Academic Staff

Assistant Professor
CHEN Leilei, Polly

(PhD, HK)

Tel: +65 6601 2348

Research Interests

The main focus of Dr Chen Leilei’s group is to study the transcriptome instability of human cancers, particularly hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), the major malignancy of the liver and the third leading cause of cancer-related deaths globally. While the epidemiological risk factors for HCC are well known, the molecular mechanisms underlying development of liver cancer are not well characterized. It is especially important to understand the potentially reversible epigenetic mechanisms, since these changes are novel candidates for therapeutic targeting. One type of epigenetic change is RNA editing, defined as an alteration of RNA sequences. Using integrative genomic approaches, her group recently highlighted a link between transcriptome instabilities in the form of excessive or defective RNA editing activity and cancer development. She currently places focus on the regulators of A-to-I RNA editing and the crosstalk between RNA editing and alternative splicing-the two main processes contributing to transcriptome diversity. This work will provide important insights into the regulation of tumorigenesis by transcriptome instability, in turn translating these findings into diagnoses or even treatment.

Selected Publications
  • Hong HQ, Lin JS, Chen L. Regulatory factors governing Adenosine-to-Inosine (A-to-I) RNA editing. Biosci Rep. 2015 Feb 9. (Epub ahead of print)
  • Qin YR, Qiao JJ, Chan TH, Zhu YH, Li FF, Liu HB, Fei J, Li Y, Guan XY, Chen L. Adenosine-to-inosine RNA editing mediated by ADARs in Esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC). Cancer Res. 2014 74(3):840-851.
  • Chan TH, Lin CH, Qi L, Fei J, Li Y, Yong KJ, Liu M, Song Y, Chow RK, Ng VH, Yuan YF, Tenen DG, Guan XY, Chen L. A disrupted RNA editing balance mediated by ADARs (Adenosine DeAminases that act on RNA) in human hepatocellular carcinoma. Gut. 2014, 63(5):832-43.
  • Qi LH, Chan HM, Tenen DG, Chen L. RNA editome imbalance in hepatocellular carcinoma. Cancer Res, 2014,74(5):1301-1306.
  • Qiao JJ, Chan TH, Qin YR, Chen L. ADAR1: a promising new biomarker for Esophageal Squamous Cell Carcinoma. Expert Rev Anticancer Ther, 2014, 14(8):865-868.
  • Chen L, Li Y, Lin C, Chan TH, Chow RK, Song Y, Liu M, Yuan YF, Fu L, Kong KL, Qi L, Li Y, Zhang N, Tong AH, Kwong DL, Man K, Lo CM, Lok S, Tenen DG, Guan XY. Recoding RNA editing of AZIN1 predisposes to hepatocellular carcinoma. Nature Med, 2013, 19(2):209-16.
  • Chen L, Fan H, Zhang F, Quan Y, Su X, Qiu X, Zhao Z, Kong KL, Dong S, Song Y, Chan TH, Guan XY. MTSS1, a novel target of DNA methyltransferase 3B, functions as a tumor suppressor in hepatocellular carcinoma. Oncogene. 2012, 31(18):2298-308.
  • Chen L, Yuan YF, Li Y, Chan TH, Zheng BJ, Huang J, Guan XY. Clinical significance of CHD1L in hepatocellular carcinoma and therapeutic potentials of virus-mediated CHD1L depletion. Gut. 2011, 60(4):534-43.
  • Chen L, Chan TH, Yuan YF, Guan XY et al. CHD1L promotes hepatocellular carcinoma progression and metastasis in mice and is associated with these processes in human patients. J Clin Invest. 2010, 120(4):1178-91.
  • Chen L, Hu L, Chan TH, Guan XY et al. Chromodomain helicase/adenosine triphosphatase DNA binding protein 1-like (CHD1l) gene suppresses the nucleus-to-mitochondria translocation of nur77 to sustain hepatocellular carcinoma cell survival. Hepatology. 2009, 50(1):122-9.
Honours & Awards
  • President Assistant Professorship, National University of Singapore (2015)
  • Science and Technology Award of Higher Education of China (Second Class), Ministry of Education, China (2014)
  • NUS Young Scientist Award, National University of Singapore (2014)
  • Finalist in 2014 National Research Fellowship (NRF), Prime Minister’s Office, Singapore (2014)
  • Li Ka Shing Prize 2009/2010, Hong Kong (2010)
Professional Organizations
  • Editorial Board member, Journal of Human Transcriptome (2013 - present)
  • Research Fellow in Clinical Oncology, the University of Hong Kong (Laboratory of Prof. Xin-Yuan Guan) (2010 - 2012)
  • Associate Member, American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) (2009 - present)
  • Clinician, Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology of Nanjing Drum Tower Hospital, China (2005 - 2006)