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Laboratory of Applied Human Genetics

Clinical lead:​A/Prof Melissa Teo
Scientific lead:​Prof Kon Oi Lian
​Research team:

​Dr Johnny Ong

Dr Chua Yang Chong

Dr Nicholas Shannon

Ng Wai Har

Tan Qiu Xuan

Josephine Hendrikson

Joey Tan


​Dr Amit Jain

Dr Tan Ngian Chye

The Laboratory of Applied Human Genetics was conceived 3 years ago under the
leadership of Prof. Teo and Asst. Prof. Ong. Asst. 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 Division of Surgical Oncology 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. Despite our infancy, we have one
publication with an impact factor >5 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.