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Prof Sabapathy Kanaga

Prof Sabapathy Kanaga

Ph.D. in Cellular & Molecular Immunology, Bachelor of Science with Honours, FRCPath. Asian International Executive Programme (AIEP)

National Cancer Centre Singapore

Academic Appointments

  • Head and Principal Investigator
  • Director, Planning & Strategy
  • Professor and Deputy Program Director
  • Research Director


​Kanaga Sabapathy obtained his B.Sc (Hons) degree in Zoology from the National University of Singapore (NUS), and then his Ph.D. in Cellular & Molecular Immunology from the Institute for Molecular & Cellular Biology (IMCB), Singapore, in 1995. His post-doctoral work was conducted at the Institute of Molecular Pathology in Vienna, studying the c-Jun-N-terminal kinase stress signaling pathway, using genetically-engineered mice.  He moved to the National Cancer Centre Singapore (NCCS) in late 1999 as the Principal Investigator of the Laboratory of Molecular Carcinogenesis, and since 2013, is the overall Head of the Division of Cellular & Molecular Research.  He is also the Research Director of the Academic Clinical Program in Oncology at SingHealth-Duke-NUS.  Dr Sabapathy is a Professor and Deputy Programme Director of the Cancer and Stem Cell Biology Program at Duke-NUS Medical School; a joint Professor with the Department of Biochemistry at NUS and a joint Research Director at the IMCB. He is a Fellow of the Royal College of Pathologists (UK), and a recipient of the National Research Foundation Investigatorship award. He is also the Director of Planning and Strategy at the NCCS.

Dr Sabapathy’s group focuses on investigating the molecular mechanisms involved in cancer development and response to therapy, through the study of the p53 and p73 tumor suppressor paradigms.   His research is aimed at both understanding the molecular nature of cancer and designing effective targeted-therapies against the disease.


​2014 Asian International Executive Programme (AIEP)
INSEAD Business School, Singapore

2012 FRCPath.
Royal College of Pathologists, United Kingdom

1990-1995 Ph.D. in Cellular & Molecular Immunology
Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology,
National University of Singapore, Singapore

1986-1990 Bachelor of Science  with Honours (Zoology)
National University of Singapore, Singapore

Professional Appointments and Committee Memberships

​Feb 2015 – current 
 Joint Research Director
Institute of Molecular & Cellular Biology, Singapore

July 2001 – current  Joint Professor
Department of Biochemistry,
Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, NUS


​• National Research Foundation Investigatorship Award, Singapore, 2014.
• Singhealth Research Excellence Award – Distinguished Researcher, Singapore, 2012.
• Singhealth Research Excellence Award, Singapore, 2004.
• Elected Member, Virtual Research Institute of Aging (VRIA), Japan, 2001.

Research Interests

​Focus on investigating the molecular mechanisms involved in cancer development and progression, through the study of the p53 and p73 tumor suppressor paradigms. Research is aimed at both understanding the molecular nature of cancer and to design effective targeted-therapies against the disease, with a specific focus on hepatocarcinomas.


• “Cancer therapeutic targeting using mutant-p53-specific siRNAs”.  Ubby I, Krueger C, Rosato R, Qian W, Chang J, Sabapathy K. Oncogene. 2019. 38:3415-3427.

•  “Therapeutic targeting of p53: all mutants are equal, but some mutants are more equal than others”.  Sabapathy K and Lane DP.  Nature Review Clinical Oncology. 2018. 15:13-30.

• “Novel tools for precision medicine - monoclonal antibodies against specific p53 hot-spot mutants”.  Hwang LA, Phang BH, Liew OW, Iqbal J, Koh XH, Koh XY, Othman R, Xue Y, Richards AM, Lane DP* and Sabapathy K*. Cell Reports. 2018. 22:299-312. *: co-corresponding author

• Hypoxia-inducible TAp73 regulates the angiogenic transcriptome and supports tumorigenesis”.
Dulloo I, Phang BH, Othman R, Tan SY, Vijayaraghavan A, Goh LK, Martin-Lopez M, Marques MM, Li CW, Wang DY, Marin MC, Xian W, McKeon F and Sabapathy K. Nature Cell Biol.  2015.  17:511-523.

• “Amino-terminal p53 mutations lead to expression of apoptosis proficient p47 and prognosticate better survival, but predispose to tumorigenesis”. Phang BH, Othman R, Bougeard G, Chia RH, Frebourg T, Tang CL, Cheah PY, Sabapathy K.  Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2015. 112:6349-6358.

Research Trials