Investigating the impact of galectin-ligand interaction on cancer cell resistance to chemotherapeutic treatment


Galectins are multifunctional carbohydrate-binding proteins that are expressed by many types of human cells. Changes of galectin expression commonly occur in cancer (e.g. colon, breast, lung, prostate, pancreatic cancer and melanoma, etc). It is increasingly known that change of galectin expression, such as increased expression of galectin-3, plays an important role in the regulation of cancer progression and metastasis via multiple mechanisms. Development of galectin-targeted therapeutic agents is a now a strategy currently pursued by a number of biotech companies for cancer treatment.

This PhD project aims to investigate the role and action of galectins in tumour cell resistance to chemotherapeutic treatment. The project will employ various biological techniques to characterize the interaction of galectins, in particular galectin-3, with cell surface binding ligands at cellular and molecular levels and to determine the consequence of this interaction on tumour cell resistance to therapeutic agents. The project will also investigate the effectiveness of novel galectin inhibitors on reduction/presentation of galectin-mediated drug resistance. This will help to gain insight into the mechanisms of galectin-mediated actions in cancer pathogenesis and aid development of galectin-targeted novel therapeutic agents for the treatment of cancer and other galectin-associated diseases such as fibrosis and heart failure. 

Applicants with a good degree in any areas of medical and biological sciences are welcome to apply. Successful candidate will be provided with excellent training opportunities in cancer biology and glycobiology in this project. You will join a dynamic research team and work in a multi-disciplinary environment. You will also be offered opportunities to get training of transferable skills by enrolling various training programmes run by the University of Liverpool.

Applications will be reviewed continuously until a suitable candidate is appointed.


Open to students worldwide

Funding information

Self-funded project

This project is open to candidates who have already secured funding (scholarship, or self-funded) for his/her PhD study. Assistance will be given to those who are applying to international funding schemes.

If you have the right qualifications, aptitude and desire, and have secured funding for your PhD study, either from your government or other sources, you are warmly welcome to apply.

Applicants are also encouraged to contact Professor Lu-Gang Yu directly ( to discuss their application and the project. 

Details of costs to study at University of Liverpool can be found on the University website:



  1. Girotti et al, Sweetening the hallmarks of cancer: Galectins as multifunctional mediators of tumour progression. J Exp Med, 2020, 217:e20182041
  2. Marino et al, Targeting galectin-driven regulatory circuits in cancer and fibrosis. Nature Reviews Drug Discovery, 2023, 22:295-316
  3. Johannes et al, Galectins at a glance.  J Cell Sci, 2018, 131: 9 jcs208884