2013 PhD in Public Health, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong SAR, China
Thesis title: Domestic Incense Burning and the Risk of Nasopharyngeal Carcinoma: A Case-Referent Study among Hong Kong Chinese
Supervisors: Prof. Ignatius Tak-sun Yu (main supervisor) & Prof. Shelly Lap-Ah Tse
2007 Bachelor of Medicine in Preventive Medicine (major), Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Wuhan, China
2007 Bachelor of Arts in English (minor), Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Wuhan, China
2012.03 - 2012.06 Visiting Scientist at Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, USA (Hosted by Prof. Alex Chensheng Lu)
2009.04 Yale - China CDC Workshop on Environmental Epidemiology, Suzhou, China
My research interests focus on cancer epidemiology. I am currently working on the epidemiology of esophageal carncer, particularly that of esophageal adenocarcinoma.
I am also interested in the epidemiology of other types of cancers, such as nasopharyngeal carcinoma and thyroid cancer, as well as environmental health issues.
The Mysterious Male Predominance in Esophageal Adenocarcinoma
Esophageal adenocarcinoma (EAC) is characterized by a marked and enigmatic male predominance in incidence. Our recent analysis shows that the male-to-female ratio in EAC incidence is as high as 7.6 in Northern America and 6 in Europe. Such a striking sex difference does not seem to be explained by established risk factors, given that the prevalence of the etiological factors and the strengths of associations between these factors and EAC risk are similar between the sexes. Sex hormonal factors may play a role in the development of EAC; estrogenic exposures may prevent such development, while androgens might increase the risk of EAC. My research has been focused on disentangling this mystery of the male predominance in EAC and the role of sex hormonal exposures in the development of EAC, with different epidemiological approaches, i.e., descriptive, case-control, and cohort designs. Particularly, we are now establishing a nationwide population-based cohort consisting of users of various medications with sex hormonal effects. This study will allow us to examine the associations between these medications and cancer risks, particularly the risk of male-predominant cancers including EAC.
Precision Prevention of Esophageal Adenocarcinoma
Esophageal adenocarcinoma (EAC) is characterized by a poor prognosis with an overall 5-year survival below 15-20%, which is even worse in patients diagnosed at late stages. Upper endoscopy is increasingly utilized for detection of the premalignant condition of EAC, i.e., Barrett’s esophagus with dysplasia. However, a universal screening strategy, even in patients with reflux, is infeasible given the considerable costs and risk of complications, and the low incidence. Identifying a limited group of individuals at high absolute risk of EAC for endoscopic screening is a more feasible strategy. We have been developing, validating, and assessing risk prediction models for EAC based on information on a panel of readily identifiable risk factors, which could identify high-risk individuals who may benefit from tailored endoscopic screening or future prevention strategies.
I am currently the co-supervisor of a PhD student, Ms. Qiaoli Wang, in our research group. Her main supervisor is Prof. Jesper Lagergren, and her PhD project explores the etiology, prediction, and prevention of esophageal squamous cell carcinoma.
Study design in clinical research (KI PhD course 1794)
Academic honors, awards and prizes
Ihred Fond, Swedish Society of Medicine, 2016, 125 000 SEK (Principle Investigator)
Ruth and Richard Julin Foundation, 2016, 135 000 SEK (Principle Investigator)
Ihred Fond, Swedish Society of Medicine, 2016, 75 000 SEK (co - investigator)
China - Sweden Network Grant for Research Collaboration, Swedish Research Council, 2016 - 2017, 700 000 SEK (co - investigator)
Other Grants and Awards
Global Scholarship Programme for Research Excellence – CNOOC Grants and trained at Harvard School of Public Health in 2012, 30 000 HKD
Research Postgraduate Students’ Research/Conference Grant, The Jockey Club School of Public Health and Primary Care, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, 2009-2013, 40 000 HKD