Visiting address
Phone: +852 34429710

Author IDs

Willing to take PhD students: yes


Dr Maria (Masha) Babak obtained her M.Sc. in chemistry from Higher Chemical College of the Russian Academy of Sciences (2010) in Moscow, where she worked on transition metal organometallic chemistry, mentored by Prof. Dmitry S. Perekalin. She completed her Ph.D in bioinorganic chemistry at the University of Vienna (2014), mentored by Prof. Bernhard K. Keppler and Prof. Christian G. Hartinger. In 2015-2020 Dr Babak worked as a postdoctoral research fellow at National University of Singapore, mentored by Prof. Wee Han Ang, where she developed a true passion for drug discovery and drug target identification. In 2019 Dr Babak joined the High Impact Cancer Research Program at Harvard Medical School in Boston. In November 2020, she was appointed as an assistant professor at City University of Hong Kong.

Dr Babak’s research interests lie at the interface of chemistry, biology and medicine and focus on the discovery and preclinical development of anticancer drugs for resistant and aggressive cancers with limited treatment options, e.g. brain metastases. The anticancer activity of small molecules, nanoparticles or bioactive materials is tested in cancer cell lines and their in vivo efficacy is verified in various animal models of primary tumours and metastases. Dr. Babak’s research group uses proteomic and transcriptomic profiling to unravel the mechanism of action of the drug candidates and performs target validation by functional tests and histology. The lead drug candidates are subsequently tested in patient-derived organoids or xenografts. 

Research Interests/Areas

  • Drug discovery
  • Medicinal chemistry
  • In vitro and in vivo target identification
  • Proteomics
  • Preclinical development