Yasine Malki 馬建生

  • Butterfield Croucher Studentship in 2022 at Chinese University of Hong Kong

About Yasine's work

Yasine Malki’s intended PhD project revolves around the area of Chemical Pathology, diagnostics and neurodegeneration. His project aims to evaluate the potential of 5-hydroxymethylcytosine (5hmC) signatures in circulating cell-free DNA (cfDNA), and its potential to monitor the onset of neurodegenerative cell loss.

5-hydroxymethylcytosine (5hmC) is a DNA epigenetic modification that is highly enriched in tissues of the central nervous system. The link between 5hmC patterns in cell-free DNA and neurodegenerative loss of tissues remains elusive. This project relies on the principle that dying cells will release short fragments of its DNA, as well as its epigenetic markers, into the blood circulation. It can be hypothesized that neuronal death will release its DNA, which is enriched in 5hmC and contains a characteristic distribution of 5hmC density, to the total pool of cell-free DNA in blood. Yasine aims to study the cell-free DNA 5hmC landscape in mouse models and patient samples with the immediate onset of brain tissue loss. The identification of critical 5hmC markers which can distinguish patients suffering from neurodegeneration and healthy controls with a high degree of accuracy could provide substantial diagnostic and prognostic value.


Yasine Malki is an incoming PhD student at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. He earned his BSc in Biochemistry and Cell Biology at The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST), and has studied and done research internships at various institutes around the world, including Cornell University, Sussex University and The Shanghai Jiao Tong University. His research at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology and The University of Hong Kong (HKU) mainly focused on neurodegenerative diseases, in particular the pathogenesis of Parkinson’s Disease, where he studied mitochondrial and signaling impairments in familial Parkinson’s Disease, as well as translational approaches to Parkinson’s Disease treatment. He has previously been awarded the HKUST Academic Achievement Medal, the Fung Scholarship, and was a two time awardee of both the DH Chen Foundation Life Science Scholarship and the HKUST Academic Excellence Award.