Cancer Biology

Cancer Biology Programme


The Department of Anatomy has a vibrant Cancer Biology Research Programme, which seeks to  advance basic understanding of carcinogenesis and cancer progression, with the goal of translating  basic science discoveries into the clinics. The Programme focuses on three main themes:

  • A) Cancer Biomarker Discovery and Molecular Therapeutic Targets. Investigating the functional roles  of biological markers that include heparan and chondroitin sulphate proteoglycans, Y-Box Binding Protein-1 and Peroxiredoxin III amongst others, and evaluation of their utility as cancer biomarkers and potential therapeutic targets.
  • B)  RNA Editing and Cancer Development. Evaluating the alterations (especially. RNA editing and alternative splicing) in the cancer transcriptome and their implications in cancer initiation and progression. Based on the annotation of novel genes, exons, RNAs as well as the quantification of expression of transcripts by next-generation sequencing, the aim is to decipher the precise mechanisms by which these events contribute to cancer development.
  • C)  Mechanisms of Tumorigenesis. Elucidating signaling pathways which mediate oncogenesis, in particular the JAK/Stat signal transduction pathway. There remain substantial gaps in understanding how the JAK/Stat cascade is regulated and what downstream effectors of the signaling pathway are involved in these processes.

The researchers use in vitro and in vivo model systems as well as tissues from cancer patients for their work. The research is centred on common cancers in Singapore such as breast cancer, hepatocellular carcinoma, gastric cancer and  prostate cancer. They also adopt a host of experimental and interdisciplinary approaches  ranging from molecular genetics, genomics, cell and molecular biology, biochemistry, quantitative proteomics, computational biology and different imaging modalities for their research.

There is active collaboration with the Cancer Science Institute, Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology, Temasek Life Sciences Laboratories, National University Hospital, Singapore General Hospital and Nanyang Technological University, as well as overseas collaborative networks with Hong Kong University, RIKEN Institute (Japan), Imperial College (London), Münster University Hospital (Germany), New York University, Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center and Baylor University Medical Center.