Precision cancer medicine relies on understanding the individual workings of each cancer and person in order to develop tailored therapies. The advent of next-generation sequencing has greatly accelerated progress towards precision medicine.
However, DNA sequencing studies have revealed that only 2% of the genome is coding. We are interested in the mechanisms by which the non-coding “dark matter” of the human genome could be functional.
One mechanism is through long-range chromatin interactions with target genes. Chromatin interactions are regions of the genome that are far apart in the linear genome sequence but come together in close 3-dimensional spatial proximity, may constitute common mechanisms for gene regulation. This includes local chromatin interactions as well as Topologically-Associated Domains (TADs).
Another mechanism is through long non-coding RNAs in the genome. These can occur at intergenic regions, and can function through a variety of mechanisms to result in disease.
Our lab’s main hypothesis is that epigenetic factors, transcription factors, and non-coding RNA are mutated in cancer, leading to dysregulation of chromatin interactions and consequent dysregulated mRNA and non-coding RNA. This suggests that therapies targeting epigenomics and RNA may have the potential to treat cancer.
We study this hypothesis within the system of cancer. Our main focus is acute myeloid leukemia as compared with normal haematopoiesis. In addition, we also have projects on breast cancer and gastric cancer.
The lab includes both wet lab and dry lab research. To facilitate the work of the lab as well of that of the RNA Biology Center at the Cancer Science Institute, the lab includes an RNA Epigenomics Core, which processes clinical samples to prepare DNA, RNA and epigenomics libraries for next-generation sequencing in order to better understand cancer and facilitate the development of precision medicine.
We thank the National Research Foundation of Singapore and the Ministry of Education for grant support. We are continuously looking for outstanding postdocs and potential PhD students who are looking for a dynamic research environment. For all requests, please contact Melissa directly.