Dr Hang Wu


I have been at the School of Food Science and Nutrition, Faculty of Environment as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow since November 2023. I obtained my PhD at School of Medicine, University of Leeds in August 2023, and have 4 years of experience in epidemiology studies and investigating the molecular mechanisms of the health effects of mycotoxin exposure.

My PhD dissertation focuses on investigating the impacts of aflatoxin exposure on human health, which particularly investigating the exposure levels in acutely ill children in Africa and South Asia, and establishing the relationship of aflatoxin exposure to child growth and child mortality. I also investigate the metabolomic changes in those children to find the affected metabolites and enriched pathways affected by aflatoxin exposure.  Additionally, my PhD dissertation also focuses on investigating the molecular mechanisms, including cytotoxicity, gene expression and DNA methylation, of aflatoxin and fumonisin health effects in vitro. 

I am currently working on a WCRF funded project, “Predicting responses to chemotherapy in breast cancer treatment” in Dr Thorne’s research group. Pevious research in the research group suggests that cholesterol metabolism can lead to chemotherapy alteration in some triple negative breast cancer (TNBC) patients. Therefore, the current project aims to discover nutrients that alter chemotherapy of TNBC, and to investigate the associations between responsive genes affected by the chemoresistance altering nutrients and chemoresistance biomarkers. In addition, a statistical chemoresponse Prediction Model using nutrient measures and clinical data will be developed, that can be used in clinical to select the best treatment for individual patients. 

Research interests

Survival of breast cancer patients has improved vastly in the last few decades, but this is not the case for all subtypes of breast cancer. Survival is also lower if a patient is subject to chemoresistance. When chemotherapy drugs fail, the patient needs to change their treatments, which will cause a loss of their valuable time to fight aganist the cancer. It is unclear why the responses to chemotherapy are different among breast cancer patients, but previous evidence in Dr Thorne’s research group indicates that nutrient metabolism can cause chemotherapy alteration. For example, cholesterol metabolism can make the tumour more resistant to chemotherapy. Even before treatments, cholesterol and other nutrients are able to cause changes in the tumour when the cancer is trying to evade the effects of chemptherapy drugs.

Therefore, in the project, we aim to identify chemotherapy pathways altered by nutrients in breast cancer to find the intersection between nutrient metabolism and chemoresistance biomarkers in vitro. The paired chemoresistance altering nutrient and chemoresistance biomarker will be validate (or reject) in our reterospective preclinical and clinical tissue archives. In addition, we aim to develop a statistic chemoresistance Prediction Model tool using nutrient measures and clinical data, which can be used in clinical to select the best treatment for individual patients. Another aim of the project is to investigate whether adherence to the recommendations of WCRF cancer prevention is associated with better outcomes. 

<h4>Research projects</h4> <p>Any research projects I'm currently working on will be listed below. Our list of all <a href="https://environment.leeds.ac.uk/dir/research-projects">research projects</a> allows you to view and search the full list of projects in the faculty.</p>


  • PhD, School of Medicine, University of Leeds, 2019-2023
  • Master, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences

Professional memberships

  • UK Environmental Mutagen Society