approaches identify regions of importance for genetic susceptibility to hereditary esophageal squamous cell carcinoma. Oncology Reports 32(2): 860-870, 2014.
  • 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.
  • 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, doi: 10.1155/2015/910715.[Epub 2015 Mar 5].
  • 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.
  • Kan R, Shuen WH. Lung HL, Cheung AKL, Dai W, Kwong D, Ng WT, Lee A, Ngan RK, Yau CC, Tung S, Lung ML. NF-κB p65 Subunit Is Modulated by Latent Transforming Growth Factor-β Binding Protein 2 (LTBP2) in Nasopharyngeal Carcinoma HONE1 and HK1 Cells. PLOS ONE. 2015 10(5):e0127239, doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0127239.
  • Cheung AKL, Ip JCY, Chu ACH, Cheng Y, Leong MML, Ko JMY, Shuen WH, Lung HL, Tung E, Lung ML. PTPRG suppresses tumor growth and invasion via inhibition of Akt signaling in nasopharyngeal carcinoma. Oncotarget. 6(15):13434-47, 2015.
  • Cheng Y, Phoon YP, Jin X, Chong SYS, Ip JCY, Wong BWY, Lung ML. Wnt-C59 arrests stemness and suppresses growth of nasopharyngeal carcinoma in mice by inhibiting the Wnt pathway in the tumor microenvironment. Oncotarget 6: 14428-39, 2015.
  • Phoon YP, Cheung AKL, Cheung FMF, Chan KF, Wong S, Wong BWY, Tung SY, Yau CC, Ng WT, Lung ML. IKBB tumor suppressive role in nasopharyngeal carcinoma via NF-κB–mediated signalling. Int J Cancer 138: 160-170, 2016.
  • 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.
  • Ng HY, Ko JM, Yu VZ, Ip JC, Dai W, Cal S, Lung ML. DESC1, a novel tumor suppressor, sensitizes cells to apoptosis by down-regulating the EGFR/AKT pathway in esophageal squamous cell carcinoma. Int J Cancer. 138(12):2940-51, 2016.
  • 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.
  • 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. 2016 Oct 4;113(40):11283-11288. Epub 2016 Sep 19.
  • Dai W, Zheng H, Cheung AK, Lung ML. Genetic and epigenetic landscape of nasopharyngeal carcinoma. Chin Clin Oncol. 5(2):16, 2016.
  • Chai AWY, Cheung AKL, Dai W, Ko JMY, Ip JCY, Chan KW, Kwong DLW, Ng WT, Lee AWM, Ngan RKC, Yau CC, Tung SY, Lee VHF, Lam SKY, Pillai S, Law S, Lung ML. Metastasis-suppressing NID2, an epigenetically-silenced gene, in the pathogenesis of nasopharyngeal carcinoma and esophageal squamous cell carcinoma. Oncotarget. 7(48):78859-78871. doi: 10.18632/oncotarget.12889, 2016.
  • Wong VC, Ko JM, Lam CT, Lung ML. Succinct workflows for circulating tumor cells after enrichment: from systematic counting to mutational profiling. 2017; PLos ONE, 2017;12(5): e0177276.
  • 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, 2017 Aug;242(4):500-510. doi: 10.1002/path.4925. Epub 2017 Jul 12.