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Laboratory of Applied Human Genetics

Principal Investigator:​Asst Prof Ong Chin-Ann Johnny
​Research team:

Ng Wai Har

Tan Qiu Xuan

Josephine Hendrikson

Joey Tan

Gillian Ng

Clinical team (SPRinT):

Prof Soo Khee Chee

Adj. A/Prof Claramae Chia Shulyn

Adj. A/Prof Tan Hwei Ching Grace

Dr Jolene Wong

Dr Eliza Sin

The Laboratory of Applied Human Genetics was conceived in 2013 under the leadership of Asst. Prof. Ong. Prof. Ong pursued his PhD at the University of Cambridge, UK, as an NRF-MOH Research Scholar in 2009. As a returning scientist with an aspiration to become a surgeon–scientist, he quickly resumed cancer research and has been under the mentorship of Prof. Kon since 2016. 

Our laboratory is an interdisciplinary laboratory, with a specific focus on peritoneal and sarcoma malignancies. The dual-hatting of surgeon–scientists in the Department of Sarcoma, Peritoneal and Rare Tumours (SPRinT) gives our laboratory an intrinsic advantage by combining our clinical practice with laboratory research, effectively paving the way for bench-to-bedside translational research. Our laboratory’s area of expertise harnesses this advantage, allowing for a) multi-sampling of surgically collected samples to correct for intra-tumoral heterogeneity, b) rapid transfer of tissues to prevent degradation, and c) generation of in vivo mouse models of human samples. Our approach to solving clinical questions with translational relevance and addressing hypotheses is illustrated in Figure 1. 

Since its inception, our laboratory has been awarded seven grants, including two National Medical Research Council (NMRC) grants. The team has also received numerous awards, including International Conference Travel Award, Best Oral Presentation Award, Young Investigator Award, Distinguished Young Researcher Award, and an NMRC Transition Award. 

As part of our collaborative efforts to push the frontiers of translational science, we actively seek collaborations with numerous disciplines and institutions to synergize our strengths in different expertise. Remarkedly, our team is part of the Singapore Gastric Cancer Consortium (SGCC), which was awarded $25 million under the Open Fund-Large Collaborative Grant programme in 2019. 

 Despite our infancy, we have two publications with an impact factor >4 and two manuscripts currently under review. Our team’s present work is expected to be published in the next 18 months in a journal with an impact factor >10.

Selected Publications

  1. Ong C-AJ, Shannon NB, Ross-Innes C, et al. Amplification of TRIM44: pairing a prognostic target with potential therapeutic strategy. J Natl Cancer Inst.
  2. Ong C-AJ, Shapiro J, Nason KS, et al. Three-gene immunohistochemical panel adds to clinical staging algorithms to predict prognosis for patients with esophageal adenocarcinoma. J Clin Oncol. 2013;31:1576–1582.
  3. Ong C-AJ, Shannon NB, Mueller S, et al. A three gene immunohistochemical
    panel serves as an adjunct to clinical staging of patients with patients with head and neck cancer. Oncotarget. 2017;8:79556–79566.
  4. Lim HJ, Ong C-AJ, Tan JW-S, Ching Teo MC. Utility of positron emission tomography/computed tomography (PET/CT) imaging in the evaluation of sarcomas: A systematic review. Critical Reviews in Oncology/Hematology. 2019 1;143:1–13. 1.
  5. Ong C-AJ, Tan QX, Lim HJ, et al. An optimized protocol harnessing laser capture microdissection for transcriptomic analysis on matched primary and metastatic colorectal tumours. Scientific Reports 2019 *Accepted for publication.