Dr YAM Wai Ping, Judy

Dr Judy Yam

Associate Professor

  • BSc (Washington), MSc (HK), PhD (HK)
Research Area

Cancer Metastasis and Tumor Microenvironment in Liver Cancer

Yam Laboratory Website: www.jyamlab.com

Research Description

Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is a primary malignancy of liver and develops preponderantly in individuals with underlying chronic liver disease. HCC is an aggressive tumor with local invasion and extrahepatic metastasis as signatures in the advanced stage. Metastasis to specific organs is not a random process but results from the interplay between intrinsic properties of cancer cells and microenvironment of the distant organ. Extracellular vesicle (EV) shedding from tumor cells has emerged as an important channel for cell-cell communication in influencing the local tumor microenvironment and facilitating pre-metastatic niche formation in distant organ sites. They contain distinct components which depend on the cell type from which they are released and can subsequently be transferred to the recipient cells. EV content is regarded as a fingerprint of the releasing cells; it provides insightful information about the origin and functions of releasing cells. Circulating EV of cancer patients may therefore serve as promising biomarker for early detection and prognosis. We are interested to understand the molecular basis of EV-driven HCC metastasis by dissecting the functional role and signaling cascades of EV content. In clinical perspective, our work aims to identify promising EV content for the early diagnosis and novel therapeutic interventions for cancer patients. Using multidisciplinary approaches, our team endeavored to understand the mechanistic basis of HCC metastasis with translational impact leading to improved health, well-being and quality of life for cancer patients.


Research Interests
  • Functional role of tumor-derived extracellular vesicles in cancer metastasis
  • Role of extracellular vesicles in the formation of pre-metastatic niche
  • Signaling pathways underlying liver cancer metastasis driven by tumor-derived extracellular vesicles
  • Application of extracellular vesicles as a therapeutic delivery vehicle


Outstanding Young Researcher Award (2008-2009), The University of Hong Kong

Research Grants
  • Research Grants Council - General Research Fund (2021, 2020, 2019, 2018, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2010, 2007, 2006)
  • Food and Health Bureau - Health and Medical Research Fund (2014, 2013)
  • ITC - Innovative and Technology Support Programme Seed Projects (2021)
  • ITC - Research Talent Hub (2021)
  • National Natural Science Foundation of China - General Program (2020, 2018)
  • China National Postdoctoral Council - Hong Kong Scholars Program (2020)
  • State Key Laboratory of Liver Research, The University of Hong Kong

Team Members
  • Mao Xiaowen (Research Assistant Professor)
  • Tey Sze Keong (Postdoctoral Fellow)
  • Tony Ng (Postdoctoral Fellow)
  • Xu Yi (Postdoctoral Fellow)
  • Samuel Wong (PhD Student)
  • Chen Zhixian (PhD Student)
  • Cherlie Yeung (MPhil Student)
  • Yao Yue (Research Assistant)
  • Chen Li (Research Assistant)
  • Belle Lai (Research Assistant

Achievements of Team Members

Zhixian Chen, PhD student (2021 - present)

  • University Postgraduate Fellowship, 2021

Samuel Wong, PhD student (2021 - present)

  • Foreign Investigator Award, The Liver Week, 2021

Cherlie Yeung, MPhil student (2020 - present)

  • Best Presentation Award, Departmental RPG Retreat, Department of Pathology, 2021
  • Poster Presentation Award, Hong Kong Inter-University Symposium in Biomedical Sciences, 2021
  • Foreign Investigator Award, The Liver Week, 2021
  • Poster Presentation Award, RPG Symposium, Faculty of Medicine, 2020
  • SKLLR RPG Scholarship Supporting Scheme, 2020

Susan Mao, PDF (2014 - 2021)

  • Health and Medical Research Fund 2018
  • Health and Medical Research Fund 2016

Angel Ma, PhD student (2016 - 2020)

  • Best Poster Presentation Award, RPG Symposium, Faculty of Medicine, 2018
  • SKLLR RPG Scholarship Supporting Scheme, 2016
  • Blue Ocean Basic Medical Research Fund, 2016

Bonnie Liu, PhD student (2016 - 2020)

  • University Postgraduate Fellowship, 2016

Sze Keong Tey, PDF (2015 - present), PhD student (2011 - 2015)

  • Travel Award, The Liver Week, 2017
  • Travel Award, The Liver Week, 2016
  • Graduate Student Travel Scholarship, Tigris Educational Fund, 2015
  • Best Presentation Award, RPG Symposium, Faculty of Medicine, 2014
  • Best Presentation Award, RPG Retreat, Department of Pathology, 2013

Edith Tse, PhD student (2008 - 2011)

  • Best Presentation Award, 8th RPG Retreat, Department of Pathology, 2010
  • Best Presentation Award, 9th RPG Retreat, Department of Pathology, 2010
  • YS and Christabel Lung Postgraduate Scholarship, 2008-2009
  • Young Investigator Award, Hong Kong International Cancer Congress, 2008

Lo Kong Chan, PhD student (2004 - 2008)

  • Best Presentation Award, RPG Retreat, Department of Pathology, 2008
  • Outstanding Oral Presentation Award (Cancer session), RPG Symposium, Faculty of Medicine, 2007

Selected Publications

Researcher Profile on HKU Scholars Hub

  • Tey SK, Lam H, Wong SWK, Zhao H, To KKW*, Yam JWP*. ACE2-enriched extracellular vesicles enhance infectivity of live SARS-CoV-2 virus in an endocytosis-dependent manner. Journal of Extracellular Vesicles (Under revision) *Co-corresponding author
  • Tey SK#, Wong SWK#, Chan JYT, Mao XW, Ng TH, Yeung CLS, Leung Z, Fung HL, Tang AHN, Wong DKH, Mak LY, Yuen MF, Sin CF, Ng IOL, Ma SKY, Lee TKW, Cao PH, Zhong K, Gao Y, Yun JP, Yam JWP*. Patient pIgR-enriched extracellular vesicles drive cancer stemness, tumorigenesis and metastasis in hepatocellular carcinoma. Journal of Hepatology (Under revision) #Co-first author
  • Liu BHM, Tey SK, Mao XW, Ma APY, Yeung CLS, Wong SWK, Ng TH, Xu Y, Yao Y, Fung EYM, Tan KV, Khong PL, Ho DWH, Ng IOL, Tang AHN, Cai SH, Yun JP, Yam JWP*. TPI1-reduced extracellular vesicles mediated by Rab20 downregulation promotes aerobic glycolysis to drive hepatocarcinogenesis. Journal of Extracellular Vesicles 2021, 10:e12135. [IF: 25.841]
  • Ma APY, Yeung CLS, Tey SK, Mao XW, Wong SWK, Hg, TH, Ko FCF, Kwong EML, Tang AHN, Ng IOL, Cai SH, Yun JP, Yam JWP*. Suppression of ACADM-mediated fatty acid oxidation promotes hepatocellular carcinoma via aberrant Cav1/SREBP-1 signaling. Cancer Research 2021, 81:3679-3692. [IF: 12.701]
  • Mao XW#, Zhou LY#, Tey SK, Ma APY, Yeung CLS, Ng TH, Wong SWK, Liu BHM, Fung EYM, Patz EF Jr, Cao PH, Gao Y, Yam JWP*. Tumor extracellular vesicle-derived Complement Factor H promotes tumorigenesis and metastasis by inhibiting complement-dependent cytotoxicity of tumor cells. Journal of Extracellular Vesicles 2020, 10(1):e12031. [IF: 25.841] #Co-first authors
  • Mao XW#, Tey SK#, Yeung CLS, Kwong EML, Fung YMF, Chung CYS, Mak LY, Wong DKH, Yuen MF, Ho JCM, Pang H, Wong MP, Leung CON, Lee TKW, Ma V, Cho WCS, Cao PH, Xu X, Gao Y, Yam JWP*. Nidogen 1-enriched extracellular vesicles facilitate extrahepatic metastasis of liver cancer by activating pulmonary fibroblasts to secrete tumor necrosis factor receptor 1. Advanced Science 2020, 7:2002157. [IF: 16.806] #Co-first authors
  • Leung Z, Ko FCF, Tey SK, Kwong EML, Mao XW, Liu BMH, Ma APY, Fung YMF, Che CM, Wong DKH, Lai CL, Ng IOL, Yam JWP*. Galectin-1 promotes hepatocellular carcinoma and the combined therapeutic effect of OTX008 galectin-1 inhibitor and sorafenib in tumor cells. Journal of Experimental & Clinical Cancer Research 2019, 38:423. [IF: 11.161]
  • Mao XW, Tey SK, Ko FCF, Kwong EML, Y Gao, Ng IOL, ST Cheung, XY Guan, Yam JWP*. C-terminal truncated HBx protein activates caveolin-1/LRP6/beta-catenin/FRMD5 axis in promoting hepatocarcinogenesis. Cancer Letters 2019, 444:60-69. [IF: 8.679]
  • Tey SK, Tse EYT, Mao XW, Ko ECF, AST Wong, Lo RCL, Ng IOL, Yam JWP*. Nuclear Met promotes hepatocellular carcinoma tumorigenesis and metastasis by upregulation of TAK1 and activation of NF-κB pathway. Cancer Letters 2017, 411:150-161. [IF: 8.679]
  • Mao XW, Wong SYS, Tse EYT, Ko FCF, Tey SK, Yeung YS, Man K, Lo RCL, Ng IOL, Yam JWP*. Mechanisms through which hypoxia-induced caveolin-1 drives tumorigenesis and metastasis in hepatocellular carcinoma. Cancer Research 2016, 76:7242-7253. [IF: 12.701]
  • Ko FCF and Yam JWP*. Regulation of Deleted in Liver Cancer 1 tumor suppressor by protein-protein interactions and phosphorylation. International Journal of Cancer 2014, 135:264-269. [IF: 7.396]
  • Ko FCF, Chan LK, Sze KMF, Yeung YS, Tse EYT, Lu P, Yu MH, Ng IOL, Yam JWP*. Induced dimerization of DLC1 by PKA contributes to the tumorigenesis and metastasis inhibitory activities of DLC1 via enhanced RhoGAP activity. Nature Communications 2013, 4:1618. [IF: 14.919] [selected as featured article in NPG journals in cancer]
  • Chen L, Liu C, Ko FCF, Xu N, Ng IOL, Yam JWP*, Zhu G*. Solution structure of the PTB domain of human Tensin2 in complex with deleted in liver cancer 1 (DLC1) peptide reveals a novel peptide binding mode. Journal of Biological Chemistry 2012, 287:26104-26114. [IF: 5.157] *Co-corresponding author
  • Tse EYT, Ko FCF, Tung EKK, Chan LK, Lee TKW, Ngan ESW, Man K, Wong AST, Ng IOL, Yam JWP*. Caveolin-1 is overexpressed and associated with hepatocellular carcinoma tumorigenesis and metastasis. Journal of Pathology 2021, 226:645-653. [IF: 7.996]
  • Ko FCF, Chan LK, Tung EKK, Lowe SW, Ng IOL, Yam JWP*. Akt phosphorylation of Deleted in Liver Cancer 1 deregulates its suppression of liver cancer tumorigenesis and metastasis. Gastroenterology 2010, 139(4):1397-1407. [IF: 22.682] [With editorial comments: Wuestefeld T, Zender L. DLC1 and liver cancer: the Akt connection. Gastroenterology 2010, 139(4): 1093-1096]
  • Chan DW, Chan CY, Yam JWP, Ching YP, Ng IOL. Prickle-1 negatively regulates wnt/beta-catenin pathway by promoting dishevelled ubiquitination/degradation in liver cancer. Gastroenterology 2006, 131:1218-1227. [IF: 22.682]
  • Yam JWP, Ko FCF, Chan CY, Yau TO, Tung EKK, Leung THY, Jin DY, Ng IOL. Tensin2 variant 3 is associated with aggressive tumor behavior in human hepatocellular carcinoma. Hepatology 2006, 44:881-890. [IF: 17.425]
  • Yam JWP, Ko FCF, Chan CY, Jin DY, Ng IOL. Interaction of DLC1-tensin2 complex with caveolin-1 and implications in tumor suppression. Cancer Research 2006, 66:8367-8372. [IF: 12.701]
  • Leung THY, Ching YP, Yam JWP, Wong CM, Yau TO, Jin DY, Ng IOL. Deleted in liver cancer 2, DLC2, suppresses cell transformation via inhibition of RhoA activity. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 2005, 102:15207-15212. [IF: 11.205]
  • Wong CM#, Yam JWP#, Ching YP, Yau TO, Leung HY, Jin DY, Ng IOL. Rho GTPase activating protein DLC1 (deleted in liver cancer 1) suppresses cell proliferation and invasion in hepatocellular carcinoma. Cancer Research 2005, 65:8861-8868. [IF: 12.701] #Co-first author
  • Yam JWP, Jin DY, So CW, Chan LC. Identification and characterization of EBP, a novel EEN binding protein that inhibits ras signaling and is recruited into the nucleus by the MLL-EEN fusion protein. Blood 2004, 103:1445-1453. [IF: 22.113]
  • Yam JWP, Chan KW, Hsiao WLW. Transcriptional regulation of rat frizzled related protein gene promoter by CREB. Oncogene 2003, 22:3901-3910. [IF: 9.867]
  • Yam JWP, Chan KW, Hsiao WLW. Suppression of the tumorigenicity of mutant p53-transformed rat embryo fibroblasts through expression of a newly cloned rat nonmuscle myosin heavy chain-B. Oncogene 2001, 20:58-68. [IF: 9.867]