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Research Faculty


Dr Wen DENG is currently a Research Assistant Professor at School of Nursing, The University of Hong Kong (HKU). He is also an Honorary Assistant Professor at School of Biomedical Sciences, HKU. He obtained his B.Sc. in Sichuan University and Ph.D. in HKU. His early career on radiation safety in Sichuan Center for Disease Control and Prevention (previously Sichuan Provincial Institute of Occupational Health, where he was promoted to Associate Professor) inspired him to be interested in radiation biology and DNA damage repair. As a World Health Organization (WHO) Scholar (nominated by Ministry of Health of the People's Republic of China), he carried out research on radiation biology at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, University of California, USA, from 1997 until 2000. He was the first to develop the technique of combined telomere quantitative fluorescence in situ hybridization (Q-FISH) and whole-chromosome painting in human cells. During his Ph.D. study in cancer biology, he was the first to further develop the technique of combined telomere Q-FISH and 24-colour spectral karyotyping (SKY) in human cells. This technique has important applications in aging and cancer research. He won Outstanding Postgraduate Student Award in HKU. He started his new career on cancer and aging in 2005 in HKU. He won Faculty Outstanding Research Output Award in HKU in 2006. He has published over 50 articles in peer-reviewed international journals and 20 Chinese articles in peer-reviewed Chinese national journals.


His current research interests include the roles and mechanisms of psychological stress in cellular aging and cancer (focusing on telomere shortening, oxidative stress, inflammation, and stress hormones), cancer risk factors (focusing on short telomere profiles, oncological virus infection, and psychological stress), and mechanisms of genomic instability in cancer and immortalized cells. These areas of research aim to provide insights into cancer and aging intervention or prevention.

Funding Scheme Project Title Approved Amount (HK$)
RGC General Research Fund (GRF) Deciphering multiple mechanisms underlying the retention of Epstein-Barr viruses in nasopharyngeal carcinoma cells 1,350,602
RGC General Research Fund (GRF) Role of IL-6/IL-6Rα signaling activation in supporting persistent EBV infection in premalignant nasopharyngeal epithelial cells 864,408
RGC General Research Fund (GRF) A novel function of IL-6/IL-6Rα signaling activation in nasopharyngeal epithelial cells: facilitation of cellular immortalization 998,490
Health and Medical Research Fund Role of Bmi-1 in the persistence of Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) in nasopharyngeal epithelial cells 834,704
  1. Hang S, Tiwari AF, Ngan HYS, Yip YL, Cheung ALM, Tsao SW and Deng W*. Extremely stringent activation of p16INK4a prevents immortalization of uterine cervical epithelial cells without human papillomavirus oncogene expression. Oncotarget. 2016; 7(29):45656-45670 (5-Year Impact Factor: 5.415). 
  2. Deng W, Cheung ST, Tsao SW, Wang XM, Tiwari AF. Telomerase activity and its association with psychological stress, mental disorders, lifestyle factors and interventions: A systematic review. Psychoneuroendocrinology. 2016; 64:150-6 (5-Year Impact Factor: 5.183).
  3. Deng W, Zhou Y, Tiwari AF, Su H, Yang J, Zhu D, Lau VM, Hau PM, Yip YL, Cheung AL, Guan XY, Tsao SW. p21/Cyclin E pathway modulates anticlastogenic function of Bmi-1 in cancer cells. International Journal of Cancer. 2015; 136(6):1361-70 (5-Year Impact Factor: 5.624).
  4. Tsang CM, Yip YL, Lo KW, Deng W , To KF , Hau PM, Lau MY, Takada K, Lui VWY, Lung ML, Chen HL , Zeng MS, Middeldorp JM ,Cheung ALM, Tsao SW. Cyclin D1 overexpression supports stable EBV infection in nasopharyngeal epithelial cells. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 2012; 109(50):E3473-82 (5-Year Impact Factor: 10.285).
  5. Deng W, Tsao SW, Guan XY, and Cheung ALM. Pericentromeric regions are refractory to prompt repair after replication stress-induced breakage in HPV16 E6E7-expressing epithelial cells. PLoS One. 2012; 7(10):e48576 (5-Year Impact Factor: 3.535).
  6. Deng W, Pang PS, Tsang CM, Hau PM, Yip YL, Cheung ALM , Tsao SW. Epstein-Barr Virus-Encoded Latent Membrane Protein 1 Impairs G2 Checkpoint in Human Nasopharyngeal Epithelial Cells through Defective Chk1 Activation. PLoS One. 2012; 7(6):e39095 (5-Year Impact Factor: 3.535).
  7. Deng W, Tsao SW, Guan XY, Cheung ALM. Impact of G2 checkpoint defect on centromeric instability. Oncogene. 2011: 30, 1281–1289 (5-Year Impact Factor: 7.401).
  8. Deng W, Tsao SW, Kwok YK, Wong E, Huang XR, Liu S, Tsang CM, Ngan HYS, Cheung ANY, Lan HY, Guan XY, Cheung ALM. Transforming growth factor beta-1 promotes chromosomal instability in human Papillomavirus 16 E6E7-infected cervical epithelial cells. Cancer Research. 2008; 68:7200-09 (5-Year Impact Factor: 9.241).
  9. Liu B, Wang J, Chan KM, Tjia WM, Deng W, Guan X, Huang JD, Li KM, Chau PY, Chen DJ, Pei D, Pendas AM, Cadiñanos J, López-Otín C, Tse HF, Hutchison C, Chen J, Cao Y, Cheah KS, Tryggvason K, Zhou Z. Genomic instability in laminopathy-based premature aging. Nature Medicine. 2005; 11:780-5 (5-Year Impact Factor: 28.439).
  10. Deng W, Tsao SW, Guan XY, Lucas JN, Si HX, Leung CS, Mak P, Wang LD, Cheung AL. Distinct profiles of critically short telomeres are a key determinant of different chromosome aberrations in immortalized human cells: whole-genome evidence from multiple cell lines. Oncogene. 2004; 23:9090-101 (5-Year Impact Factor: 7.401).


  • 2006: Outstanding Research Output Award, The University of Hong Kong.
  • 2006: Outstanding Research Postgraduate Student Award, The University of Hong Kong.
  • 2005-2008: Postdoctoral Fellowship, The University of Hong Kong.
  • 2004: Outstanding Presentation at the Annual Postgraduate Seminars, Department of Anatomy, Faculty of Medicine, The University of Hong Kong.
  • 2002: Outstanding Presentation at Research Postgraduate Symposium, Faculty of Medicine, The University of Hong Kong.
  • 1997-1999: World Health Organization Fellowship. World Health Organization, Geneva, Switzerland.