Chong Zhi Xiong (Rex)


I am currently a first-year PhD student. I had originally started my degree in Food Science with Nutrition in Malaysia and decided to transfer to the U.K. for my second and final year. I had recently completed my BSc in Food Science and Nutrition at the University of Leeds and decided to continue furthering my studies by doing a PhD.

Research interests

Breast cancer is the most common cancer in the U.K., accounting for 15% of all new cancer incidences. This is especially relevant for females and it accounts for up to 31% of all new female cancer cases. Despite the morbidity of these incidences, recommendations such as reduced consumption of red meat, processed food and increased intake in fruits and vegetables are given out to help counter and prevent the incidence of new cancer cases. It has been well established that factors such as LDL cholesterol levels, genes, and dietary components play a role in breast cancer progression. LDL cholesterol is an important risk factor which leads to the activation of EGFR signalling, while O3FA are known to be able to reduce its signalling (Munir, et. al., 2018). Phytosterols have also shown to possess the ability to render cholesterol absorption to be inefficient, thus lowering cholesterol levels (Sanclemente, et. al., 2012). However, most studies only investigate the effects of individual compounds and rarely testing the presence of a synergistic effect of two different compounds. By using Mendelian Randomisation, it will be possible to divide subjects into subgroups based on their predisposed genomic sequence, eliminate other confounding factors and allow a better understanding of their exposure towards LDL cholesterol. Subsequently, the test can be conducted on cell lines with the application of genome editing software, CRISPR, to further understand the biology of cancer cells under the presence of O3FA, phytosterol and cholesterol.


  • BSc in Food Scienc and Nutrition, University of Leeds