Dr Maria Merce GARCIA

Associate Professor

  • BSc, MS, PhD
  • Paediatric surgery

Dr Merce Garcia Barcelo obtained her PhD in 1992 from the Autonomous University of Barcelona. From 1993 to 1995 she worked as a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Surrey (UK) and subsequently moved to Hong Kong. She joined HKU in 2001 and become an Associate Professor (2013). Her areas of interest include the study of the genetic and molecular basis of Hirschsprung disease (HSCR) and on other congenital disorders of the digestive tract including Anorectal Malformations (ARM) and Biliary Atresia (BA). She has successfully consolidated a solid and internationally acknowledged research group on the genetics of the above mentioned disorders and has been the first to provided genetic data on the Chinese population, thus, making the Department of Surgery and the University the major contributors to the scientific community working on congenital disorders of the gastrointestinal tract. In brief, her team have provided the first ever genetic evidence for the high incidence of HSCR in Asia, identified four new HSCR susceptibility genes and performed the world’s first genome-wide association study (GWAS) conducted in Chinese and in HSCR patients. Likewise, she and her colleagues identified the sole BA susceptibility gene ever reported, ADD3, and shown that the associated variants regulate the expression of that gene.

Research interests

  • Genetics of congenital diseases (conditions present at the time of birth)

Publications and achievements
email HKU Scholars Hub/ ORCID